THIGH TWITCHING

THIGH TWITCHING

 

Do you experience thigh twitching while you’re sitting and for no reason? How often does this thigh twitching occur?

Twitching is medically termed as Fasciculations or myoclonus and is defined as abnormal jerks or twitching due to abnormal firing of nerves. Twitching itself is not a disease but a clinical sign of some disease. Twitching can be caused by a number of reasons some of which are life-threatening and others are less serious and may be caused by some life-style related issues. More about the issues related to thigh twitching will be discussed in the article below.

Contents discussed in the article:

 

Common causes of thigh twitching

Less common causes

Diagnosis

Treatment

Prevention

When to see a doctor

Takeaway

 

The twitching or myoclonus can be divided as physiologic and pathologic on a broader view:

Physiologic myoclonus or twitch: These twitches occur in healthy people and do not require any intervention. These include: Leg/ thigh twitching, hiccupping, startle responses that are physiologic.

Pathologic myoclonus: Pathologic myoclonus refers to some underlying medical condition or treatment/ medication. These types of twitches include persistent twitches which can sometime impair the mobility of a person.

 

Common causes of thigh twitching:

  1. Benign fasciculations: Repetitive involuntary muscle contractions are medically termed as benign fasciculations and there are a number of causes for benign fasciculations or thigh twitching. This type of twitching is common and is not due to any serious underlying neural issue. Some causes of fasciculations in healthy people are mentioned below:
  • Stress or anxiety disorder: Anxiety when turns into a disorder it can manifest into bodily symptoms and is called as somatization, this results into a number of symptoms like pain, thigh twitching etc.
  • Lack of proper sleep: Proper sleep lets you brain function normally and secrete hormones on a daily basis. In case of lack of proper seep, the brain can fire abnormally resulting into twitching.
  • Physical exhaustion in daily life
  • Alcohol intake or alcohol withdrawal
  • Hypoglycemia: low blood glucose levels: Low levels of glucose affects all the cells of body but brain is seemed to be much effected due to its lone nutrition through glucose and thus can malfunction and fire abnormally resulting into twitching like thigh twitching etc.
  • Dehydrated body
  • Imbalance of nutrients in the body: nutrients are the components of hormones and neurotransmitters and thus any imbalance can result in respective symptoms related to the hormone and neurotransmitter.
  • Imbalance of hormones in the body
  • Usage of certain medications

 

  1.  Restless leg syndrome: Restless leg syndrome is a condition in which there is an urge to move the legs due to sensations in the leg. This syndrome causes leg twitching in most cases and doesn’t a person to fall asleep. Thus, a person finds it difficult to sleep and suffers from lethargy and sleepiness throughout the day. This syndrome is common and occurs in every 1 out of 10 at any age in their lives.

People have to take proper medications for both the condition/ syndrome and the sleep disturbance.

 

Less common causes:

Usually the causes are common and are not due to an underlying issue but sometimes if the condition is persistent and frequent, this can indicate some serious underlying issue. Some of the underlying issues causing thigh twitching are discussed below:

  1. Alzheimer’s disease: Alzheimer’s occur in elderly person usually but can be rarely seen in young people as well due to some underlying health condition. This disease is the most common type of dementia and is a progressive disease. This disease affects the thought, memory and language of a person making him unable to carry daily life activities. There are a number of symptoms of the disease which includes:
  • Mood changes or behavioral changes
  • Poor judgement
  • Memory loss
  • Tremors
  • Twitching
  • Confusion

There is early onset and late onset Alzheimer’s disease and the symptoms vary. Twitching is seen to be associated with the early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Treatment involves protecting the disease from progressing once the symptoms of the disease are seen and drugs for treating the symptoms are used.

 

  1. Huntington’s disease: Huntington’s disease is a neurologic disorder caused by a genetic defect in which there is a series of tremors, movement disorders and mood and skill disorders. Huntington has a spectrum for age, as early as 2 and as late as 80, and usually occurs between 30’s and 50’s. The hallmark of symptoms is the uncontrolled movements in different parts of body like hands, head, upper body etc. Some psychiatric aspects associated with Huntington’s disease is usually depression and OCD (obsessive- compulsive disorder). Treatment is symptomatic and there is no treatment to stop the progression of the disease from occurring.

