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Muscle Twitching After Stroke: Possible Causes & What to Do

woman with muscle twitching after stroke working with physical therapist

Muscle twitching after stroke could be more than a sign of spasticity. Understanding all the possible causes is critical for receiving proper treatment.

This article will run you through the most common causes of twitching muscles after stroke along with suggested treatments.

If symptoms are accompanied by pain, discomfort, or reduced quality of life, talk to your doctor. They can diagnose your condition and ensure proper treatment.

Without further ado, let’s dig into the causes of twitching muscles after stroke.

Causes of Muscle Twitching After Stroke

Muscle twitching after stroke may be caused the following conditions or events:

1. Your Affected Muscles Are “Waking Up”

Some stroke patients report twitching muscles right before their impaired side begins to regain movement.

After stroke, movement impairments occur because damage to the brain impairs its ability to communicate with your muscles.

As your brain rewires itself via neuroplasticity, it slowly regains the ability to communicate with your muscles. This is one of the biggest concepts behind how stroke recovery works.

In this case, muscle twitching after stroke could be a sign of recovery. You will find treatment options below to keep the improvement going.

However, when twitching muscles are accompanied by pain or discomfort, then it’s best to consult with your therapist.

2. Spasticity

If your muscle twitches are accompanied by pain or increased stiffness, then the spasms might be a symptom of spasticity after stroke.

In this case, it’s critical to work with your therapist. They may give you medication or Botox to help temporarily relieve the symptoms.

It’s important to continue spasticity treatment exercises to help rewire the brain and improve mobility after stroke.

3. Tremors

When muscles twitch in a constant, rhythmic fashion, it could be a sign of tremors after stroke. Tremors have delayed onset, so they can manifest months after stroke.

If you think you’ve developed tremors after stroke, talk to your doctor.

4. Involuntary Movement Conditions

Aside from tremors, there are many other involuntary movement disorders that can occur after stroke.

Namely, some stroke patients may develop muscle twitching after stroke from conditions like clonus, chorea, athetosis, or dystonia.

Talk to your medical team for an accurate diagnosis.

Treating Muscle Twitching After Stroke

Muscle twitching after stroke can be a good or bad sign depending on the context.

Therefore, there are different approaches to treatment, and you should work with your therapist to find the best fit for you.

Keep Doing Physical Therapy

If your muscle twitches are a sign that things are starting to wake up, then it’s time to double down on your stroke exercise regimen.

More movement in the body is a sign that your brain is working hard to reconnect with your muscles.

The more physical therapy exercises you practice, the more your brain will rewire itself via neuroplasticity.

Bonus: Download our free Stroke Rehab Exercises ebook. (Link will open a pop-up that will not interrupt your reading.)

Consider Treatment Coupled with PT

If your muscle twitches are a sign of post-stroke symptoms getting worse, or new conditions sprouting up like tremors, then it’s important to gently participate in physical therapy, too.

Movement is therapeutic for stroke recovery. When you move your affected muscles, you help your brain rewire itself and regain control of those muscles.

However, if muscle twitches are painful or limiting your mobility, talk to your therapist about Botox or medication. This can help relieve the symptoms (like spasticity and muscle tightness) to temporarily improve mobility.

Then, use this increase in mobility to get more physical therapy exercises done. That way, you’re addressing the root problem, too.

Understanding Muscle Twitching After Stroke

Overall, muscle twitching after stroke is not well-understood, but it’s thought to be a sign of recovery if unaccompanied by pain or discomfort.

Focusing on physical therapy can help you make a good situation better.

If your twitches are caused by worsening symptoms, like tremors, physical therapy can still help prevent things from getting worse or even improve.

We mentioned working with your medical team often because with muscle twitching after stroke, it’s a good idea to consult a professional!

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