Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

What is Muscle Fasciculation or Muscle Twitching?

Also known as muscle fasciculation, muscle twitching involves small muscle contractions in the body. Muscles are formed of fibers which are controlled by the nerves.

Stimulation or damage to a nerve can cause the muscle fibers to twitch. Muscle fasciculations or muscle twitching generally go unnoticed and are hardly a cause of concern. However, at times twitching can indicate a nervous system condition so in case muscle twitching persists for a long time or bothers you to a great extent, it is better to seek medical advice. It is important to know the causes of Muscle fasciculations or muscle twitching, which have been given here.

Muscle Fasciculation: Why Is My Muscle Twitching?

Why is my muscle twitching, is a frequently asked question by most people experiencing muscle twitching. Muscle twitching often results from certain lifestyle habits and some medical conditions and is not a typical medical emergency. Side effects of certain drugs like corticosteroids and estrogen pills, nutritional deficiency, irritation of the eyes or eye lids, cigarette smoking, dehydration, stress and certain exercises are some common causes of muscle twitching. Such muscle twitching resolves easily and subsides in a few days.

However, at times, some causes of muscle twitching may be due to certain serious underlying health conditions which related to the brain, nervous system and spinal cord. These conditions tend to damage the nerves connected to the muscles, resulting in twitching. Some of the serious conditions that can be an answer to your question of why is my muscle twitching include the following:

  • Peripheral Neuropathy – Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that happens when the peripheral nerves get damaged and begin to malfunction and produce symptoms like tingling, numbness, buzzing, twitching and pain in the body. This is one of the possible causes, which is why your muscle is twitching.
  • Hepatorenal Syndrome – This is a kind of progressive kidney failure which affects people with severe liver damage caused by cirrhosis. It can cause symptoms like vomiting, nausea, muscle twitching, weight gain, confusion, dark colored urine, less urine output, jaundice, abdominal swelling, etc. This can be an advanced condition, so if your muscle fasciculation or muscle twitching is due to this, timely treatment is needed.
  • Seizures – Seizures can trigger a change in the brain’s electrical activity causing either no symptom at all, or noticeable, dramatic symptoms. Violent shaking, loss of control and muscle fasciculation or muscle twitching are symptoms of severe seizure, which need to be considered
  • Tourette Syndrome – Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder which triggers repeated, involuntary vocal outbursts or physical tics. This is another possibility, which is why your muscle is twitching and needs to be evaluated.
  • Alkalosis – The amount of bases and acids in the blood is measured on a pH scale. It is vital to maintain the optimal pH balance in the blood to ward off many diseases. Alkalosis is a condition characterized by excessive alkalization of the body fluids or tissues and can lead to cramps, twitching and weakness in the body. This is one possible cause of muscle fasciculation or why your muscle is twitching.
  • Caffeine Overdose – Consuming more than the recommended daily intake of caffeine, i.e. 400 mg per day for adults, causes overdose of this stimulant leading to symptoms like dizziness, headache, insomnia, muscle twitching, irritability, etc. Caffeine is present in cold drinks and other stimulating beverages. So if you are consuming large amounts of such drinks, it could be a reason why your muscle is twitching.
  • Medullary Cystic Kidney Disease - The rare condition called medullary cystic kidney disease (MCKD) is characterized by formation of small, fluid-filled sacs, known as cysts, in the middle of the kidneys. These cysts cause scarring in the kidneys leading to kidney malfunctioning, which can also be a cause of muscle fasciculation or muscle twitching. Low blood pressure, salt cravings, weakness, cramping and excessive urination are some common symptoms of MCKD.
  • Hypercalcemia - This condition is marked by the presence of excessive calcium in the blood. This high calcium level affects the muscles causing cramps, twitching and weakness.
  • Huntington’s Disease – This is a hereditary disorder wherein the nerve cells of the brain gradually disintegrate causing psychological and physical symptoms. If this is why your muscle is twitching, you need proper medical assessment.
  • Chronic Kidney Disease - Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a progressive and irreversible damage to the kidneys generally caused due to diabetes and high blood pressure. Urinary problems, swelling in the body, fatigue, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, mental cloudiness, restless leg syndrome, loss of muscles mass, muscle fasciculation or muscle twitching, weight loss, etc. are some symptoms of CKD.
  • End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) – ESRD, also known as end stage kidney disease, is the last stage of chronic kidney disease in which the kidneys lose their ability to function optimally. In this condition, the severely damaged kidneys work under 10% of their normal functioning. With symptoms like nausea, vomiting, fatigue, decreased urination, loss of appetite, edema, numbness in the limbs, bone pain and confusion, this can also be a cause of muscle fasciculation or muscle twitching.
  • Agoraphobia – This anxiety disorder makes people extremely scared, panicky and fearful of certain situations and places. The disease is marked by signs like nausea, vomiting, sweating, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, chills, numbness and tingling sensation in the body. If you experience such fears, it can be a possible cause of your muscle fasciculation or muscle twitching.
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease – Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a contagious illness which causes degeneration of the brain and involuntary muscle spasm. The common symptoms of this illness are muscle twitching and stiffness, disorientation, convulsions, ataxia, dementia, drowsiness, speech problems and blindness.
  • Hypocalcemia – Calcium is essential for ensuring healthy cardiac and musculoskeletal functioning. Low levels of calcium in the body can lead to osteoporosis and calcium deficiency disease, also called hypocalcemia. One of the possible causes of why your muscle is twitching (muscle fasciculation) can be reduced calcium levels in your blood.
  • Glomerulonephritis – Commonly known as Bright’s disease, this serious health condition can restrict proper functioning of the kidneys. High blood pressure, decreased urine output, blood in the urine, facial puffiness, extreme coughing, muscle fasciculation or muscle twitching and cramps, abdominal pain are symptoms of Bright’s disease. This is a life-threatening condition which needs immediate medical treatment.

There are various conditions that can cause muscle fasciculation or muscle twitching. Minor muscle twitching is generally the result of lifestyle-related issues, which can be managed with the right diet, increased fluid intake and balance of rest and exercise. But, since the reason for your muscle to twitch can also point towards serious medical conditions, it is necessary to seek medical advice.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: March 16, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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