What causes facial twitching? What symptoms can it be accompanied by? What methods can be taken up to deal with it? Answers to all these questions have been put up in the following.
Have you ever felt wiggly movements in your upper lips, chin, or somewhere near your eyes? These movements are known as facial twitching, generally called muscle twitching. These are rapid, involuntary contractions and relaxations of muscles that can not only occur in the facial region, but anywhere in the body. Experiencing such episodes occasionally should not be a reason to worry about or get intimidated with. But you may have the liberty to suspect something amiss if such twitches are taking place at any random time of the day or while sleeping. Most cases of facial twitching in children and adults are associated with something that might not be going right in the nervous system, while a few cases could be due to other causes.
Commonly Detected Facial Twitching Causes
The Mild Ones
In most cases, facial twitching has no association with an underlying medical disorder, but with certain lifestyle habits or factors which are easily treatable. And these causes may include drinking excess of caffeine-based products, alcoholism, alcohol abuse, anxiety, fatigue, work-related stress, side effects of certain drugs, smoking and strong burst of emotions. Sometimes, the twitching could also be one of the withdrawal symptoms of smoking or alcohol cessation.
The Severe Ones
Here you would come across some causes of facial twitching which are associated with severe malfunctions of the nervous system of the body. They include:
- Bell’s palsy
- Hemifacial Sasm (HFS)
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
Each of these medical conditions have been briefly described as follows.
Perhaps, the most common cause of frequent instances of facial muscle twitching is what we know as Bell’s palsy. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus – the same causal agent of infections such as cold sores, and herpes. This virus basically causes the nerve that controls the facial nerves to swell and inflame, thus giving rise to involuntary facial twitches. Other symptoms include complete paralysis of one side of the face, pain on the affected side, headache, and reduced sense of taste. These effects, however, tend to stay temporarily.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
AML is an incurable neurological disorder that begins with muscle twitching in the limbs and facial area. With time, it causes profound weakness of muscles, and to such an extent that it causes severe disability and eventually death. Symptoms other than facial twitching, could be clumsiness, difficulty walking, and slurry speech.
Hemifacial Spasm (HFS)
This neuromuscular disorder triggers involuntary muscle twitches on one side of the face. One classic symptom that can signal the onset of HFS is a persistent twitch that begins around the eyes, and later spreads to the lower part of the face. It is common for the patient to feel one side of his mouth to be pulled away.
A disorder of the nervous system that worsens progressively. People suffering from this condition may notice that their facial twitches worsen when they are not using their mouth, and reduce when they do. Grimacing is also another common symptom of this disorder.
A neurodegenerative disease that triggers involuntary muscle movements of various parts of the body including the facial area, the limbs and trunk. These are caused as a result of the wasting of the brain nerve cells. This is a common occurrence in middle-aged people, and in younger individuals it is more aggressive. In case of children, it is a rare occurrence. Clumsiness, psychological changes, balancing problems, and reduced cognitive abilities are the other manifestations of this inherited disease.
This condition refers to the inability of the parathyroid gland to secrete enough hormones required for certain functions in the body. The main complication caused by this disorder is an imbalance in the calcium and phosphorus levels in the body. And one of its manifestations could be facial twitching.
Facial twitching treatment involves correcting the underlying cause. And if in case, the cause is not known, then methods to reduce the symptoms would be involved in the treatment.