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Muscle Twitching After Stroke: It Could Be More than Spasticity

woman with muscle twitching after stroke working with physical therapist

Have you ever felt alarmed by muscle twitching after stroke and wondered what caused it?

Sometimes muscle twitching is a sign of spasticity, but it could also indicate other issues. For this reason, it’s important to talk to your physician if you’re concerned about muscle twitching.

This article will highlight the 4 most common causes of muscle twitching and some effective method for recovery.

4 Causes of Muscle Twitching After Stroke

Before we get started, it’s important to know that you should consult your doctor or therapist if your symptoms are accompanied by pain, discomfort, or reduced quality of life. Your doctor can help diagnose your condition and your therapist may help with rehabilitation.

Here are some common causes of muscle twitching after stroke:

1. 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 doctor or therapist. Your doctor may prescribe Botox injections to help temporarily relieve spasticity, while your therapist can help with rehabilitation, which helps reduce spasticity long-term.

2. Tremors

When muscles twitch in a constant, rhythmic fashion, it could be a sign of tremors. Tremors often 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. Involuntary movement disorders

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. The affected muscles are “waking up”

Some stroke patients experience twitching in their affected muscles right before they regain movement, especially in patients with hemiplegia (paralysis on half the body).

If you have been regularly participating in rehabilitation, then muscle twitching could be a sign of recovery. However, it’s impossible to tell, so a conversation with your doctor or therapist is always the safest route.

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 indicate other issues.

In some cases, it’s a sign of recovery; and 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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