Uncontrolled muscle twitches is the characteristic feature of benign fasciculation syndrome. Read on to know more about the condition.
Muscle twitching is a condition that is characterized by involuntary contraction and relaxation of the muscles. While some of the affected people experience occasional muscle twitching, for others, the condition is continuous. Such twitching or fasciculation can be caused by various reasons including certain diseases and disorders. However, in some cases, such muscular twitching can be caused without any apparent cause or underlying condition. Such cases are classified as benign fasciculation syndrome.
Benign Fasciculation Syndrome Facts
As we all know, brief muscle twitching can be experienced by any person, at times. Such twitching may last for a short time and will disappear. So, it will be difficult to find a person, who has not experienced a single episode of muscle twitching in his/her entire lifetime. The condition is not usually taken seriously, unless it is accompanied with other symptoms. But, when such twitching becomes more frequent or continuous, it can be quite annoying. Such fasciculation or muscle twitching could be caused by underlying conditions like fibromyalgia, Kennedy disease, Lyme disease, lower motor neuron lesion, magnesium deficiency and certain other disorders.
But, when there is no underlying cause for this muscular twitching, it is called benign fasciculation syndrome. It is considered a neurological condition that affects the voluntary muscles of the body, especially that of the face, arms and legs. Such muscular twitching may or may not be associated with muscle cramps. The condition may be restricted to a particular part or can be extensive in nature. It has also been observed that voluntary movements of the affected part may temporarily stop the twitching that will resume later. According to health experts, in most cases, this condition is not found to cause complications.
Benign Fasciculation Syndrome Symptoms
Apart from the twitching, the affected person may sometimes experience pain too. The affected people may also experience pins and needle sensation, numbness of the affected part and general fatigue. In some cases, itching and headaches, are also reported as additional symptoms of this condition. This may sometimes include a sense of constant obstruction of the throat. It has been noted that most of these patients exhibit high levels of anxiety.
Benign fasciculation syndrome is often confused with ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or motor neuron disease). In case of ALS, muscular twitching is found to be continuous and does not change with voluntary movements. This is not the case with this syndrome, which stops temporarily with movements.
What Causes Benign Fasciculation Syndrome
Even though, the exact cause of this syndrome is still unknown, there are various factors that are said to contribute to this condition. These include high stress levels, viral diseases and regular strenuous physical activities. Regular strenuous exercise is one among the benign fasciculation syndrome triggers. Even the body weight and height is sometimes linked to this condition.
Other possible contributory factors are organophosphate poisoning (can be caused by exposure to insecticides), essential tremor, regular use of anticholinergics and attention deficit disorder. It has also been suggested that certain medicines used for treating attention deficit disorder may also contribute to this syndrome.
How is it Treated
Diagnosis is mainly aimed at ruling out the possibility of other neurological conditions. This is done with the help of electromyography that shows neural damage that is part of most of the other neurological conditions. In most cases, a person with benign fasciculation syndrome is found to have a normal EMG. Some of the doctors may opt for regular monitoring of the patient for at least six months, before finalizing that the condition is benign.
As far as the treatment is concerned, there is no drug that can treat the condition completely. Some patients may find relief with medications for essential tremor, while others may reduce the severity with stress relief techniques and/or medications. An opiate called oxycodone is sometimes used for treating this condition. But long-term use is not advisable, as it may cause dependency and resultant withdrawal. It has been suggested that supplementing the diet with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals may be beneficial in controlling benign fasciculation syndrome. Inclusion of spices in the diet is also claimed to work wonders in controlling the condition.
This article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. So, if you experience any of the above said symptoms, contact your physician at the earliest and get the condition diagnosed. Your doctor is the best person to decide the right course of treatment.