Anxiety and Muscle Twitching, Muscle Spasms, Benign Fasciculation Syndrome
Anxiety is almost always the cause for spontaneous or continuous twitching of the muscles; this is also known in medical terms as Benign Fasciculation Syndrome. Twitching muscles can occur almost anywhere in the body. The most common places being:
- Legs and Feet – calves, thighs and bridge of the foot.
- Arms and Hands – commonly biceps and fingers.
- Torso – commonly chest and lower stomach.
As an anxiety sufferer – particularly with acute health anxiety – it is ever so common to assume the worst of a given symptom. I can’t tell you the countless times I’ve spoken to people who have assumed that their twitching muscles are a definitive sign of a terminal illnesses such as Motor Neurone Disease or rapidly progressing Multiple Sclerosis.
What scares people the most is that twitching muscles – a common symptom of anxiety – also represents itself as a symptom of life threatening illnesses such as MND. However, these diseases are very rare and the probability of not developing one of these illnesses is strongly on your side. Having said this, people who suffer from health anxiety tend not to side with the law of probability. Anxiety forces us to assume to worst case scenario of a given situation. Therefore the disastrous 1 in a million chance of becomes so magnified it becomes our reality.
Anxiety causes our muscles to twitch for various reasons. A continuous stimulation of the nervous system, latent adrenaline flowing around the body and mineral deficiencies such as low magnesium and potassium levels are usually the primary cause.
The paradoxical element to health anxiety is an awful one: the more we worry about certain symptoms, such as muscle twitching, the more they seem to occur. This is because we as worriers actively antagonise our nervous symptoms by the very process of worrying. We worry about our muscles twitching therefore, through stimulating our nervous systems and causing our bodies to release adrenaline, we actually cause more of the twitching!
As a past sufferer myself I can empathise with how ‘real’ the worry becomes. What magnified it for me was that I lost my father to Motor Neurone Disease. I have experienced almost all symptoms of anxiety, including muscle twitching, and suffered the same thoughts of dread and imminent doom that a lot of sufferers of anxiety have to cope with. It is important to emphasise that if your twitching muscles are accompanied by other symptoms such as severe muscle weakness or slurred speech, then I advise you see your General Practitioner. The onset of such serious conditions are usually accompanied by other symptoms such as weakness and serious fatigue.
Here at the Panic Room we can discuss your symptoms such as muscle twitching and I can coach you through it in a similar way to what I did.