Lip twitching is a common yet very disturbing symptom. In most cases, the cause behind this condition is not serious.
Mostly it happens due to stress, fatigue, emotions, excessive caffeine intake or some deficiency in your body, such as potassium.
In most cases, lip twitching is self-limiting and disappears in minutes or maybe few days. It goes away without causing any residual problem in your body.
However, if it is persistent with other signs and symptoms, then it should be investigated for other underlying disorders and causes.
In this article, we tell about the causes, symptoms, and treatment for lip twitching.
What Is Lip Twitching?
A sudden involuntary contraction of your lip muscles is called twitching of lip. It is usually caused due to contraction of the muscle fibers.
It is a result of direct stimulation, irritation or injury of the nerve supplying these muscles and can also be caused due to tics, spasms, tremors and fasciculation ( general muscle twitching).
Lip twitching or lip fasciculation is an abnormal irregular contraction of the muscle fibers of your lips. Such twitches may occur even when your lips are at rest. It may also happen after a direct simulation of your lips like electrical or chemical pressures or direct contact with heat.
Lip twitching action is usually rapid and imperceptible in the movement of lips. It can occur during a purposeful action of your lip, which might indicate muscle fatigue.
Symptoms Of Lip Twitching
Lower lip twitching may be seen as a minor tremor of your lip. However, it may also spread to other areas of your face. Some of the common signs and symptoms of this condition are mentioned below:
- Spontaneous or unexpected contraction of your lower lip muscle.
- Spasms which may occur repeatedly after a gap of some minutes.
- The sensation of frozen lip or numbness of your bottom lip.
- Minor population like the motion of your lower lip.
- Curling sensations of the edges of your lip.
Causes Of Lip Twitching
The most common causes of lower and upper lip twitching are as follows:
- Emotions such as anger, amusement or fear
- Severe anxiety
- Potassium deficiency
- Excessive intake of a stimulant like coffee, a variety of soft drinks, tea, chocolate and over the counter stimulants.
- Withdrawal of alcohol or abuse.
- Withdrawal of nicotine or cigarette
- Lack of electrolytes
Other causes of lip twitching may include the following:
- Irritation or damage to your facial nerves due to a trauma or injury.
- Occasional twitching of your lips due to bell’s palsy or facial droop.
Causes Of Persistent Lip Twitching
If, in any case, you have a persistent lip twitching, then following might be the causes behind it :
i) Hemifacial Spasm
When there is an aggravated or initiated fatigue or anxiety, then involuntary facial movements like lip twitching might occur. When in anxiety people often twitch their lower lip on the left side.1 Although, the cause behind this can also be compression of a facial nerve.
Hemifacial spasms occur when there is a damage to the seventh cranial nerve, which affects the facial muscles. This damage can be a result of nerve damage or due to a blood vessel.
A facial tic is a condition which involves the eyes or the muscles of the face and lips. In this condition, there is a repeated spasm of the involved facial muscles.2
Tics occur frequently in childhood and often gets resolved on their own. However, sometimes they continue throughout the life. Stress is the known cause behind this condition.
iii) Tourette’s Syndrome
Tourette’s syndrome is a little different from short-lived childhood tics. Its symptoms are caused by repeated involuntary muscle spasm.3
It can further result in the following symptoms :
- Mouth twitching
- Grimacing of the mouth
- Nose wrinkling
- Tongue movement
- Throat clearing
This condition can also include behavioral problems. There is no absolute cure for this condition. Therapy and medication can only work to reduce the symptoms.
iv) Parkinsons Disease
When the twitching of lips occurs as rhythmical involuntary action, affecting one or both lip, then it comes under the category of Parkinson’s disease. It also has other signs and symptoms of itself.4
This tremor of lips starts when you are at rest. It may stop while performing activities such as eating or speaking, which is typically the case in Parkinson’s disease.
This kind of lip twitching of the lip is not observed when you sleep. However, in the later stage of this disease, lip twitching may continue even when the patient is talking or eating.
Other signs and symptoms of this disease may include the following:
- Tremor, starting in the hands
- Slowness of movement
- Muscle stiffness
- Problems with balance and coordination.
- Slow monotonous speech
- Walking with short shuffling steps
- Fixed facial expressions with a staring gaze or little/no blinking
When there is a low level of calcium and elevated level of phosphorus in your body, it results in low production of parathyroid hormone in your body. This condition is called Hypoparathyroidism.
