What are facial spasms?

Facial spasms, also known as fasciculations, are involuntary muscle contractions in the face that cause tics and spasms. Spasms can occur anywhere on the face and are caused by a wide range of factors, from daily stress to more serious ailments such as Tourette's syndrome. Muscle contractions are usually not painful, but if the condition is chronic, it can be quite irritating and even debilitating. The causes of most facial spasms are not well understood, although they are known to result from interactions between muscles and nerves. Experts speculate that stress, overstimulation, and heredity may be underlying causes.

Facial spasms are actually quite common. Most people experience eyelid twitching at least at some point in their lives. These often have no serious or identifiable causes, and may simply be related to overexcitement or stress. Benign spasms can flare up for a period of time, even up to a day or more, but then subside. More severe facial twitching resulting from a disease or disorder are often more chronic and exaggerated, and may be associated with other symptoms.

Many people experience myoclonic facial twitches, which are simply involuntary muscle contractions. It's not uncommon for people to experience myoclonic spasms while sleeping, although they can happen at any time and for no particular reason. In certain cases, myoclonus resembles a spasm disorder, with chronic spasms and jerks that affect a person's ability to live normally.

Facial spasms caused by dystonia can be more severe and may need treatment. Dystonia is classified as a serious neurological disorder; The shaking may be so severe that a person's face or other affected region of the body may be forced into abnormal expressions and poses. For some, dystonia occurs temporarily as a reaction to medication, but for others it can be more chronic. However, dystonia is not always severe and can occur in mild contractions.

In some middle-aged people, what may seem like a routine eye twitching turns into something more serious. The shrinkage not only continues, but begins to spread, affecting the lower regions of the face and even beginning to distort the mouth. This occurs with hemifacial spasms (HFS), a disorder with no known cause. It is believed that the blood vessels that come into contact with the facial nerves can trigger these spasms. Bright lights, stress, and tired eyes are also known to worsen the effects of HFS. Fortunately, these spasms are not usually associated with severe pain and can be treated with a high success rate.

Blepharospasm is a disorder characterized by chronic twitching of the eyelids that resemble a wink. In some cases, the spasms are so severe that they can affect vision and eye function. Blepharospasm can get progressively worse, even spreading spasms beyond the eyes and into the face. There is no known cure, although there are ways to reduce symptoms, such as injection therapies, oral medications, and surgery.

Facial twitching is also a routine symptom of Tourette syndrome. Tourette's is characterized by tics and tics of all kinds, including verbal tics. In milder cases of Tourette's, a person may only have facial twitching; In more severe cases, facial tics may be accompanied by verbal tics and twitching in other parts of the body.

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