Muscle twitching in the arm: causes muscle twitching in arms

If you feel a twitch in the arm, this is because nerve impulses randomly stimulate the muscle cells. Your muscles contract involuntarily. So you have no control over it. These uncontrollable nerve impulses can have various causes, but are often harmless. If the muscle twitching does not disappear on its own after a short time, it may be caused by pinched nerves, a deficiency of certain substances, blood circulation disorders or even medication.

  • Muscle twitching in the arm
  • Causes
  • Consult your GP
  • Examination and diagnosis
  • Interview with the doctor
  • Physical and neurological examination
  • Follow-up research
  • Complications
  • Treatment of muscle tremors in the arms
  • Prognosis
  • Prevention
  • General
  • Magnesium

 

Muscle twitching in the arm

Muscle twitching in the arm refers to sudden muscle twitches that occur involuntarily and therefore cannot be controlled. Movement signals are transmitted from the brain to the muscles via the motor nerves. Irritation of the nerve cells can cause incorrect movement signals to be sent to the arms. Very small jerks or muscle twitches may occur that are only slightly noticeable. But very strong muscle twitches are also possible that take the arm out of its resting position and cause movement sequences. Muscle twitches in the arm affect the quality of life and, depending on the strength and extent, can cause distress. Usually the muscle twitches in the arm are only visible as a short movement on the skin. These jerks can also occur in completely healthy people, for example after very intensive training of the arms.

Causes

There is often a relatively innocent cause behind muscle twitching in the arm. Heavy physical work or sports, tension or (chronic) stress or a magnesium deficiency can cause mild muscle twitching. Substances such as alcohol or caffeine can also cause muscle twitches when consumed in certain amounts. The muscle twitching that occurs for these reasons is usually only temporary and often disappears on its own, but if the muscle twitching in the arm lasts longer or occurs again and again, it may be a more serious disease behind it. It may then concern a muscle disease (myopathy) or a (poly)neuropathy (nerve damage). Moreover, the twitching in the arm can also be caused by a nerve disease.
If the muscle twitching is also accompanied by pain sensations or sensory disturbances, there may be a neurological disorder that requires urgent treatment. Brain injury, circulatory disorders, viral diseases, diabetes mellitus or orthopedic conditions with nerve irritation can also cause muscle twitching in the arm.
Other diseases that can cause muscle twitching include epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (a rare brain disease) and essential tremor. In particular, certain psychotropic drugs (psychotropic drugs, drugs that affect the psyche) cause muscle twitching in the arms as a side effect.

Consult your doctor if you have persistent muscle twitching / Source: Michaeljung/Shutterstock.com

Consult your GP

Arm twitches can occur for many different reasons, some of which require treatment by a doctor. In most cases, arm twitches are the result of unusual (heavy) physical exertion. The muscle vibrations that then occur often occur immediately after the activity. However, the twitching should go away on its own after a few hours.
However, if the muscle twitching persists, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. A potentially serious underlying disease can only be identified and properly treated through early diagnosis. In many cases, there is a certain nutritional deficiency that causes muscle twitching in the arm. In that case, an appropriate doctor can prescribe tablets (supplementation) to correct the existing nutritional deficiency.
The following rule of thumb applies: short-term muscle twitches in the arm are completely normal and do not require medical examination or treatment. However, if the muscle twitches occur permanently in the arm or keep recurring, this should definitely be examined by a doctor.

Examination and diagnosis

Interview with the doctor

If you make an appointment with your doctor with muscle twitches in the arm, the doctor will first ask questions about how often and to what extent the muscle twitches in the arm occur. He will also take your medical history into account. It is also important to mention any triggering events, such as injuries, nerve examination or severe stress. You are asked about known pre-existing conditions.

Physical and neurological examination

This is followed by a thorough physical and, if necessary, neurological examination. With electrical measurements of the nerve and muscle reflexes, the doctor can identify or even rule out certain diseases. The nerve conduction velocity and electrical activity in the muscles and brain can be measured using various methods (muscle and nerve examination).

Follow-up research

Depending on the findings of the investigation, further investigation options may be necessary. For example, a computed tomography (CT scan) or magnetic resonance tomography (MRI scan). X-rays, removal of muscle tissue for microscopic examination and blood and urine tests may also be useful. In addition, the blood vessels can be examined in detail, an orthopedic examination, allergy tests or psychiatric examination can be performed.

Complications

Arm twitches can occur for many different reasons and therefore possible complications cannot be predicted in a general sense. In most cases, however, they are caused by (chronic) stress and overload of the muscles. If the muscles are not relaxed and are further strained, this can lead to inflammation, which must be treated by a doctor.
The muscle twitches in the arm can limit you in daily life. Ordinary activities are no longer easy to do, making participation in social events no longer possible. This can lead to social isolation.
Twitching in the arm can also indicate circulatory disorders or diabetes. In this case, treatment is possible that will lead to a positive course of the disease. Often simple relaxation exercises will also reduce the symptom if stress is the cause. If the arm twitches occur before you go to sleep, they are usually harmless and do not lead to further discomfort or complications.

Treatment of muscle tremors in the arms

The treatment for muscle twitches in the arm depends on the underlying cause. Various pain treatments are possible for nerve compression, of which the transforaminal injection and the PRF (‘Pulse Radio Frequency Current’) of the nerve root are the most common. However, if a tumor presses on the tissue and pinches nerves, surgery is necessary.
If magnesium deficiency is the cause of the complaints, this can easily be remedied by supplementation and making changes to the diet. Circulatory disorders and are usually treated with medication. The doctor prescribes medications that stimulate blood flow. If psychological causes are identified as the cause of the complaints, individual changes in living conditions can help, as well as relaxation exercises, lots of exercise in the fresh air through long walks or running.
For more serious psychological problems, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help to restore balance in your life. If the complaints are a side effect of psychopharmaceutical medicines, they must be stopped or replaced with other medicines. Surgical interventions in the brain area can be useful in much more serious diseases such as epilepsy. If there is no disease that needs to be treated behind the arm twitches, they will often quickly go away on their own.

Prognosis

Muscle twitching in the arm is not an isolated condition, but only a symptom. It is very difficult to give an exact prognosis of the course of this symptom, since the exact cause must first be clarified. In most cases, arm twitches are completely harmless and will go away on their own even if left untreated .
If the twitching in the arm is caused by a magnesium deficiency, supplementation should be taken. In this way the magnesium deficiency can be compensated. In many other cases, the muscle twitches in the arm are caused by an unusual physical strain on the arms. After sufficient rest, the muscle twitching will disappear on its own. In that case, medical or drug treatment is not necessary.
The following applies: muscle twitches in the arm are usually completely harmless, so that no medical treatment is required. The muscle twitching will then disappear automatically within a few hours or after a night’s sleep.

Prevention

General

You can only prevent muscle twitches in the arm to a limited extent, because the causes are quite diverse. In general, chronic or persistent stress should be avoided in any case. A healthy lifestyle and healthy diet are also important principles to prevent muscle twitches in the arm.

You can vary endlessly with oatmeal / Source: Annafood, Pixabay

Magnesium

Since the mineral magnesium is responsible for proper transmission of stimuli between the nerves and muscles, the consumption of foods rich in magnesium is recommended. Fruits and vegetables such as spinach, peas, broccoli and bananas contain a particularly high amount of magnesium. Nuts, oatmeal and sunflower seeds are also rich in magnesium. Taking appropriate nutritional supplements, such as magnesium tablets, may also be enough to prevent arm twitching.

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