Muscle twitching all over your body

What is muscle twitching all over the body?

Muscle twitches are involuntary contractions of muscle fibers that can occur in principle in any muscle on the body. In principle there are muscle twitches with and without the effect of movement. One further subdivides:

  • Myoclonia (twitching of entire muscles, usually with the effect of movement)

  • Fasciculations (twitching of muscle fiber bundles)

  • Fibrillation (twitching of the smallest muscle fibers)

There are many possible causes for muscle twitching, but they are often harmless. However, they can be very annoying and many are disturbed by them, especially if they are diffuse all over the body.

Also read our general article on the subject Muscle twitching


In terms of the causes, it is advisable to subdivide them according to the type of muscle twitching:


Myoclonia are involuntary contractions of one or more muscles and can be observed from the outside as short, twitching movements. Depending on the cause, those affected have little or no control over myoclonus.

Myoclonus can be harmless, especially if they occur shortly before falling asleep (falling asleep myoclonus) or as short "shudder attacks".

Tic disorders are also a common cause of myoclonia, i.e. habitual movement patterns that can no longer really be controlled by the person affected. While tics are not dangerous in and of themselves, they can be very stressful and stigmatizing. Gille de la Tourette syndrome is a serious neurological-psychiatric disease with pronounced tics.

Another important cause of myoclonia are some epilepsy syndromes. However, epilepsy is not a uniform disease, many sub-forms are accompanied by completely different symptoms such as tingling, smacking or apathy. In principle, all possible neurological symptoms are conceivable, myoclonia only occurs in certain epilepsies. When the whole body twitches one speaks of a generalized tonic-clonic seizure or grand mal seizure. Often, however, only individual muscles or muscle groups twitch, this is called a partial seizure.

You can find out more about the topic here Symptoms of epilepsy


With fasciculations, not the whole muscle twitches but only muscle fiber bundles, i.e. parts of a muscle. As a rule, there is therefore no movement effect. Fasciculations can also appear all over the body, especially after physical exertion they occur more frequently and are in the vast majority of cases harmless; one also speaks of benign fasciculation syndrome. As a rule of thumb, if fewer than 3 fasciculations occur in 10 seconds, they are harmless. They are then often noticeable as twitching in the eyelid or extremities. In addition to exercise, the main causes are stress, emotional imbalance or stimulants such as caffeine.

You should be particularly careful if fasciculations are accompanied by pronounced weakness and muscle degradation; this can be an indication of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and must urgently be clarified by a neurologist! Rare neuromuscular diseases such as poliomyelitis or spinal muscular atrophy must then also be considered.

Another cause are drugs such as choline esterase inhibitors, lithium or methylphenidate (Ritalin) or electrolyte disorders such as magnesium or calcium deficiency.

A herniated disc, especially in the cervical spine, can lead to fasciculations all over the body, but is then usually accompanied by pain, numbness or paralysis.

Also read: You can recognize a magnesium deficiency by these symptoms


Fibrillations are twitching of the smallest muscle units and usually only visible in the tongue muscle. Their causes correspond to those of fasciculations.

Possible causes

Can muscle twitching be an indication of epilepsy?

Epilepsy is not a single disease but a collective term for various epilepsy syndromes, which can also be of different types. All epilepsy syndromes have in common that they are caused by increased brain activity and always follow the same seizure pattern. However, this pattern is different for each syndrome.

The most impressive and therefore best-known seizures are certainly the so-called seizures, which are associated with myoclonus all over the body; one speaks of grand mal seizures. However, there are also completely different types of seizures, some patients have brief paralysis, automated hand or mouth movements or even just a tingling sensation. Muscle twitching can therefore be a symptom of epilepsy, but it is a very complex disease so that only an experienced neurologist can diagnose it.

For more information on the subject, also read our article on the subject epilepsy

Stress as a cause

A typical trigger for muscle twitching is stress, usually the eyelid starts to twitch, but in principle any muscle in the body can be affected. The twitching is then absolutely harmless and disappears after a few days, but is usually perceived as annoying

Can this also have psychosomatic causes?