 

  1. Lewy body dementia: Lewy body dementia is the third most common dementia after Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular dementia. This type of dementia is a progressive dementia and occurs due to deposition of small substances in brain cells disrupting their function leading to a number of a manifestations. Lewy body dementia suffer from symptoms related to movement like rigid muscles, twitching etc.

 

  1. Epilepsy: Epilepsy is the condition in which there are unpredictable seizures and thus is a seizure disorder. Epilepsy is defined as two unprovoked seizures without a known medical condition. People with epilepsy are seen to be at more risk for developing myoclonus or twitching. Duration, its spread in the brain has seen to have profound effects.

 

  1. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS): ALS is a motor disease and is a type of neuropathy. This is progressive disease and results in loss of muscle control and initiation. Usually the voluntary muscles lose their control. A number of symptoms are seen associated and these patients are generally seen to expire from respiratory failure.

 

Twitches are not usually painful and are irritating. Twitches are noticeable by the person and can sometimes lead to muscle cramps and becomes painful. The cause of twitching is versatile and thus are the associate symptoms accompanying it. These symptoms include:

  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Throbbing sensation
  • Spasms
  • Fizzing sensation

 

Diagnosis

History forms the basis of diagnosis and thus a careful history can lead us to the cause being benign or serious.

Physical examination can be of great help as well. History involves the time of onset, spread, duration etc.

Drug history and environmental factors also ply a vital role in diagnosing if the cause is toxicity. In some cases, imaging will be requested by a doctor depending on the underlying cause and includes:

EMG (electromyography- this test assesses the nerves and muscles).

In case of seizures an epilepsy EEG (electro encephalogram) may be used to detect the electrical activity of the brain.

Brain MRI might also be helpful in cases where lesion is suspected to be the cause of twitching. Blood tests can definitely give us a clue about the underlying condition, as a cause of twitching.

 

Treatment:

People with benign twitching, who experience twitching occasionally can manage the symptoms by making certain lifestyle modifications. These modifications include:

  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Proper hydration
  • Maintaining sleep cycle
  • Reducing or quitting alcohol
  • Reducing or quitting caffeine
  • Regular exercise
  • Rest, plenty of rest
  • Massaging legs

If the thigh twitching is suspected to be due o medication, the medication should not be quitted or regulated without the consultation of doctor.

If there is some underlying disease causing the condition, the condition has to be treated to control thigh twitching.

 

Prevention:

Prevention is always better than the cure. Prevention involves making prominent life style modifications to prevent the discomfort and irritability caused by thigh twitching. These include maintaining sleep hygiene, taking nutrient rich food, exercise regularly, plenty of rest and regulating medicine by taking them on time to avoid toxicities etc.

 

When to see a doctor

Most cases of thigh twitching as discussed are benign an are caused due to dietary issues like nutrition depleted diet, dehydration, some body stimulants like alcohol, caffeine etc.

However, if the twitching persists can indicate some underlying issues and we should look for some other symptoms as well as mentioned below. If the below mentioned symptoms are present, you need to see a health professional:

  • Continuation of leg twitching after amending lifestyle like proper nutritious food and hydration
  • Leg twitching that has been persisting for >2 weeks
  • Leg twitching/ thigh twitching when a person is in resting position
  • Starting to twitch just after the new medication
  • More twitching in more than one part or side of body
  • Twitches along with:

Fever

Nausea

Vomiting

Headaches

Weakness

 

Takeaway

As of now it has become very clear that most of the cases  are benign and occur due to lack of rest, sleep or over-exertion,  dehydration, caffeine etc. and gets better with these specific modifications. However, it has been seen that some cases can be an indication of underlying nervous disease and should be examined as early as possible. The underlying disease can be suspected if the symptoms persist for longer time and even after life style modification and when accompanying symptoms as mentioned are found. The condition is seen to be worsening can also be an indication of underlying disease and needs proper attention.

 

 

 

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