What Causes Muscle Twitches?

What causes your muscles to twitch?
Sean*

Muscle twitches are caused by our muscles tightening up ("contracting") involuntarily — in other words, when we're not actually controlling them.

Muscle twitches can happen for lots of reasons, like stress, too much caffeine, a poor diet, exercise, or as a side effect of some medications.

Lots of people get twitches in the eyelid, thumb, or calf muscles. These types of twitches usually go away after a few days. They're often related to stress or anxiety.

Although most twitches go away in a few days and are nothing to worry about, some twitches can be caused by nerve problems or other medical conditions. Let your doctor know if:

  • you have a twitch that doesn't go away
  • you notice weakness, tingling, or numbness in the area where you get muscle twitches
  • it looks like the muscle is getting smaller

Getting enough sleep, avoiding too much caffeine, and eating healthy foods (like lots of fruits and vegetables), can help prevent some muscle twitches. They're also good ways to stay healthy overall!

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: November 2010

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