Twitching can be defined as involuntary contraction and relaxation of muscles. It is medically termed as fasciculations and they may occur in any muscle group including the fingers. People who experience finger twitching often tend to worry a lot as they feel that they may be having a neurological condition. However, if finger twitching is not accompanied by any other symptom then in majority of the cases it is completely benign and not a cause of worry.[1, 2]
Excessive physical exertion, alcohol use, electrolyte deficiency, overconsumption of caffeine all can lead to finger twitching. However, in some cases it can also be caused by certain medical conditions like ALS or Parkinson disease.[1, 2] The article below highlights some of the causes for finger twitching and what can be done about it.
Finger Twitching: Causes & Treatments
Some of the causes for finger twitching include:
Medications: Certain classes of medications have finger twitching as a side effect profile. Some of the medications that come under this category include corticosteroids, isoniazid which is an antibiotic, succinylcholine which is a muscle relaxant, and topiramate which is an antiepileptic.
Treatment: If a person believes that the finger twitching is caused due to medications then it is better to consult with a physician and explore option for alternate medication. The physician may alter the dosage or prescribe another medication to stop finger twitching.
Magnesium Deficiency: This is yet another cause of Finger Twitching. Magnesium deficiency is known to cause cramps and tremors as well. Magnesium deficiency is not that common in otherwise healthy people as the kidneys ensure that adequate level of it is maintained. However, there are certain factors that may cause magnesium deficiency. These include alcohol abuse, medical conditions, and some medications.
Additional symptoms in a person with magnesium deficiency include poor appetite, nausea with vomiting, weakness, and fatigue. In severe cases the person may experience numbness, tingling, muscle cramps, and even in some cases seizures. Magnesium deficiency is also known to affect the levels of minerals like calcium and potassium as well and once these minerals get deficient there might be additional symptoms.
Treatment: Magnesium supplement is the frontline treatment for magnesium deficiency. However, it is best to consult with a physician to select the best supplement and not start one on their own.
Benign Fasciculation Syndrome: It is common for people with this condition to experience Finger Twitching. Symptoms are usually persistent for years and a diagnosis of benign fasciculation syndrome is only made if the person has persistent Twitching for more than 5 years. The root cause for this condition is not known but some studies suggest a link between decreased neurological activity in the sweat glands and small nerve fibers in the skin and benign fasciculation syndrome. However more research is needed to confirm the relationship.
Treatment: Benign fasciculation syndrome does not require any specific treatment. However, gabapentin has shown to be quite beneficial in controlling the Finger Twitching caused by this condition. Some antiepileptics are also quite effective in treating Finger Twitching caused by benign fasciculation syndrome. It should be noted that the medications mentioned above are for off-label use and the FDA has not approved them for treatment of benign fasciculation syndrome.
Essential Tremor: This is also one of the causes for Finger Twitching. Essential Tremor is defined as involuntary movement of a part of the body. These movements occur persistently and are quite intense. The root cause for this condition is not known. The most common area where essential tremor can be observed are the hands but some people also have their voice impacted due to essential tremor. Due to persistent finger and hand movement the quality of life of a person with essential tremor is severely affected.
Treatment: There is no specific drug for treatment of essential tremor and physicians usually try different medications before zeroing on the ones that are of optimal benefit. Some people find that putting weight on the affected area reduces the intensity of the tremors. Relaxation techniques are also recommended for people with essential tremor to control and manage the symptoms, especially if the tremors worsen with stress and anxiety.
Parkinson Disease: Sometimes a serious condition like Parkinson Disease also can cause Finger Twitching. It is a brain disorder that is seen mostly in older adults. People with Parkinson disease generally experience severe tremors of the hands. It usually starts on one side of the body and gradually both sides get involved. Other symptoms of this condition aside from Finger Twitching include unstable posture, ambulation difficulties, and slowed movements.
Treatment: Levodopa is the most preferred drug to manage the symptoms of Parkinson disease. The dopamine deficiency that causes this condition can also be managed by supplementary dopamine. Additional treatments will be required with time as the disease advances. Muscle twitching can also be controlled by medications that act on acetylcholine receptors. Ropinirole is also a medication that has shown effectiveness by activating dopamine receptors in the brain.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: This is a rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects the upper motor neurons in the brain and the lower motor neurons in the spinal cord. One of the symptoms of ALS is Finger Twitching. This is seen in the early stages of this condition. With time, it progresses to muscle weakness spreading to other parts of the body.
Treatment: There is no cure for ALS as of now. However with treatments some of the symptoms can be effectively managed and the quality of life can improve. The medication given for ALS includes Riluzole which decreases the damage done to the neurons.
In conclusion, in healthy people Finger Twitching is generally caused due to overexertion caused due to overuse of computer or mobile phones. However, if there is no clear cause for Finger Twitching then it is better to consult with a physician to identify a cause and start treatment for it. Some of the causes of Finger Twitching are treatable like vitamin or mineral deficiencies which can be effectively managed with supplements.[1, 2]
Some people become anxious due to Finger Twitching thinking that they may have a neurological issue. However, in most of the cases Finger Twitching is caused due to completely benign conditions and is not a cause of worry. A serious condition is only indicated if Finger Twitching is accompanied by other symptoms that have been mentioned above in detail. If this occurs then it is best to consult with a physician to identify a cause and start treatment for it to prevent any further damage due to Finger Twitching as a result of underlying potentially serious medical condition.[1, 2]