Does the same kind of twitching that occurs in your eyelid ever occur in the muscles of your back?
No, not back spasms now, but that wiggling, twitchy sensation just under the skin that feels like a worm is crawling around in there. That’s what we’re talking about.
Did you google “what causes muscles to twitch” and see some ALS or even multiple sclerosis sites come up in the search results?
DO NOT PANIC.
There is no correlation between what comes up on the first page of a search engine’s results and the likelihood of having a particular medical condition.
If you’re still shaken up over the ALS search results, look at it this way:
Suppose a million people decided to write about the symptoms of ALS (which include the so-called twitching muscles), and only two people decided to write about the very most likely causes of twitching muscles in your back.
You then put the keywords into the search field and hit “Go.” What do you think you’ll see on the first page?
Though this is a exaggerated example of what can sometimes influence which websites get first-page rankings, it clearly illustrates an important point.
Google’s web crawlers might like a particular website so much, that nearly every article that’s on that site gets top billing when the relevant keywords are punched into the search field.
This includes a post about twitching muscles as a symptom of ALS.
Let’s put aside how search engines work and instead see what a neurologist has to say.
Causes of Twitching Back Muscles
“Muscle twitching or fasciculations can be caused in a variety of symptoms,” begins Mitzi J. Williams, MD, clinical neurologist with Morehouse School of Medicine and clinical advisor for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.
“It generally is a symptom of damage to the peripheral nervous system — meaning the nerves after they have exited from the spinal cord.”
Don’t panic over the word “damage.” This can be a mild harmless type of damage caused by excessive caffeine intake, strenuous exercise or anxiety.
Dr. Williams adds, “The causes would be similar to the causes of twitching in other parts of the body [like the eyelid], nutritional deficiencies, electrolyte abnormalities. They can be idiopathic, meaning there is no clear cause.”
The back is the location for the second-largest muscle group in the body (the legs/butt area is the first).
So if the tiny muscles in your eyelid are capable of twitching (usually due to strain or fatigue), why would the big muscles in your back be exempt from this? They get tired too!
Dr. Williams is author of “MS Made Simple: The Essential Guide to Understanding Your Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis.” She is a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.