When your muscles perform a movement on their own, you might wonder what that could mean. This involuntary muscle movement could simply be a twitch. A muscle twitch refers to minor contraction of muscle fibers. Your nerves are responsible for controlling the fibers in the muscles. Any damage or stimulation of the nerve could lead to contraction of the fibers, and thus twitches.
Given the involuntary nature of these contractions, you have no control over them. You could, however, notice them beneath your skin.
Muscle Twitch V/S Muscle Spasm
Muscle twitches should not be confused with muscle spasms. The muscle contracts involuntarily in both these conditions. However, the contraction in spasms tends to be prolonged and continuing. On the other hand, the contractions in twitches are of shorter duration, possibly occurring again and again. Also, muscles spasms tend to be more painful than muscle twitches.
What Causes Muscles to Twitch?
Is muscle twitching something to be scared about? The possible causes behind muscle twitches are many, not all of them are serious though. Let’s explore what some of these causes are.
1. Certain Nutritional Deficiencies
Deficiency of certain nutrients in the body, like vitamins B and D, magnesium, and calcium could be a reason behind muscle twitches.
2. Insufficient Sleep
Lack of sufficient sleep can lead to problems relating to neurotransmitters and hormonal balance. These in turn could lead to twitching of the muscles.
3. Post Exercise
Muscle twitching may occur after you’ve finished a rigorous workout. This could be due to electrolyte imbalance (remember all the heavy sweating during the exercise?) or muscle fatigue.
We all know that stress is our enemy for various reasons. But, did you know that it could also cause muscle twitching? Stress-induced twitching can happen with any muscle.
5. Excessive Caffeine
Addicted to caffeine? You may have to think about reducing this addiction, since caffeine is a possible cause for muscle twitching.
Sometimes, there could be more serious problems underlying the muscle twitches. These include conditions like Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Isaacs syndrome, spinal muscular atrophy, etc. If you’ve been experiencing muscle twitches on a persistent basis, do consult your doctor. In case your twitches are being caused by any serious medical issue, it’s important you get the right treatment.
How to Avoid Muscle Twitches?
If it’s the minor issues causing muscle twitches, then you could do your bit to keep the twitches at bay. You may not always be able to prevent them, but developing certain good lifestyle habits can be useful.
1. Enjoy Sufficient Sleep Daily
Sleep is a time of rejuvenation for the body. Therefore, don’t deprive your body of this vital time. Make sure that you get sound sleep for 7-8 hours every night.
2. Avoid Having Excess of Caffeine
Consuming excessive caffeine can lead to muscle twitching. Hence, be careful about your caffeine consumption. Whether it’s coffee, energy drinks, or any other caffeinated food/beverage, keep an eye on your intake.
3. Follow a Healthy Diet Plan
Eating well is always a great idea, and it can also be helpful in the prevention of muscle twitches. A balanced diet is key to good health, so have things like whole grains, veggies, fruits, and protein to provide adequate nourishment to the body.
4. Ensure Proper Hydration
Being low on fluids can cause muscle twitches, hence make sure to keep yourself well-hydrated always. Drink enough water, taking care to adjust the amount when you’re sweating more than usual. This could be due to hot weather or an intense workout.
5. Reduce Your Stress
There are many effective ways in which you can manage and minimize your stress, yoga being one of them.