Relax, muscle twitching occurs to people all over the world, and until the invention of the World Wide Web, it didn’t seem to be much of a concern.

Thanks to the Internet, masses of people are now panicking that their twitching muscles mean ALS.

“Some people have benign fasciculation syndrome, which is just that – benign,” says Daniel Kantor, MD.

Benign fasciculation syndrome is the medical term for twitching muscles that reach a point of nuisance for the patient, and often, the patient also experiences benign cramps – which in part can be caused by anxiety.

BFS “means that even without an underlying muscle or nervous system disease, people sometimes have fasciculations,” continues Dr. Kantor, director of the Neurology Residency Program, Florida Atlantic University.

“While muscle twitching can be a concerning and disturbing symptom,” he continues, “many people have it simply as ‘one of those things,’ and in that case, it is nothing to worry about.

“Of course, you always want to clarify this with your primary care doctor or neurologist to exclude other, more serious, causes.”

Anxiety is a chief agent that makes things go twitch in the night, or day.

Perhaps this is because when we are under emotional stress, the body anticipates action, and hence gears up the muscles to prepare for a fight or flight. They get revved up, like revving up a motorcycle engine.

Hard exercise is another cause of twitching.

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Ask anyone who normally trains with intensity if they’ve ever had this experience, and I’m sure they’ll confirm it.

I myself train very hard and often experience some post-exercise twitching, or even immediately after a heavy weightlifting set. It’s my built-in masseuse system.

Many Sites for Twitches

  • Calves
  • Arches of feet
  • Hamstrings (back of legs)
  • Quadriceps (thighs)
  • Butt
  • Chest
  • Back
  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Fingers
  • Toes
  • Lips and tongue
  • Eyelids
  • Back, top and side of head, forehead

If you see a twitch in action, this means NOTHING. Take-home message:

Muscle twitching is, by and large, considered a normal occurrence and is no reason to grow fearful and think the worst.

Dr. Kantor is also President Emeritus, Florida Society of Neurology.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, health and personal security topics for many years, having written thousands of feature articles for a variety of print magazines and websites. She is also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  
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