Myoclonus (Muscle Twitch)

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Overview

Myoclonus is an abrupt muscle spasm. It is involuntary muscular twitching or jerking. Involuntary movement cannot be prevented or controlled since it is uncontrollable. A single muscle or a group of muscles might be involved. The motions might be monotonous or completely random. Myoclonus may strike at any time. It is a symptom of another illness, not a sickness itself.

Muscles in people with myoclonic twitches or jerks contract or tighten (positive myoclonus) or relax (negative myoclonus) in reaction to their symptoms. Muscle twitches may happen anywhere on the body, such as the hand, arm, leg, or face. Myoclonus is a condition in which a large number of muscles contract at the same time.

Hiccups are a kind of myoclonus that happen when a muscle twitches and then relaxes. These kinds of myoclonus are very uncommon and pose no threat. While some types of myoclonus are harmless, others may induce repeated, shock-like spasms that make it impossible to eat, talk, or move properly.

These motions are made possible by the affected muscle’s little contractions. Muscle twitches are characterized by fast contractions in small muscle groups that are connected to a single motor nerve fiber.

Twitches may afflict anybody at any moment and can affect any skeletal muscle in the body, including the facial muscles. Facial tics often called twitches, are muscular spasms that usually affect the muscles of the eyes or lips. People who suffer from facial tics have frequent mouth spasms, grimacing, wrinkled noses, blinking, and squinting of the eyes. Muscle twitching in the legs is also a common occurrence.

Twitching in sleep (hypnic jerk) occurs during sleep and sleep transitions, most often when a person falls asleep. Certain forms seem to be susceptible to environmental cues. While some persons may not be affected by myoclonus or need treatment for it, others may require therapy if myoclonus is a symptom of a more severe and disruptive sleep disorder.

Muscle twitching all over the body at rest is also experienced by some people. Fasciculations may happen at any time and in any muscle. They may also be sustained for a long period in a single muscle. The appearance of fasciculations is most noticeable when the body is at rest. There may be a pain in the muscle that is being affected as well.

To establish whether you have myoclonus, the doctor will review the medical history and symptoms, as well as do a physical examination.

The physician may recommend a series of tests to ascertain the source of the myoclonus and to rule out other probable causes. These examinations may involve Electroencephalography, MRI, electromyography, and certain lab tests to check for autoimmune disease, metabolic disorders, and diabetes.

Myoclonus treatment is most successful when a reversible underlying cause of myoclonus, such as another ailment, a drug, or a toxin, can be identified and addressed. However, since the underlying cause cannot be healed or removed in the vast majority of cases, therapy focuses on alleviating myoclonus symptoms, which may be rather severe in certain cases.

Causes

Muscle twitches may be either brief or long-lasting. They may be caused by neurological issues or another underlying ailment in certain cases. Although they may be triggered by anything as basic as exercise or caffeine use, they are most often merely a normal physiological reaction. Muscle twitches may become more frequent as a result of increased stress or tension.

The most probable reason for these involuntary muscle twitches is a disturbance in the central nervous system i.e. brain and spinal cord. This system transfers an electrical impulse to muscles. Myoclonus is a disorder that arises infrequently as a consequence of injury to peripheral nerves located outside the CNS.

Multiple sclerosis is a condition that may occur as a result of brain or spinal cord lesions or damage resulting in myoclonus.

Epilepsy is also associated with myoclonus. Myoclonic-astatic epilepsy is characterized by widespread myoclonic jerks or seizures that are followed by a decrease of muscular tone in the affected area.

Myoclonus may be caused by a number of different nervous system issues, such as:

·         Brain tumor

·         Stroke

·         Parkinson’s disease

·         Alzheimer’s disease

There are certain medical conditions that also cause muscle twitching. These include:

·         Spinal cord or head injury

·         Kidney failure

·         Infection

·         Opioid reaction

·         Metabolic disorders such as low sodium or calcium

When to see a doctor

It is critical to identify that muscle twitches may signal the existence of the severe or life-threatening disease, such as traumatic brain damage or stroke, and to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Get medical help right away if you get serious symptoms like numbness or weakness on one side of your body, a change in your degree of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or being unresponsive, or the worst headache.

If the muscular twitches continue, get medical help right away.