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Muscle twitching is a common occurrence that can happen hundreds of times a day as muscles respond to increased workloads, irregular levels of electrolytes like potassium, sodium and calcium or during prolonged periods of inactivity. Most of the time, we don't even notice these twitches and they will disappear as quickly as they came. Occasionally, we will notice and feel them but they will resolve after a few hours. They are not considered to be medical emergencies and doctors will not be able to determine what caused these types of twitches with ease. 

Muscle twitching may be one thing, but when those twitches are located on your face, they become more noticeable without a doubt. These are no simple muscle twitches but hemi-facial spasms (HFS) that can be quite bothersome. This is a condition characterized by involuntary, unilateral, intermittent and irregular muscle contractions caused by the facial nerve on the same side of the twitching. 

HFS is relatively common in the population and is generally seen in patients around the age of 50. Unlike simple muscle twitches, these hemifacial spasms will last on average 11 years and are more likely to be seen on the left side of the face (56 percent of the time). The most common site of involvement is around your lower eyelid and then eventually spreading to your cheeks are around your lips. The most noticeable effects of this irregular and sporadic muscle twitching were difficulty with vision and embarrassment in social situations. 

Now that we know what to expect, the next logical question would be what causes this in the first place. Studies indicate that underlying nerve disorders like trigeminal neuralgia (the nerve innervating the cheek) was responsible only 5 percent of the time and also nerve inflammation from previous cases of Bell's palsy was noted in only 5.6 percent of patients. Other likely suspects like vascular blockages, facial nerve trauma or even tumors were also reasons for a few of the cases but the vast majority of cases had no definable etiology at all. Physicians feel there could be a genetic component responsible that we have yet to define. One theory postulated was dealing with GABA channels, neuron signalers responsible for down-regulating receptors but that has yet to be proven.  

To treat these symptoms, a treatment that has worked amazingly would be to paralyze the muscles around the face. A routine treatment that can accomplish this quite easily is using Botox. Botox is designed to be a "nerve-toxin" that prevents the muscle from twitching repeatedly. As you may know, this is why people turn to this treatment to stop the process of wrinkles. If you cannot move your face, it is impossible to create creases on the surface of the skin. In a study looking at 110 patients suffering from HFS, 95 percent of participants reported significant improvement in their symptoms after the use of Botox. 

If the etiology of your HFS is from microvascular compression, the only treatment available to you would be undergoing a simple out-patient procedure surgery to prevent the nerves from continuing to be compressed. 

All in all, this is a very treatable condition that is almost completely benign in nature. If you can deal with the twitching, you do not need to get treatment but if becomes too bothersome, simple treatment options are available.  [1]

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