Muscle twitching is quite a popular topic, but not one you’ll hear a lot about at the water cooler.
In cyberspace, twitching muscles are discussed quite prominently, because muscle twitching, though extremely common, is also a symptom of one of the most feared fatal diseases: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
But twitching muscles don’t mean you have ALS, any more than a little gas means you have colon cancer.
Unfortunately, once a person gets into the “I think I might have ALS” groove, the anxiety over this can become chronic — unless the person learns to see muscle twitching for what it really is: just tired muscles working their issues out.
Anyone with a lot of muscle twitching will tell you that movement almost always stops the twitching.
Perhaps this is because when a muscle is forced to work, it’s not relaxed enough to twitch.
And anyone who twitches a lot will tell you that most muscle twitching occurs while in a relaxed state.
This is maybe because a relaxed, sedated muscle can “feel free” to twitch all it wants.
They googled those keywords: muscle twitching…
The reason why there is a certain percentage of people out there who obsess about the possibility of having ALS is because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Googling these words will bring up links to ALS, but also multiple sclerosis, a few other neurological disorders, and Lyme disease.
Yesterday I put my legs through a punishing weight routine at the gym.
They were sore today; delayed onset muscle soreness. But I used my treadmill today, running on top of the soreness.
My hamstrings were aching and stiff, and I took to sitting at the computer for an extended time.
Lo and behold, the twitching began in my hamstring muscles. But I must say, it felt GOOD ! It was almost like tiny fingers were giving me a nice massage.
It felt like miniature fingers were in there, working their way around in my beat muscles, working out the accumulation of lactic acid and other byproducts of anaerobic exertion (from the weight lifting and also the cardio).
And when the twitching began dissipating, I was disappointed. I wanted this automatic massage to continue.
But I guess the job of the twitching muscles was completed; perhaps the lactic acid had been dispersed.
So next time your muscles twitch, don’t despair; think of this as your body’s built-in massage mechanism for fatigued muscles.
Daniel Kantor, MD, is a neurologist who explains more about harmless muscle twitching from head to toe.