The human body has about 656 to 850 muscles. Each of these muscles has a role to play in different bodily functions. Some muscles are used to move the body and others are used in bodily processes such as breathing, sneezing and digesting. Groups of muscles often work together to provide movement and achieve important bodily functions. Some muscles such as those in your arms and legs can be controlled by conscious thought, whilst others such as your heart complete their jobs without you thinking about it. It is common for muscles to twitch and move with and without us noticing. What makes a muscle twitch? Read this article to learn the answer.
Why Do Muscles Twitch?
A muscle twitch, known as fasciculation, is the involuntary tightening and relaxation of a muscle. It is often noticeable under the skin where it can also be seen, but in many cases can only be felt. Muscle twitches occur most often in skeletal muscle and are caused by a spontaneous discharge of muscle fibers. This discharge, or contraction and relaxation of the muscle fibers, can be caused by various factors such as stress, too much caffeine, too much strenuous exercise, poor diet or as a side effect of certain medications. A low level of magnesium in the body can also cause muscle twitches. Muscle twitches are usually not a concern and they will go away of their own accord. Common muscle twitches occur most frequently in the eyelids, calf or thumb.
Some muscle twitches are a sign of more serious health concerns such as disease of the motor neurons. It is best to see a health professional if you have muscle twitches that do not resolve after a few days. Other signs to be aware of are weakness, tingling, or numbness in the area where you get muscle twitches and the size and shape of the muscle becoming smaller.