This gives rise to a number of other symptoms like :
- Muscle cramps in the legs, feet, abdomen or face
- Tingling, numbness and burning sensation in the fingertips, toes, and lips.
- Muscle weakness
- Dysmenorrhea ( painful menstruation )
- Rough and dry skin
- Patchy hair loss
- Brittle nails
- Twitching of hands and feet
vi) DiGeorge Syndrome
Sometimes, there is a poor development of several body systems. This is due to a defect in chromosome 22 which results in a syndrome called DiGeorge syndrome.5
It is associated with defects in the heart, cleft palate, behavioral problems and poor functioning of parathyroid glands.
These signs and symptoms may be present at the time of birth or may develop later. It will completely depend on the affected body system of an individual.
These symptoms may include:
- Bluish skin
- Shortness of breath
- Failure to gain weight
- Twitching of lips and muscles around the mouth
- Easy fatigue
- Spasm of the hands or the legs
- Frequent infections
vii) Essential Tremor
The tremor that involves arms, hands, and head, it is called essential tremor. It is one of the most common types of tremor and occurs mostly due to stretching of arms or some neurological disorder and can be either due to a family history of essential tremor or else no cause can be identified.
It is minimum when you are at the action and disappears when you go to sleep.6
There may be phases of uncontrollable tremors and even shaking of the whole body. However, it will exist for only a short period of time. Essential tremor symptoms can be improved by doing exercises.
viii) Drug-Induced Tremor
When you are on a long-term alcohol abuse or narcotic use, including crystal meth addiction, it causes a drug-induced tremor in your body. These may also be present as a result of opiate withdrawal.
It can be severe during the detoxification phase. It may even persist after rehabilitation which is often seen in recovering addicts. Also, it comes along with other symptoms like head tremor, voice, tongue and lip tremor, causing severe difficulty in speech.
ix) Hysterical Tremor
Hysterical tremor occurs only when you are in a heightened emotional state. This type of tremor usually disappears or reduces when the patient is distracted. This is a common cause of lip twitching.
How To Stop Lip Twitching
When you have lip twitching, it is often ignored or overlooked. However, it is essential to find out what is causing it and then carry out a proper treatment if required to cure lip twitching.
If not stopped on time, it may spread to other parts of your face and body. Hence, here are some preventive measures and treatments that can help you to reduce or stop the jerky movement of the lip(s).
- Taking proper care of your physical as well as mental health.
- Avoid or reduce intake of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.
- Apply a warm cloth to the surface of your lip whenever the twitching starts. You can even apply pressure to your lip with your finger to stop the twitching immediately
- Reduce your stress and fatigue by practicing stress managing techniques like exercise and yoga.
- Eat a well-balanced diet which includes watermelon and bananas. They are rich in potassium and will help you recover your potassium deficiency. You can also eat other fruits and vegetables.
It is very important to find the cause behind lip twitching before treating it. Hence, once the cause is identified, it can be treated.
However, sometimes the lip twitching may occur without any residual problem. Then, it might come under the category of persistent lip twitching and might not be treatable.
Just keep in mind, if the condition does not improve by self-care treatments, then it is advised to consult the medical specialist for proper advice.
Lip twitching is not a problem to worry. Many people do it out of tension, excitement, or nervousness. If done occasionally there is nothing to worry. But, if lip twitching becomes a habit then it suggests an unknown illness and requires a doctor’s consultation.
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|↑2||Wang A, Jankovic J. Hemifacial spasm: clinical findings and treatment. Muscle Nerve. 1998;21:1740–7.|
|↑3||Leckman JF., Walker DE., Cohen DJ. Premonitory urges in Tourette’s syndrome. Am J Psychiatry.1993;150:98–102.|
|↑4||De Lau LM, Breteler MM. Epidemiology of Parkinson’s disease. Lancet Neurol. 2006;5:525–535.|
|↑5||Kobrynski LJ, Sullivan KE. Velocardiofacial syndrome, DiGeorge syndrome: the chromosome 22q11.2.2 deletion syndrome. Lancet. 2007;370:1443–52.|
|↑6||Rodger J Elble.What is essential tremor? 2014.|