Thumb Twitching

Facts about Thumb Twitching

It can be extremely annoying; out of the blue, for seemingly no reason, you can’t help but notice your thumb twitching uncontrollably.  It could be that other people are noticing it, too.  Then, as quickly as it began, it stops.  What causes these strange muscle contractions?

Muscle definition

Muscles are essential elements in any living creature.  They play a vital role in a number of different body processes for humans; enabling us to walk, talk, smile, blink, wave and control bodily functions.  They are necessary for us to breathe, for our hearts to beat and for our blood to flow throughout the body.  We could not survive without muscles.  The most amazing thing about how muscles affect all of these functions is that they only really have one basic action:  contraction. 

Muscles are composed of fibers that are actually groups of cells.  These fibers have a number of proteins and two different types of filaments that are arranged in a hexagon pattern. There are also membranes that are deep within the fibers whose job it is to withhold and release calcium ions into the muscle.  It is through the calcium dispersion that muscle contraction occurs.   

Most muscle contractions are specifically designed for accomplishing a deliberate and particular action.  At times, however, unintentional movement occurs; commonly referred to as a twitch.  Twitches can occur virtually anywhere on the body, and can end as suddenly as they begin.  They can also seemingly last for an interminable amount of time.  While painless, the twitches can be quite aggravating for the individual, especially when they occur in visible areas of the body such as the eyelid or the thumb.  Twitches almost always have a reason for occurring, either due to some disorder or due to a benign cause. 

Benign causes can be attributed to diet, exercise, caffeine intake, side effects of certain drugs.  This type of involuntary movement of the muscle occurs mainly to the eyelids, thumbs and calves of the legs.

Nervous Disorders

When complications from nervous disorders result in involuntary muscle movement, it is more likely to occur in larger muscle groups.  Some of the diseases that can be at the root of the problem are muscular dystrophy, myopathy, Lou Gehrig’s disease or spinal muscular atrophy.  There are specific symptoms besides the twitching that can signal one of these conditions may be at fault, including weakness of the muscles, wasting or loss of muscle mass or a change in muscle sensation. 

Treating twitching

Although irritating, the involuntary contractions are usually harmless when occurring to the eyelids, face or thumb.  Twitching is a common, although annoying, occurrence that has no known cure, especially when benign.  It is possible to alleviate the conditions somewhat by making modifications to the diet and by controlling the amount of caffeine and drugs taken.  Persistent twitching should be reported to a medical professional to rule out any underlying disease.  Tests such as MRI, EMG and blood chemistry are generally performed to diagnose the problem. 
It is a curious thing when it happens; an eyelid or thumb, twitching uncontrollably.  It should be reassuring to know that it is normal, and that it does goes away as quickly as it begins.