Why do our lips twitch?
Lip Twitching are sudden and quick involuntary contractions. They can arise any area on the body, including the upper lip and other areas of the face. Most of these spasms are harmless and temporary. But certain underlying medical problems may be responsible for causing these kind of contractions, neurological origin in most of them. Many of these problems can be treated with some significant changes in lifestyle and proper medical treatment.
Symptoms of Lip twitching
The symptoms of lip twitching are obvious: a person may feel slight tremors, that can also spread to the rest of the face. A person experiencing lip twitching may have the following symptoms:
- Involuntary and sudden contractions of the lip muscles
- Light palpitations such as movements, especially in the upper lip
- The coldness and sensation of frozen lips.
- Curling sensation of the lip ends.
- Repeated spasms going on after an interval of few minutes
Lip twitching is a symptom, not a clinical condition. For this reason, it is critical to analyze the accompanying symptoms, so the medicine professional can find the cause for the lip twitch, and formulate a treatment strategy to solve the problem. Some of the associated symptoms that happen along with lip twitching are: Sudden contraction of muscles of the lower lip, recurrent involuntary spasm around the facial area, absence of sensation in the lip along with a feeling of coldness and typical lower lip motion.
Causes of Lip twitching
There are many causes that lead to lip twitching:
- Taking away from alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs
- Taking over-the-counter (OTC) medications and/or stimulants
- Reactions such as anger, fury, fear or horror
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Muscle fatigue
- Lack of electrolytes and potassium deficiency
- Facial nerve irritation due to trauma or injury
- A viral infection (herpes)
Bell’s palsy: the malfunction or dysfunction of the cranial nerve of the facial muscles. It is a temporary episode of paralysis affecting one side of the face. It happens when the branch of the nerves of the face swell and become inflamed. Symptoms may begin with the upper or lower lip in the form of spasms, followed by the pain onset, paralysis on one side of the face, and decreased sense of taste.
Facial tics or spasm can be aggravated due to fatigue or stress, and it leads to repeated motor movements in the muscles of the face, especially around the lips. The hemifacial spasm, aggravated by anxiety, which happens when a facial nerve is compressed due to a tumor, leading to involuntary facial movements like fasciculations. The continuous trembling of the lips can also be caused due to drug-induced tremors. Other causes of persistent tics include hypoparathyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome and DiGeorge’s syndrome.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurological disorder that causes muscle weakness. This incurable disease causes muscle spasms in the extremities, but may also be associated with facial and lip spasms.
Hemifacial spasm is a disorder of the nervous system that affects a branch of the nerves and can cause facial spasm. Generally, the spasm originates around the eye, and can extend to a whole half of the face. It may be the result of a blood vessel pressing against a facial nerve, a facial nerve injury, or a tumor.
Another possible cause is hypoparathyroidism (low production of PTH hormone by the parathyroid gland). This infrequent disease leads to an imbalance in the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the body.
If lip twitching does not give way and become annoying, it is advisable go to a neurologist for an adequate clinic history. It is the best way to catalog them and start the study, if the exploration suggests it. The medical professional, once found the diagnosis, may prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Botulinum toxin (Botox), for example, is used for specific cases of involuntary facial movements, generally in the case of hemifacial spasms.
- Electrotherapy: although there is a controversy regarding the use and effectiveness, since it stimulates the motor point of the muscle and not the nerve.
- Local high temperature: wet-warm compress for 10 minutes in the affected area, to improve circulation.
- Muscular re-education versus mirror: the foremost activities are intended to accomplish right functioning of the mouth and/or eye constriction. To contract the lips as if patient was going to give a kiss (Orbicular of the lips and compressor).
Assisted active exercises: the patient is helped by the fingers placed on the muscle to work in the direction of the desired movement, holding them for a few seconds in the affected area. It is important to stimulate the orbicular muscles of the eyelids and lips, as they are the last to recover.
- Broad smile, directing the labial commissure out and back
- Tighten the teeth as tightly as possible (Cutaneous neck, triangular lips)
- Wrinkle chin
It is characterized by an increase in voluntary movements and absence of synkinesis. They will be performed as follows: Symmetrical active facial movements, emphasizing the patient not to perform uncoordinated movements bilaterally, in order to avoid distorted movements of the affected side, since this places him/her in a less optimal function with respect to the healthy side. If the patient does not show signs suggestive of synkinesia, indicate resistance exercises: manual resistance is applied in the opposite direction to the desired movements with isolated facial movements, without causing mass movements or synkinesia. To make sounds pronouncing consonants and vowels in isolation, and words that favor the orbicularis muscle of the lips.
It is characterized by the appearance of abnormal and anarchic movements, the responsible muscles should be placed immediately in a position of sustained stretching to inhibit them. The muscles prone to synkinesis are orbicularis.
Percussions will be performed on affected hemifacial and Jacobson’s relaxation exercises, which consist of a sustained contraction of three to five seconds, followed by complete relaxation applied to specific facial muscles.
Lip Twitching Superstition
In world we live, there are millions of beliefs, and the superstitions of our body and daily life are framed within these beliefs. Although many people do not take them seriously, many others take them as real omens that need attention and, in some cases, even do the action that counteracts a bad omen, or upgrade something good.
According to the believers in superstitions, the human body is an entire encyclopedia of warnings and premonitions. Regarding the superstitions of the face area, if we ask a doctor, he will tell us that these are involuntary muscle contractions, or everyday biological phenomena. But if we consult with those who believe in superstitions, they will warn us of messages that come to us to predict our immediate future. According the superstitions, for example, if our lips sting, we should be happy, because it means that someone will kiss us that day. There are a lot of different superstitions related to lip twitching, some of them associated to upper lip spasm, some of them to lower lip spasm. According to certain superstitions, left side of lip tremors means that something bad is going to happen. If right side of lip twitches, something good is close to happen. A suddenly unexpectedly lip twitching advise us of an embarrassing public event.
How to deal with lip twitching?
Although lip twitching is often overlooked as “something normal”, it is essential to get to the root cause, in order to have a proper treatment. When we appreciate an increase in the frequency of the lip contraction, it is necessary to request immediate medical intervention, for an accurate diagnosis. Here are some preventive measures to reduce or stop the appearance of sudden lip twitching:
- Proper care of our physical and mental condition
- Reduce or avoid the intake of alcoholic drinks, or drinks with caffeine
- Place a warm damp cloth on the surface of the lip where spasms occur
- Reduce fatigue and stress by practicing relaxing exercises like yoga
- Eat a well-balanced diet, which includes foods rich in potassium, such as bananas, watermelon, and other fruits and vegetables.
Although lip twitching may not be a cause for concern, it can sometimes be a sign of some serious health problems. If our lips have persistent contractions, it is advisable to consult a medicine professional, who can diagnose the exact cause of this condition, in order to administer the appropriate treatment.