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Muscle Twitching After Stroke: It Could Be More than Spasticity

woman with muscle twitching after stroke working with physical therapist

While many therapists are quick to say that muscle twitching after stroke is just a sign of spasticity, that’s not always the case.

It’s important to understanding all possible causes of muscle twitches so that you can receive proper treatment. This article will highlight the 4 most common causes of muscle twitches and the best method for recovery.

4 Causes of Muscle Twitching After Stroke

Before we get started, it’s important to know that you should consult your therapist if your symptoms are accompanied by pain, discomfort, or reduced quality of life. They can help diagnose your condition and see if there are any other factors at play.

Sometimes it helps to educate yourself before you talk with your therapist, and that’s what we’re about to do.

Overall, there are 4 possible causes of muscle twitching after stroke. Here’s an explanation of each:

1. You’re experiencing spasticity

If muscle twitches are accompanied by stiffness and difficulty with movement, then it’s likely a symptom of spasticity. In this case, it’s critical to work with your therapist. They may give you medication or Botox to help temporarily relieve the symptoms.

2. You may have developed tremors after stroke

When muscles twitch in a constant, rhythmic fashion, it could be a sign of tremors. Tremors have delayed onset after a stroke, which means they can manifest months later. If you think you’ve developed tremors after stroke, talk to your doctor.

3. You may have another involuntary movement condition

Aside from tremors, there are other involuntary movement disorders that can cause muscle twitches. For instance, some stroke patients may develop muscle twitching from conditions like clonus, chorea, athetosis, or dystonia.

4. Your affected muscles are “waking up”

Some stroke patients experience twitching in their affected muscles right before they regain movement. This seems more common in hemiplegic patients (those with post-stroke paralysis) than others.

One possible explanation for this phenomenon involves neuroplasticity. As your brain begins to rewire itself and reconnect mind to muscle, there might be some initial turbulence as your brain makes the connection.

If your muscle twitching is accompanied by improved mobility, it could be a sign of recovery.

Treating Muscle Twitching After Stroke

Muscle twitching after stroke can be a sign of progress or problems, depending on the context. Fortunately, treatment is roughly similar no matter what the issues is.

The best method to improve muscle twitching after stroke is physical therapy exercises. These exercises not only help improve blood flow to the affected muscles, but they help rewire the brain to improve control over your muscles.

If the twitching is caused by spasticity, rehab exercises are well-known to help. Furthermore, if the twitching is a sign of your muscles “waking up,” then rehab exercises will help you improve even more.

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.

Wrap Up: What We Know About Muscle Twitches

Overall, muscle twitching after stroke is thought to be a sign of spasticity, but it could also be a sign of recovery. 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. In this case, it’s best to work alongside a trained therapist who can provide a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

It’s always good idea to work with a medical professional, especially when new symptoms appear. Best of luck on the road to recovery.

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See how Susan is recovering from post-stroke paralysis

“I had a stroke five years ago causing paralysis on my left side which remains today.

I recently began using FitMi.

At first it was difficult for me to be successful with a few of the exercises but the more I use it, the better my scores become.

I have recently had some movement in my left arm that I did not have before.

I don’t know if I can directly relate this to the use of the FitMi but I am not having occupational therapy so I conclude that it must be benefiting me.

The therapy modality motivates me to use it daily and challenges me to compete against my earlier scores.

I heartily recommend it!-Susan, stroke survivor

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