Muscle twitches are often referred to as spams and are very common. Most often, they affect your thumbs, calves, and eyelids.
In many cases, muscle twitches could be a symptom of an underlying vitamin or nutritional deficiency.
You should always speak with your physician if you are experiencing tingling or numbness in your extremities- they could indicate that you have a more serious condition.
What vitamin deficiency causes muscle twitching?
Following are some of the potential nutritional deficiencies that could result in muscle twitches.
Chances are, you already know that Vitamin B-12 is essential for overall health.
The National Institutes of Health, or NIH, states that a Vitamin B-12 deficiency can result in symptoms such as soreness, numbness, weakness, tingling, and- yes, muscle twitches.
Vitamin B-12 helps to support healthy nerves, helps to form red blood cells, and works in the synthesis process of your DNA.
You can naturally find Vitamin B-12 in foods such as poultry, fish, meat, and eggs.
The average adult should be getting at least 2.4 micrograms of Vitamin B-12 on a daily basis.
Check with your physician to test your serum Vitamin B-12 levels to find out if you do have a deficiency.
When you have a Vitamin B-6 deficiency, chances are that you will experience specific muscular-skeletal problems, including muscle weakness and twitching.
Vitamin B-6 is good for cramping, especially when it is used in conjunction with B-12 and other B-Vitamins, known as Vitamin B-Complex.
While it is true that absolutely anyone can be a deficiency in Vitamin B-6, those individuals that are addicted to alcohol are at a greater risk of developing a deficiency.
This is due to their poor diet and malabsorption caused by the alcohol. You can find Vitamin B-6 in many different foods including the following: rice, peanuts, walnuts, cantaloupe, soybeans, cabbage, fish, and eggs.
The FDA recommends that individuals age 19 to age 50 should be consuming 1.5 milligrams of Vitamin B-6 each day.
According to medical experts, a Vitamin D deficiency can result in twitching of the muscles in the feet and hands.
A severe deficiency in this vitamin can result in the malabsorption of calcium. This can lead to a condition that is referred to as tetany and is characterized by spasms in the muscles of the hands and face.
While Vitamin D is naturally produced in the body when you are exposed to the sun, it can also be found in a few different foods such as cheese, liver, and fatty fish.
Children and adults, age 9 to age 70 should be consuming 600 IU of Vitamin D each day.
In addition to vitamin deficiencies, there are some mineral imbalances that can result in twitching of the muscles.
The minerals calcium and magnesium are vital for muscle relaxation and contraction.
If you have a deficiency of magnesium or an excess of calcium, you could have muscle twitching.
The best ratio of calcium to magnesium is two to one and you can take up to 500 milligrams of magnesium with calcium each day.
Since the best ratio is 2 to 1, if you choose to take 300 milligrams of magnesium, you can take 600 milligrams of calcium.
However, be aware that taking high amounts of magnesium can result in loose bowels. If you experience this, decrease the amount of magnesium you’re taking.
You can also get both calcium and magnesium in foods such as dark green leafy veggies, seaweed, nuts, and seeds.
Do-It-Yourself Treatments for Muscle Twitching
While it is true that you can treat muscle twitching with supplements of vitamins and minerals such as the above, there are also some other things you can do. Following are a few of those:
Cease the activity
When you experience a muscle twitch, stop doing the activity that you’re doing. A muscle twitch- or spasm- can occur during your normal, daily tasks or while exercising.
So, at the first sign that one is coming on, stop doing what you’re doing and try to get it under control.
While it may be painful, there are generally no long-term concerns related to muscle twitches.
One way to deal with the twitch is to massage or rub the affected area. This will help to increase blood flow and relax the muscle.
Rest the muscle that is affected
For a few days after you experience a muscle twitch, rest the muscle that was affected.
It is possible that your muscle may be strained and needs some time to recover without any additional stress.
Be sure that you gently move your muscle while you’re resting it to avoid stiffness.
Keep in mind that you can use the muscle, but it should only be used lightly and you should stop using if you experience twitching or pain.
You should never twist or bend your torso, but you can do some gentle stretches or walk it out.
Do some stretching to work out the twitch
When you experience a muscle twitch, stretching it out can be of some help. When you’re stretching, you’re pulling the muscle in the opposite direction of the contraction, effectively elongating it.
Basically, stretching lengthens and pulls the muscle that is affected. Remember that you should never overextend the muscle.
If you notice any pain, stop. If your muscle feels tight, you should hold the stretch but don’t push past it. Each stretch should be held for about 30 seconds.
For back twitches, do gentle stretches
When you are experiencing back muscle twitches, doing gentle stretching exercises can be of some help.
However, you should only do these stretches when your pain is not as severe and the twitching is minimal.
You should never do them if your twitch is painful or severe. If there are any of the exercises that cause the twitch to be worse, you should stop immediately.
Use heating pads and/or cold presses
The heat will help your muscles to relax and to stop twitching, while the cold will help the pain and swelling.
The very first time you experience a twitch, you should use a cold press- placing an ice pack on the area for a couple of days.
You should use ice on the twitch for 20 to 30 minutes every three to four hours. If the twitch keeps occurring, you can use moist heat for 20 to 30 minutes during the day.