Are you experience calf twitching? If so, you’re not alone- everyone experiences this at one point or another. The question is: is it serious?
Generally, muscle twitching isn’t anything serious. Yet, this doesn’t stop millions of people from thinking they have something serious like ALS or MS.
This symptom can be caused by something as simple as drinking too much coffee. In other cases, it’s because you haven’t gotten enough sleep.
Dehydration and/or malnutrition are also prime culprits. Even anxiety has been known to cause non-stop twitching in some people.
Don’t Trust Doctor Google
You’re here because you typed ‘Calf Twitching’ in Google. Unfortunately, Doctor Google is a terrible doctor.
He gives people the worst possible scenario to their symptoms- in this case, ALS. Of course, it’s natural to panic when you see something like this.
But you have to realize that the chances are extremely small that you have ALS. The best thing you can do right now is sit down and breath.
The more you panic, the more intense your twitches are going to be. Muscle twitching can be caused by a pinched nerve in the spine and even fatigue.
Anxiety is also a common cause. Anxiety makes your twitches worse, which makes your anxiety worse, which makes your twitches worse…you get the picture.
It’s a snowball effect that you have to avoid. Have you ever watched a basketball game on TV? If so, you’ve probably see athletes collapse to the floor with calf cramps.
Well, that’s what happens when you don’t drink enough water. If you’re dehydrated or if you’ve overexerted yourself lately then don’t be surprised if your calf is twitching nonstop.
Normal Calf Twitching vs. ALS
Even though it’s highly unlikely that you have ALS, we’ll compare a normal twitch vs. a twitch associated with ALS.
First and foremost, know that ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease.
This means that it doesn’t “come and go”. If your calf twitching is only present “sometimes”, then that’s not a sign of ALS- that’s just a sign of anxiety, dehydration, overexertion, etc.
Likewise, ALS is associated with muscle loss and weakness. Is your calf getting smaller? Does it feel weak? No?
Then once again, you probably don’t have ALS. Additionally, realize that ALS is something that’s typically only found in people over the age of 50.
It’s certainly possible to get it at a young age, but it’s against the odds from a statistical point of view. You have a higher chance of getting killed in a car accident!
Benign Fasciculation Syndrome
Benign Fasciculation Syndrome (often abbreviated as BFS) is a neurological disorder that explain your calf twitching. While not debilitating or life-threatening, it can be very annoying.
It’s also referred to as “Muscle Twitching Syndrome” because it involves the rapid twitching of muscles around the body.
With BFS, twitches can occur anywhere on the body. They can last anywhere from a few seconds to several hours. Some people, however, experience chronic twitching that never goes away.
The twitching can get worse during times of high stress or overexertion. The symptoms are completely sporadic, and can affect several parts of the body at the same time.
The intensity of the twitches varies from person to person. Currently, there is no cure for BFS but there are things that you can do to lessen the frequency and severity of your twitches.
People with chronic calf twitching generally have a history of overexertion and/or anxiety.
A doctor can diagnose with this disorder only after they’ve excluded more serious ones like ALS, MS, and Lyme disease.
The most important tool used by doctors today is the Electromyography (EMG). This tool allows doctors to check for nerve damage.
If the EMG appears normal, then it’s most likely BFS that you’re experiencing (which is benign and annoying at most).
Additionally, be on the lookout for symptoms like muscle wasting or weakness as this could be an early sign of ALS.
How to Treat Calf Twitching
There are ways to lessen the frequency and severity of your symptom. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Drink More Water: Believe it or not, chronic calf twitching can be a direct result of not drinking enough water. At a minimum, you should be drinking 8 glasses of water per day (more if you’re physically active).
- Eat Healthier: Malnutrition can cause your muscles to twitch uncontrollably. Eat a diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables and try to avoid sodas and other processed foods. Note that magnesium can help with your symptoms.
- Don’t Overuse Your Muscle: One of the most common reasons for this symptom is overexertion. If you use a particular muscle group over and over again, you’re more likely to experience twitching in that area.
Also, try to get more sleep as well as more vitamin D. The body doesn’t make its own vitamin D so you’ll need to either A) Supplement with it, or B) Get more sunlight (a direct source of vitamin D).
And make sure that you’re not overexerting yourself. Another option that you have is taking anti-anxiety medication.
Psychology plays a big role in twitching. Specifically, people who are very anxious tend to have a higher risk of developing BFS.
By taking anti-anxiety medication, learning stress management techniques, and avoiding stimulants like nicotine and caffeine, it should make your symptoms go away.
To summarize, it’s very unlikely that your calf twitching is being caused by ALS. Remember that ALS is a degenerative disease that causes muscle wasting and weakness.
If you’re not experiencing either of these symptoms, then ALS is unlikely. By controlling your diet and stress levels, it will be easier to reduce the severity of your BFS symptoms.
If you’re worried, speak with a doctor about your symptoms. They’ll run a full workup (including an EMG) to rule out something serious.