Physical Symptoms
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Anxiety and Muscle Spasms

Micah Abraham, BSc
Anxiety and Muscle Spasms

Anxiety can produce many unusual and distressing physical sensations. In some cases, these sensations are merely irritating. In other cases, these sensations can actually cause a great deal of distress and interfere significantly with your quality of life. One anxiety-related symptom that many struggle with is the experience of muscle spasms. Muscle spasms can be irritating to some and incredibly distressing to others.

Spasms Can Occur at Any Time

Unlike many other anxiety symptoms, muscle spasms may occur even when you do not have any other obvious signs of anxiety. That's actually one of the reasons that some people get more anxiety when they have spasms - it surprises them and makes them feel as though something must be wrong with their nerves or muscles.

Causes of Spasms

Spasms are involuntary muscle movements, sometimes referred to as "twitches." Cramps are also a type of muscle spasm, but generally when people talk about spasms with anxiety, they're talking about something that makes their body twitch uncontrollably.

Spasms can affect any part of the body, including:

Many people have experienced spasms at night after a considerable amount of walking, exercise, or when they're about to pass into deeper phases of sleep. These types of spasms are unrelated to anxiety, but those with anxiety are more prone to believing that their spasms are problematic. It's important to keep that in mind that some spasms occur naturally with no cause at all, or because of dehydration or exercise. Not all natural spasms relate to anxiety, but many people with anxiety think that their spasms are anxiety or health related.

The exact mechanism that causes spasms is not entirely known. Possible causes of anxiety spasms include:

Even though the causes of this type of twitching are not entirely understood, and even though it can affect any part of the body (often the fingers and arms are the most effected, but even eyelids have been known to twitch), anxiety causing these issues is entirely normal.

How to Control the Twitching

The twitching can often be very disruptive - sometimes beyond "annoying" - and many people find that the spasms cause them further stress about their health or their anxiety.

Controlling these twitches isn't easy, because your nerves typically function automatically and when they fire they cannot be stopped. Controlling your entire nervous system could actually be dangerous if it were possible, because you need to make sure that your nervous system works automatically in order to keep yourself alive.

But there are some ways to potentially decrease the frequency and severity of these spasms. Possible options include:

But since spasms will always continue to occur if you still suffer from anxiety, you're going to need to make sure that you're also committed to controlling your underlying anxiety disorder.

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