All muscles in the body are capable of involuntary twitching, including the tongue.
Since the tongue is a muscle, it can spontaneously spasm just like any other muscle in the body.
There are many medical conditions that can cause tongue twitching, including stroke, MS, and more.
What is Tongue Twitching?
A “twitch” is nothing more than an involuntary, jerky movement of a muscle.
Since it happens sporadically, you can’t predict when it happens.
Twitching can be short-lived, lasting only a few minutes, or be chronic, lasting for days or more.
This symptom could be the result of certain medications, as well as underlying medical conditions.
Tongue Twitching Can Vary in Intensity
The degree of twitching also ranges in intensity. In some people, it’s very intense, while in others, it’s mild.
The official medical term for this phenomenon is lingual dystonia.
“Lingual” stands for tongue and “dystonia” means involuntary muscle contraction.
If your tongue is twitching non-stop, then this can make it difficult to speak or swallow food.
It can also be quite distracting when you’re trying to fall asleep or concentrate on work.
What Causes Involuntary Tongue Contractions?
Before treating your symptom, you need to learn about what’s causing it.
There are a host of causes to consider. Some include:
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Cerebral Palsy
- Meige’s Syndrome
These are all considered relatively serious. However, it’s possible that your symptom is due to something less serious (like stress).
If you’re deficient in a vitamin or mineral, then it can also lead to chronic twitching of the tongue.
Finally, it could be caused by certain medications. If a cause can’t be found, then doctors call it “idiopathic”, meaning there’s no known cause.
How to Treat a Twitching Tongue
There’s no universal way to treat a twitching tongue. It all depends on the underlying cause.
You should speak with a neurologist who can run the proper tests needed to diagnose you.
After running some tests, they can rule out dangerous diseases and even prescribe medications that can make your symptom go away.
Here are some ways to treat your symptom:
- Stress Management: In otherwise healthy people, this symptom is most likely due to stress. It’s well-known in the scientific/medical community that stress leads to involuntary muscle spasms. While these muscle spasms aren’t inherently dangerous, they can be quite annoying and ruin your quality of life. Some ways to effectively manage stress include exercising more, doing meditation, or practicing yoga.
- Support Groups: You can join a support group of people who are also suffering from a twitching tongue. The support group doesn’t need to be in a physical location. It can exist in the form of an online forum or Facebook page. By connecting with people who have the same thing, it may help you feel more at ease with your condition.
- Eat a Balanced Diet: Muscle twitching can be due to a diet that isn’t balanced. Make sure that you’re getting all your vitamins and minerals. Being deficient in even a single vitamin/mineral for a long time can result in muscle spasms.
- Stay Hydrated: When you’re dehydrated, your muscles may spontaneously fire off. Tongue twitching can be the result of not getting enough fluids. Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day to ensure you’re staying hydrated.
- Take Stock of Your Medications: Check the side effects of your current medications and see if they include twitching. If you think that one of your medications is causing your symptom, then talk to your doctor to see if they can switch it for something else. Never stop taking a drug without approval from your doctor first!
- Professional Medical Treatment: If the underlying cause is something serious like cancer or a stroke, then you’ll need professional medical treatment to get rid of your symptom. For example, if it’s caused by cancer then you will need radiation, chemo, surgery, or a combination of all three.
Believe it or not, some doctors recommend getting Botox to get rid of their twitching tongue.
The reason is because Botox can paralyze your tongue muscle, which will prevent involuntary spasms from taking place.
Is it Bulbar ALS?
Many people suffering from tongue twitching believe that they have bulbar ALS.
This is basically a variation of ALS that begins in the tongue and affects approximately 600 people per year. First off, bulbar ALS is extremely rare.
Off the 300+ million people in the United States, only about 600 people get diagnosed, which is a very small percentage. S
econdly, remember that ALS is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse with time.
So, if your tongue is twitching one day and normal the next, then you’re most likely fine.
Reasons Why It’s Most Likely Not Bulbar ALS
Bulbar ALS also presents itself with other symptoms like difficulty swallowing and the inability to speak quickly without messing up your words.
If your only symptom is twitching, and you’re speaking/eating like normal, then it’s probably not ALS.
If you had ALS, then you would have difficulty chewing, controlling secretions, and you wouldn’t be able to swallow properly.
ALS symptoms don’t come and go. They aren’t worse one day and then better the next.
When you have ALS, your symptoms will get progressively worse each day. If that’s not happening to you, then try not to worry.
Tongue twitching can be due to stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy, and Meige’s syndrome.
These are considered the worst-case scenario. In most cases, if this is your only symptom, then it’s most likely just anxiety.
If you’re worried, then go see a doctor. In some people, the twitching is so bad that it ruins their quality of life.
The sooner you get it taken care of, the sooner you can get back to living your life normally.