Psychosomatic symptoms are symptoms for which, despite adequate diagnostics, no cause can be found by which they could be fully explained. In principle, almost every symptom can also be psychosomatic, typical are, for example, pain, tingling, numbness or muscle twitching. First of all, purely physical causes must be ruled out; only then can the diagnosis be made “psychosomatic”. It is important that the symptoms are not dismissed as "imaginary" as they can be a great burden for the patient. Psychosomatic symptoms must also be taken seriously and treated psychotherapeutically in the event of severe suffering.

Here is an overview of the psychosomatic medicine


As with any symptom, the first and most important step is taking a detailed medical history, i.e. talking to the doctor. Most of the information can already be obtained from this. A good description of the symptoms helps to decide which examinations and therapies are suitable.

A physical neurological exam should then be performed to determine additional symptoms and symptoms.

Then, depending on the patient, further examinations are carried out, especially electromyography (EMG) for muscle twitching. Here, thin needles are inserted into the affected muscle, with which the electrical activity of the muscle can be measured. The neurologist can then, if necessary, infer the disease from these measurements or, of course, identify a healthy muscle. If damage to the nerve supplying the muscle is suspected, electroneurography (ENG) should be performed. Here, short, harmless electrical impulses are sent into the nerves, which then lead to the contraction of the muscle and provide information about the condition of the nerves.

Sometimes an MRI scan is also necessary to rule out or diagnose serious illnesses. In the case of a herniated disc, of course, an MRI must be made of the corresponding section of the spine.

If the muscle twitching occurs acutely and with severe accompanying symptoms, computed tomography may also be necessary.

accompanying symptoms

Muscle twitches alone are usually not threatening but have a harmless cause such as benign fasciculation syndrome. However, if warning signs occur, the twitching should be examined by a neurologist. These symptoms, known as “red flags”, include in particular:

  • strong pain

  • neurological failures such as Paralysis or visual disturbances

  • severe dizziness

  • Fever and unwanted weight loss

  • severe, novel headache

A doctor must also be consulted if there are symptoms that indicate epilepsy. This is especially true in the case of loss of consciousness during the convulsions and neurological failures.

If the muscle twitches are accompanied by a loss of strength and muscle wasting, this can be a first indication of ALS and should be clarified urgently.


If muscle twitching occurs with pain, the cause must be clarified. One possible cause is a herniated disc, for which an MRI should be done. However, some muscle diseases such as myositis or myotonia can also cause painful muscle twitching and require clarification.

Tingling all over

When the muscle twitches, an irritated nerve activates the muscle, which then involuntarily contracts. Tingling is a very typical accompanying symptom, as many patients perceive nerve irritation as tingling.

Most of the time, there is a tingling sensation with a discreet nerve stimulation. If the nerve is damaged for a long time, pain is more likely to occur. You know this from a hand that has fallen asleep, for example. So there is nothing to worry about. If the tingling and muscle twitching do not go away on their own, you should consult a doctor.


There is of course no uniform therapy for the symptom of muscle twitching, as this must be based on the cause.

If the twitches are stress-related, this should ideally be reduced; relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation or autogenic training can help. If there is also tension, the biofeedback technique is also an option.

The intake of calcium or magnesium in the form of powder or effervescent tablets is often recommended. The benefit against muscle twitching is, however, controversial, a clear effectiveness could not be proven so far. As long as you don't consume excessive amounts, you can't harm yourself, so it's worth a try. If there is of course a demonstrable deficiency, it should be compensated for, but then through medical treatment!

Psychotherapy should be considered for psychosomatic muscle twitching or tic disorders.

Physiotherapy is also a general treatment option. Please read the article on our partner site Medon about physiotherapy for muscle twitching!

If there is a serious illness, it must be treated accordingly. With amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in particular, the prognosis is unfortunately very poor with an average survival of 3-5 years. Riluzole is currently the only drug that has been approved in Germany, but it only brings a moderate improvement.


Nothing can be said about the duration, as it depends on the cause. If there is a harmless cause, the twitching usually disappears after a short time. If there is another underlying disease, it must first be treated in order to improve.