A survey conducted a few years ago shows that 81 percent of people suffer from some type of involuntarily muscle movement.(1)
This estimate includes those who are dealing with muscle twitching. One type of muscle twitch that is common but sometimes overlooked is arm twitching.
What is Arm Twitching?
Just like any other twitch, an arm twitch deals with the muscles and the body’s nerves.(2) Muscles are made of small, woven fibers that make them strong and flexible.
The muscles respond to the body’s needs with the help of nerves that help muscles do what they need to do.
Muscle twitches are sometimes called muscle fasciculations and can be traced back to a nerve-related problem.(2) In essence, this nerve problem initiates a spontaneous chain of reactions that starts with the discharge of an axon, which forces muscle fibers to contract.
Now, this contraction could also be linked to an irritated motor nerve fibre. It is important to note that muscle twitches can happen to both healthy and unhealthy people, which makes it a hard symptom to decipher.
The issue could be long-lasting or may just happen sporadically. It may be pointing to a disease or indicate significant muscle weakness.
There are a number of reasons why someone might experience muscle twitch in the arm, which includes the following:
According to HealthLine, one of the most common reasons for muscle twitching, including this type, is stress.(2) When you are stressed for long periods of time, this releases an excess amount of cortisol in the body, which could end up causing some disruptions in the body.
Twitches associated with stress are usually benign and do not happen often.
Not Enough Nutrients
The proper functioning of muscle fibers and nerves depends on many factors, including nutrition. If you are missing certain minerals or vitamins, this can make muscles weak or lead to malfunctioning nerves.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause symptoms such as arm muscle tingling, according to the National Institutes of Health.(3) As MedlinePlus points out, a deficiency in vitamin D can be a cause of arm twitching.(4)
Potassium and calcium are examples of the kind of nutrients the body needs to ensure the proper functioning of the muscles and prevent arm muscle twitching.
Muscles are Overworked
Another common reason why muscles in the arm might twitch is because they are used too much. This is something that happens often with body builders or people who exercise regularly.
There is no doubt that exercise is good, but there are limits to what the body can handle. It is important to know what those limits are and to make sure the arms and the rest of the body are stretched before performing any exercise routine.
Another way a person could wear out the muscles in the arms is by typing. This has become a bigger problem recently due to the technology explosion.
Sleep is very important for the body and muscles. It gives the body enough time and energy to repair itself after a day’s worth of work among other things. Not having enough sleep, especially if it is persistent, can lead to weak muscles, which is one reason why some people experience arm muscle twitching.(5)
Use of Stimulants
The use of any type of stimulant could have detrimental effects on the body should the stimulant be overused.
Stimulants directly affect the nervous system and could lead to over-stimulation or even fatigue should they be abused. Medications can be stimulants, but this could also be something as simple as coffee.(6)
Just make sure the amount of stimulant that is consumed is kept to a minimum or completely eliminated until twitching goes away.
Nervous System Issues
There are a number of syndromes or diseases that affect the nervous system that could also lead to arm twitching. These medical ailments can harm the nervous system, which could lead to chronic twitching in the arms or other locations in the body.
Issues that could be related to this problem include, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, neuropathy, spinal muscular atrophy, or weak muscles, according to MedlinePlus.(6)
This one may not be as common, but there are some individuals who experience arm twitching because of a particular bacterial infection.
It is not common because tetanus immunization usually stops the bacteria from infecting people.(7)
Still, there is a possibility of some being afflicted by this bacteria that could affect the nervous system, which could lead to arm twitching. One of the first symptoms of this infection is the jaw shuts, not allowing the victim to open his or her mouth.
An Auto-Immune Issue
A study shows that an auto-immune problem could cause twitching in the arms or around the body.(8) The issue is that the antibodies that would normally attack harmful body invaders start to attack potassium channels within the muscles.
This leads to overactivity in the muscles and will lead to arm twitching given enough time.
Of course, these are just some of the reasons why the arm might twitch, but there could be other rare causes that will need to be looked at by a specialist.
What Can be Done to Remedy the Issue?
Usually, the common reasons for arm twitching should not alarm anyone. These are benign and will not lead to any serious issue, but that does not mean all twitching should be overlooked.
Clearly, there are a number of causes that demand some attention.
The Best Remedy May be to Seek Medical Attention
The key is to look for the right symptoms. For one, those who notice that the twitching is persistent and continues for days should definitely seek medical attention.
Also, those who notice that the muscle spasm is particularly violent should worry. Individuals who notice muscle deterioration along with the twitching should also seek medication advice.
If you feel weak as you experience arm muscle twitching, you should talk to a health care specialist, just in case, as this might be a sign of something more serious.
Those who need to visit the doctor should know what expect.
For example, it is likely that your medical history will be reviewed, and the health care provider should perform a physical exam. It is likely that the doctor will want to know more about the arm twitching phenomenon.
This means that he or she will ask questions like the following:
» When did the twitching start?
» How long does the twitching last when it does start?
» What is the estimated frequency of the phenomenon?
» Which muscles in the arm are mostly afflicted by the twitching?
» Is the issue centralized to one particular muscle in the arm?
» Have other symptoms accompanied the twitching?
It would be a good idea to go over these questions before you go. A good way to do this is to keep a journal or write down notes on a smart device for easy access.
It is likely that the doctor will order blood work to look for mineral or vitamin deficiencies or other possible issues. Of course, a scan of the brain and spine might also be ordered, just in case it is a nerve-related ailment.
Nutrition Might be the Remedy
Nutrition might be the key to helping you. Ensure you have a well-balanced diet that includes foods like bananas or other potassium-rich foods. Calcium is also important and can be found in foods like bell peppers or aged cheese.
Magnesium is another mineral that is sometimes missing from the body.(9) This little mineral is actually very important as it essential for the heart and the muscles.
Lack of this mineral could lead to anxiety, lack of sleep, headaches, fatigue, weakness, diabetes, and even muscle twitching. The problem is that it is estimated that around 80 percent of Americans lack this mineral.
A good source of magnesium are sea vegetables like seaweed, but there are others like dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
Some people experience arm muscle twitching because they are not consuming enough water. Water helps drain the body of toxins and waste. Some of these toxins accumulate in the muscles until they are cleaned out, but this cleaning may not happen if a person is dehydrated.
This means the muscles might become unnecessarily irritated, which could lead to some muscle twitching. The only way to solve this is to drink more water.(10) As a general rule, the idea is to drink about 8 ounces of water eight times per day, according to Authority Nutrition.(11)
Get a Good Night’s Rest
Getting enough sleep is important.
One effective tip is to turn off the lights when heading to bed because false light confuses the brain and may not create melatonin, which is the sleep hormone.(12)
It is also important to reduce the temperature in the bedroom to 68 degrees.(13) This temperature also helps the brain produce melatonin to help a person sleep well.
There is no doubt that arm twitching can signal a serious problem, but it is likely something benign that can be dealt with with the aforementioned suggestions.
Still, you need to understand the type of twitch you are dealing with so that you know what your next step should be.
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