Tongue Tingly, Numb, Itchy, Twitching Symptoms

Written by Jim Folk
Medically reviewed by Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated May 19, 2021

Anxiety tongue symptoms descriptions:

  • Your tongue might feel unusually tingly or tingling.
  • Your tongue might feel like it is stretched or being stretched.
  • Your tongue might also feel like it is numb, frozen, or like it has been anesthetized.
  • Your tongue might also feel like it is itching or itchy.
  • Your tongue might also feel like it is crawling or has a crawly feeling inside.
  • Your tongue can also feel like it is twitching, jumping, vibrating, or tremoring.
  • Your tongue can also feel like it is aching or hurting.
  • Your tongue can also feel like it is swollen or larger than normal even though it actually isn’t.

These tongue symptoms may be the same types of sensation over and over again, or they may change from one type of feeling to another.

These tongue symptoms can affect one area of the tongue only, can shift and affect another area or areas, and can migrate all over the tongue and affect many areas over and over again.

These tongue symptoms can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may feel a tongue symptom once and a while and not that often, feel it off and on, or feel it all the time.

These tongue symptoms may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.

These tongue symptoms can precede, accompany, or follow an episode of nervousness, anxiety, fear, and elevated stress, or occur ‘out of the blue’ and for no apparent reason.

These tongue symptoms can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. It can also come in waves, where it’s strong one moment and eases off the next.

These tongue symptoms can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.

These tongue symptoms can seem more pronounced and disconcerting when undistracted, when resting or relaxing, when trying to go to sleep, or when first waking up.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

These tongue symptoms don’t appear to be related to the foods you eat or the activity you undertake.

---------- Advertisement - Article Continues Below ----------

---------- Advertisement Ends ----------

Why can anxiety cause tongue symptoms?

The tongue is primarily made up of muscle (covered by a mucous membrane), nerve cells, taste buds (sensory organs), blood vessels, and skin.

Tongue symptoms are very common symptoms of stress, including the stress caused by being anxious, which activates the stress response, or when the body has become overly stressed, such as from behaving overly anxiously or from any other source of persistent stress.

As with other parts of the body, stress changes how the body functions. Some of those changes affect how the body’s muscles act (stress can cause muscles to tense, tighten, twitch, and spasm), how nerve cells function (nerve cells can misreport sensations and stimuli), how the brain functions (the brain can misinterpret nerve messages), and blood flow (blood flow is restricted in some parts of the body and increased in others), to name a few.

Because of the many changes that can occur due to stress, including the stress caused by being anxious, the tongue can produce a wide range of odd sensations, too, including the many listed above.

While unusual, stress-caused tongue symptoms aren’t harmful. They are simply another indication that the body is under persistently elevated stress.

---------- Advertisement - Article Continues Below ----------

---------- Advertisement Ends ----------

How to get rid of anxiety caused tongue symptoms?

Since the tongue symptoms can result from an active stress response and/or persistently elevated stress, calming yourself down, which will end an active stress response, and reducing the body’s stress overall will eliminate these types of tongue symptoms. But when the body becomes overly stressed, it may take a lot longer to reduce the body’s stress than you realize. Faithfully working at reducing your body’s stress and being patient will allow our body to recover from its overly stressed state. As it recovers, you should see these types of tongue symptoms subside.

Unfortunately, there are NO quick-fix cures for anxiety caused tongue symptoms when the body has become overly stressed. Eliminating them requires eliminating your body’s overly stressed state. But as with all sensations and symptoms of stress (including the stress caused by being anxious), anxiety caused tongue symptoms fully disappear when the active stress response has ended and the body has had sufficient time to recover, and/or when the body’s overly stressed state has been eliminated and the body has had sufficient time to recover. Because these tongue symptoms are caused by stress, they are harmless and needn’t be a cause for concern.

Because worrying, fretting, and becoming emotionally upset about stress-caused sensations and symptoms also stress the body, these types of behaviors can interfere with the recovery process, and ultimately, the elimination of stress-caused sensations and symptoms. Passively accepting your tongue symptoms in the short-term - allowing them to persist without reacting to, resisting, worrying about, or fighting against - while faithfully reducing your stress will bring about success.

The Recovery Support area of our website has a more detailed explanation about anxiety, how it affects the body, the stress response, anxiety sensations and symptoms, why anxiety sensations and symptoms can persist and even long after stress has been reduced, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources

Return to our anxiety disorders signs and symptoms page. Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including Tingly tongue, stretched tongue, numb tongue, frozen tongue, itchy tongue, crawly tongue, burning tongue, twitching tongue, tongue soreness, jumpy tongue, aching tongue, or swollen tongue (when it isn’t).