Hemifacial spasm is a contraction of the facial muscles without warning. It is a nervous disorder in which the muscles on one side of your face twitch involuntarily. Hemifacial spasms are also called tic convulsif.
Initially, they may seem only as small, hardly noticeable spasms around your eyelid, cheek, or mouth. Over time, these tics may also grow to other parts of your face.
Medicine, surgery, and Botox injections are good treatment options for it. These options help to stop the spasms and discharge the distress. These facial spasms can happen to both men and women, but they are most common in women over 40. Furthermore, they tend to occur more often on the left side of the face.
Hemifacial spasms are not dangerous on their own. But a persistent twitch in the face can be annoying or painful. In some severe cases, these twitches can limit function due to involuntary eye closing or the impact they have on speaking.
These spasms, in some cases, may designate that there is an underlying condition or an aberration in facial structure. These causes can compress or damage your nerves. Thus, making your face muscles twitch.
Most often, this disorder is caused by a blood vessel touching a facial nerve, which is also known as the seventh cranial nerve.
Facial spasms occur when the muscles contract unwillingly due to the irritation of this nerve. But it may also occur due to a facial nerve injury or a tumor, or it may not have any cause. Sometimes there is no detectable cause. If there is no obvious cause, specialists may call it idiopathic (of unknown cause) hemifacial spasm.
One of the most common causes of hemifacial spasm is a blood vessel which presses the facial nerve at the place where it exits the brainstem.
In 92% of cases, the spasm starts near the eye. Then, it progresses down the face with time. But it starts near the chin and progresses upward in the other 8%. The facial twitching is typically not so painful, but it can be uncomfortable. It can also interfere with your normal expression and vision.
Symptoms of hemifacial spasm
The primary symptom of facial twitching is involuntary muscle spasms in your face. Pain is not common in this disorder.
Generally, twitching starts around the eye which may lead to forced closing of the eyelids. This is a mild twitching and may not be too disturbing. This type of facial twitching is known as blepharospasm. These spasms may slowly spread to other muscles of the lower face.
For some persons, the twitches may become even worse during times of stress or being fatigued. Over time, the spasms may finally become constant. Thus, affecting all of the muscles on one side of your face.
Over time, spasms may become more obvious in the areas of your face which it already affects. However, the twitching may also spread to other parts of the same side of the face and body, including the;
- the area around your mouth, such as your lips
- upper neck
Hemifacial spasms can also spread to every muscle on one side of your face. Spasms may also still happen while you are sleeping. Spreading of spasms can also cause other symptoms, like;
- changes in your ability to hear
- ringing in ears
- ear pain, specifically behind your ear
- spasms which go down the entire face
What you can do about the facial twitching
Patience is a good dose to resolve facial twitch. But even though you are waiting for the spasm to go away, there are some practices which can help you. These practices might aid hasten the departure of twitch.
- Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake; caffeine and alcohol stimulate this kind of twitching. Therefore, decreasing your consumption of alcohol and caffeine can only help.
- Eliminate stimulants; a few decongestants, diet aids and prescription medicines like those for ADHD are stimulants. In case you are taking any prescription drug, speak with your physician about whether it could be paid to the problem.
- Lessen eye irritation; if your eye is twitchy, then try to keep your eyes comfortable by cutting down on screen time. Moreover, try to wear sunglasses, avoid bright lights and use eye drops if your eyes are dry.
- Be more chill; stress can make things worse, counting facial twitches. And try to not fixate on your spasm as that’s worrying and stressful.
- Get enough sleep; overtiredness can also lead to muscle spasms, so be sure to get enough sleep.
- Eat foods with magnesium; consume foods rich in magnesium like fish, nuts, dark green vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and pumpkin seeds. Magnesium plays a very important role in regulating the proper functioning of muscles. Furthermore, consult with your doctor or nutritionist before taking any magnesium supplement to make sure you don’t overdo it.
If your twitch won’t stop twitching
There are numerous situations in which you need to consult a doctor. For instance, if your twitching does not resolve after quite a few weeks, if it increases or affects your vision, or if you concurrently experience other noteworthy symptoms, like a headache or muscle weakness.
If twitching strengthens over time, it is possible you may be suffering from spasm caused by a blood vessel touching a facial nerve known as a hemifacial spasm. These spasms do not come and go but stick for weeks in the same location and can exacerbate over time.
Though a facial spasm can be an indication of something more severe, it is probably not. According to researchers, a facial spasm hardly specifies an underlying medical condition in adults. Instead, a twitch generally resolves on its own and people may even forget they ever had one.
Stress because of this state’s intense twitches is one of the most critical side effects of hemifacial spasm. Nevertheless, people can relieve their signs and symptoms with injections or surgery.
Also, it is important for people to seek proper treatment and take an active part in their care. The condition is likely to get poorer if it is left untreated. So, people need to be aware of all the treatment options available.
Basically, the two key ways for the treatment of hemifacial spasm are through injections or surgery. Also, surgery is more involved and disturbing but it also provides more stable and instant relief. Moreover, follow the instructions of your doctor and you’ll likely be able to keep your facial twitching to a minimum.