Myoclonus: All About It

Myoclonus is a type of involuntary muscle movement which can be caused by different types of medical conditions. The symptoms of myoclonus can range from small and localized muscle twitches to sudden and larger movement of body parts. The cause of myoclonus can either be physiological, like brain damage or drugs, or genetic.

Common Causes of Myoclonus

  • Brain Damage - Damage to the brain caused by stroke, tumor, or traumatic injury can lead to myoclonus.
  • Drugs - Many medications, including antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants, can cause myoclonus.
  • Genetic Disorders - Different genetic disorders that affect the brain can cause myoclonus.
  • Metabolic Disorders - Kidney and liver failure or other metabolic disorders that disrupt an individual’s normal chemistry can cause myoclonus.
  • Infectious Diseases - Viral, fungal, or bacterial infection can cause myoclonus.

Signs and Symptoms of Myoclonus

Myoclonus can be mild or severe, and affects the face, body, and limbs. Common signs and symptoms of myoclonus include:

  • Involuntary jerking of arms or legs
  • Body shaking
  • Muscle twitching
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Facial grimacing or spasms

Diagnosis and Treatment of Myoclonus

Myoclonus is often diagnosed by physical examination and review of medical history. Tests such as imaging scans, electroencephalogram(EEG), and electromyography (EMG), may be conducted to further confirm the diagnosis. Treatment of myoclonus depends on the underlying cause. Common treatments include medications, physical and occupational therapy, and Botulinum toxin injection.

Prevention of Myoclonus

To reduce the risk of myoclonus, it is important to ensure the following:

  • Eat a healthy diet and maintain proper nutrition.
  • Take medications only under the supervision of a healthcare provider.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Manage stress levels.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs.