Lip Twitching: What it Means and How to Treat it Effectively at Home

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Lip twitching can cause annoying tics or slight muscle spasms around your mouth that can be difficult to control. Although most causes of a twitching lip are harmless, the twitching on the left side or right side of your lip, or your upper or lower lip can be a source of embarrassment. Usually, stress, tiredness, a nutrient deficiency, or excessive caffeine intake are to blame for lip twitching. In some cases, a lip that twitches constantly can be a sign of a more serious neurological condition if it is accompanied by other symptoms.

Very often, lip twitching resolves itself on its own within a few minutes or days. Treating occasional or recurring lip twitching is usually a case of addressing the underlying causes. This usually involves relieving stress, getting proper rest, and eating a healthy diet. In some cases, chronic twitching of the lips or an incessant tremors require medical attention to check for other symptoms.

In this article, you will learn what causes lip twitching and what you can do to get rid of the annoying facial tics or tremors around your mouth.

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What are Lip Twitches?

Lip twitching is caused by small muscle contractions around the mouth and lips. According to MedlinePlus, most muscle twitches are minor and even normal.1

Dr. Neil Lava on WebMD says that twitches are symptoms of spasm-like movements of certain muscles. Muscle twitches are also called tics or tremors. Dr. Lava says that most twitching of the muscles, including facial muscles, are harmless and temporary. Usually, lifestyle changes help to manage and treat twitching disorders.2

Sometimes, lip twitching may be accompanied by other symptoms. For example, twitching of the left eye or right eye can also accompany lip trembling on one side of your mouth if the condition is caused by a hemifacial spasm.

Causes of Lip Twitching

First, let’s look at the common causes of upper or lower lip twitching and what can be to blame for occasional muscle spasms around your lips. You will also find out about the more serious causes of why lips can twitch constantly or develop a facial tic that you can’t get rid of.

Stress

Stress can cause facial muscles and nerves to tighten and cause twitching around your upper or lower lips. It is known that stress can cause a wide range of health issues and facial tics and twitching is just one effect.

The journal Movement Disorders found a link between levels of stress and conditions that cause facial muscle spasms. Researchers found that stress and anxiety aggravate facial spasms and lowering levels of anxiety can help to reduce twitching in the facial muscles.3

A study published in Australia found that facial twitching was worse in people who were under high levels of emotional or psychological stress. Stress was directly related to a worsening of facial twitching conditions.4

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Fatigue

Feeling extremely tired can also be another factor that is connected with causing your lips to quiver momentarily. Fatigue interferes with how the muscles and nerves in the face and other areas of your body interact and can result in spasms, tics, and minor tremors.

Research published by the UW Medicine Clinic showed that twitching was more common in patients when they were fatigued. In some cases, this muscle twitching resulted in an aching sensation around the affected area.5

Excessive caffeine intake

Involuntary facial movements around your mouth can sometimes be due to consuming too many caffeinated products. Drinking too much coffee or energy drinks can affect your central nervous system and cause your muscles to twitch.

According to Dr. Weil, large amounts of caffeine in the body can cause twitching and other unpleasant side effects. Usually, twitching will go away when you reduce your caffeine intake or cut it out altogether.6

According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, you shouldn’t consume more than 4 cups of regular coffee a day (or the equivalent in other caffeinated drinks).7 For some great alternatives to drinking coffee, please read my article on how to make your own delicious detox flavored water drinks.

Alcohol or drug withdrawal

Facial tics involving your mouth and lip muscles are sometimes experienced by people when they give up alcohol or addictive drugs.

The National Institutes of Health reports that muscle tremors are frequently experienced with alcohol withdrawal. This is called enhanced physiological tremor and can affect any muscle in the body. Usually, once the cause is corrected, the tremors and twitching go away.8

Hemifacial spasm

Sudden muscle contractions in your face that you can’t control and which can affect your lips, mouth, and eye could be caused by a hemifacial spasm. Repetitive twitching and tics can occur on your face, around your lips, or in your eyelids if your facial nerve is damaged or pressed in any way.

According to Patient.info, hemifacial spasms can result in involuntary twitching in both top and bottom lips like you are pouting your lips. Also, you may experience involuntary right eye twitching or left eye twitching. In some cases, the twitching can spread to other parts of your face; however, hemifacial twitching usually only affects one side of the face at a time.9

Potassium deficiency

Sometimes lip twitching is due to a potassium deficiency that causes muscles and nerves to contract involuntarily. Potassium is an important mineral to keep blood healthy and control proper heart function.

Having a lack of potassium in the body has been linked to muscle twitches and spasms. According to researchers from the University of Maryland, potassium plays a role in smooth muscle contraction and muscle function. A lack of potassium can cause muscle cramps in various parts of the body.10

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Side effect of certain medications

Twitching of the lips can be a side effect of taking certain medications. Mouth tremors, tics, and involuntary jerking movements of your lips can happen especially when taking medication for neurological conditions.

According to researchers from Stanford Medicine, some antipsychotic drugs can cause spontaneous, uncontrollable movements of the lips, tongue, and mouth. Usually, any kind of occasional or chronic twitching that is associated with medication resolves itself when the treatment is changed or stopped.

If you have any concerns about the medication you are taking and the possibility that it could be linked with lip twitching, you should talk to your doctor about it.

Serious Causes of Chronic Lip Twitching

The most common reasons why your lip can twitch from time to time are usually harmless and resolve themselves by getting enough rest and making other lifestyle changes. However, there are some more serious conditions that can manifest themselves as small jerking spasms around your lips.

Hypoparathyroidism

Lip twitching might be one of the symptoms of hypoparathyroidism. This is a condition in which your body secretes abnormally low levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH) that regulates and maintains a balance of your body’s calcium and phosphorus.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic report that not having enough parathyroid hormone can cause annoying twitching and muscle spasms around your mouth, arms, hands, and throat.11 There can be several factors that cause hypoparathyroidism and your doctor will take some blood tests to find out the cause.

Bell’s palsy

A chronic and recurrent tremor of the upper lip may happen when a viral infection has damaged your facial nerve. This is a condition called Bell’s palsy and it may also cause a visible droop on one side of your face.

According to doctors from the Mayfield Clinic, Bell’s palsy is sometimes to blame for a hemifacial spasm that causes nerves and muscles in your face to contract in jerking motions.16

If your lips regularly twitch and you notice that one side of your face droops slightly, you should visit your doctor for a checkup. Paralysis in your face can also be one of the signs of a mild stroke.

Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is commonly associated with muscle tremors that affect the hands. However, Parkinson’s disease can also affect the facial muscles and cause slight, noticeable tremors in the face. This happens as levels of dopamine drop in the brain and affect muscle function, control, and movement.

According to the University of Maryland, some of the early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are tremors in the face, arms, legs, difficulty walking and keeping balance, as well as difficulty eating as the disease progresses.15

Of course, occasional lip twitching doesn’t mean that you have a degenerative condition. Usually, Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed by the gradual appearance of many symptoms together.

Tourette’s syndrome

Tourette’s syndrome can cause various tics and twitches in the body and can also be a cause of constant and frequent lip twitching. Tourette’s disorder or syndrome shows up as involuntary muscular jerks or abrupt tics.

Doctors from Johns Hopkins Medicine say that usually mild tics that affect the face and arms appear in children between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. Over time, the tics and twitching can become more pronounced and affect other areas of the body and speech.12

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Essential tremors

Some people’s lips and mouth are affected by essential tremor which causes uncontrollable jerking movements. It is thought that essential tremor is a nerve disorder and may be passed on genetically.

Dr. Deborah Burke from Medscape explains that essential tremor can affect arms or legs and can happen when a person expresses emotion or becomes fatigued. Dr. Burke says that tremors may also affect the lips, face, and jaw. Usually, mild symptoms of essential tremor don’t require any treatment and learning how to reduce anxiety can help prevent mild muscle spasms.13

DiGeorge Syndrome

A chromosomal disorder called DiGeorge syndrome could be to blame for some lip twitching or tremors in some people. It is thought that a missing chromosome causes various symptoms, including muscle spasms. Usually, a blood test can confirm if a person has DiGeorge syndrome.

According to Dr. Lori Smith on Medical News Today, DiGeorge syndrome has many and varied symptoms that may not appear in all cases. However, one of the symptoms of DeGeorge syndrome is arm, throat, hand, or mouth spasms.14

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) can be difficult to detect in its early stages because the symptoms are very mild and varied and can be associated with more common conditions.

