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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

Twitches 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’s not usually any treatment for it.

But 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

  • do not drink lots of caffeine, such as tea and coffee

  • do not drink lots of alcohol

  • do not stop taking a prescribed medicine without getting medical advice, even if you think it could be causing your twitch

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • you have a twitch for more than 2 weeks
  • you have a twitch in more than 1 place
  • the affected area feels weak or stiff
  • you think a prescribed medicine might be causing your twitch
Information:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: how to contact a GP

It's still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:

  • visit their website
  • use the NHS App
  • call them

Find out about using the NHS during COVID-19

What happens at your GP appointment

If your twitch does not go away, your GP may:

  • check for causes like stress or a medicine you're taking
  • ask you to come back if the twitch has not 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 are not caused by a medical condition.

Some possible causes of a twitch that does not go away or happens with other symptoms include:

  • 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 (an uncommon condition that causes weakness and gets worse over time)

Page last reviewed: 05 February 2021
Next review due: 05 February 2024