Twitching eyes and muscles

Twitches are common and very rarely a sign of anything serious. They often go away on their own, but see a GP if a twitch lasts more than 2 weeks.

Twitches are usually nothing to worry about

Most people get twitches from time to time. They're often linked to:

  • stress and anxiety
  • tiredness and exhaustion
  • drinking caffeine or alcohol
  • some medicines – check the side effects on the packet or leaflet

They can affect any part of the body. Twitches in the eyes or legs are particularly common.

You may also have tingling or cramps (spasms) in the same area.

How you can help stop a twitch

A twitch may come and go but will normally stop in a few days or weeks. There isn't usually any treatment for it.

There are some things you can do to help:

Do

  • get plenty of rest
  • try to find ways to relax
  • stretch and massage any muscles affected by cramps
  • try not to worry about it – a twitch is usually harmless, and worrying can make it worse

Don't

  • drink lots of caffeine – such as tea and coffee
  • drink lots of alcohol
  • stop taking a prescribed medicine without getting medical advice – even if you think it could be causing your twitch

See a GP if:

  • you have a twitch for more than 2 weeks
  • you have a twitch in more than one place
  • the affected area feels weak
  • you think a prescribed medicine might be causing your twitch

What happens at your GP appointment

Your GP may:

  • check for causes of a twitch, like stress or a medicine you're taking
  • ask you to come back if the twitch hasn't stopped in a few weeks
  • refer you to a specialist called a neurologist for tests to look for conditions that can cause a twitch
Conditions that can cause a twitch

Most twitches aren't caused by a medical condition.

But a twitch that doesn't go away or occurs with other symptoms could be something like:

  • benign fasciculation syndrome – long-lasting twitches and cramps caused by overactive nerves
  • dystonia – a group of uncommon conditions that cause muscle spasms
  • motor neurone disease – a rare condition that causes weakness and gets worse over time

Page last reviewed: 09/02/2018
Next review due: 09/02/2021

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