However, according to Dr. Charles Patrick Davis on MedicineNet, facial muscle twitching is one of the symptoms that MS suffers complain of in its early stages. Other symptoms are vision problems, memory loss, problems with balance and movement, and speech problems.17

How to Treat Lip Twitching Naturally

In most cases, you can treat lip twitching naturally by making some positive lifestyle changes. These changes to your habits and diet will not only reduce instances of your lips or mouth having small spasms, but they will make you feel better and healthier.

Adopt a healthy lifestyle

Taking care of your body is one of the best ways to prevent and treat lip twitching. Making sure that you enjoy a well-balanced diet will help nourish your body with enough vitamins and minerals to keep your nerves, muscles, and arteries healthy and functioning correctly.

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For example, getting enough sleep is one way to cure lip twitching that is caused by stress, tiredness, and a lack of energy. To help you get a good night’s rest and sleep well, you can try one of the best 12 herbs for insomnia or these essential oils for better sleep. Even having a glass of warm milk and honey before retiring at night has been shown to help improve sleep patterns.

It’s also important to make sure that you eat a varied diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals. For example, some common vitamin deficiencies in Western diets are vitamin B12, iron, omega-3, magnesium, and vitamin D.

Magnesium is essential to allow the body to absorb enough potassium. This can help to treat lip twitching that happens occasionally due to a potassium deficiency. Including plenty of leafy green vegetables as well as beans and lentils in your diet is a great way to address a potassium deficiency naturally.

Reduce stimulants

If you find that lip twitching has become an annoying condition that causes embarrassment, you should cut out or limit the amount of coffee or caffeinated drinks that you consume. You may find that after a few days your lip twitching has gone away and you are no longer bothered by these irritating muscle spasms in your mouth.

However, you may not need to completely stop drinking coffee. There is some research that 2 cups of coffee can have a positive effect on the liver.

Limit alcohol intake

Alcohol can have both stimulating effect and depressing effect on your mind, and alcohol can stay in your body for longer than you think. If you are a heavy drinker and you decide to quit alcohol, you may find that hand or facial tremors occur in the first few days. However, these will pass and limiting alcohol intake to safe levels has many health benefits.

Reduce stress

There are many natural ways to cope with stress naturally which will reduce stress-induced lip twitching. For example, consuming more ginger daily in your diet can help calm your body as well as boost your digestive system. Also, herbs like chamomile, St. Johns’ Wort, lavender, and various essential oils all have stress-relieving properties.

Also, meditation and yoga exercises have been found to help reduce anxiety and stress.

Therapy to reduce chronic lip twitching

If you have chronic lip twitching, and trying to relax and reduce your intake of stimulants haven’t helped, your doctor may recommend therapy to reduce lip spasms and tics.

According to doctors from the National Health Service, behavioral therapy can help treat tics and facial twitching. With the help of a therapists, you can learn to manage the uncontrollable jerking movements in your lips, facial muscles, and other places where twitching happens.18

When to See a Doctor

Most cases of lip twitching are harmless and the involuntary twitching resolves on its own. Some people are more prone to stress and other factors that could mean that they suffer twitching around the mouth more frequently.

However, in some cases, lip and facial twitching that doesn’t go away or becomes chronic may need to be referred to a doctor. If lip twitching is accompanied by other symptoms like general muscle weakness, one side of your face droops, or you have vision or other neurological problems, then you should visit your doctor for a checkup.

Read my other related articles:

Article Sources:

  1. MedlinePlus. Muscle twitching.
  2. WebMD. Tic disorders and twitches.
  3. Mov Disord.2006 Dec;21(12):2145-9.
  4. Aust N Z J Ophthalmol.1998 May;26(2):123-8.
  5. UWMedicine. Hemifacial spasm.
  6. DrWeil. Tormented by twitching?
  7. MayoClinic. Caffeine: How much is too much?
  8. NIH. Tremor fact sheet.
  9. PatientInfo. Hemifacial spasm.
  10. UMM. Potassium.
  11. MayoClinic. Hypoparathyroidism.
  12. HopkinsMedicine. Tourette’s syndrome.
  13. Medscape. Essential tremor.
  14. MedicalNewsToday. DiGeorge syndrome.
  15. UMM. Parkinson’s disease.
  16. Mayfieldclinic. Hemifacial spasm.
  17. MedicienNet. Early multiple sclerosis (MS) signs and symptoms
  18. NHS. Tics.
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