“All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 30 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

Muscle Twitching Anxiety Symptoms

Jim Folk author
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated: February 21, 2020

Muscle Twitching Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety Muscle Twitching description:

A certain muscle, group, or groups of muscles twitch (jerk) involuntarily. Even if you try and relax the muscle, group, or groups of muscles the twitching continues.

It may involve one particular muscle or group of muscles, or may randomly shift from one group to another. It also may include several different muscles or groups of muscles at one time.

The twitching may appear for a few brief moments, last for minutes or hours, or persist for days, weeks, or indefinitely. It’s also common for muscle twitching to persist or worsen when trying to rest or go to sleep. Muscle twitching also may stop when resting or sleeping then resume upon waking up.

Many notice that the twitching gets worse as stress elevates, but not necessarily lessens right away when stress is reduced.

All variations and combinations of the above are common.

The terms “nervous tick” and “nervous twitch” are often used to describe muscle twitching due to elevated stress and anxiety.

This symptom can affect ANY muscle or group of muscles in the body, including those in the head, face, eyes, mouth, neck, shoulders, back, chest, abdomen, stomach, esophagus, groin, genitalia, arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, etc.

This symptom is also associated with anxiety disorder muscle twitching, muscle twitching pins and needles, muscle twitching and pain, muscle twitching and weakness, muscle twitching and tingling, and muscle twitching and stress, to name a few.

What causes anxiety muscle twitching?

Behaving apprehensively stresses the body. A body that becomes overly stressed (stress-response hyperstimulated) can cause the nervous system to behave erratically, which can cause nerve impulses to fire erratically.[1][2] Since nerve impulses control muscles, an erratically behaving nervous system can cause muscles to twitch. As long as the nervous system is even slightly overly stressed, it can cause erratic muscle twitching.

We have a more complete explanation in the Recovery Support area of our website.

How can I eliminate anxiety caused muscle twitching?

Since this symptom is caused by stress and how it affects the body, reducing your body’s stress is the best way to eliminate anxiety and stress caused muscle twitching. As your body’s stress diminishes, this symptom should diminish and eventually disappear.

Keep in mind, however, that it may take some time before your body’s overly stressed state is completely resolved. Reducing a body’s stress often takes much longer than most people think.

Nevertheless, when the body has fully recovered from stress-response hyperstimulation, anxiety caused muscle twitching will completely subside.

You can speed up the recovery process by reducing your stress, practicing relaxed breathing, increasing your rest and relaxation, and not worrying about the muscle twitching. Sure, muscle twitching can be annoying. But again, when your body has fully recovered from its overly stressed state, this symptom will completely disappear.

Play the clip below for Jim Folk's commentary about the anxiety symptom muscle twitching. Jim Folk is the president of anxietycentre.com.

Muscle twitching is a common symptom of elevated stress, including the stress anxiety can cause. Jim Folk experienced muscle twitching to a severe degree during his 12 year struggle with anxiety disorder.

For a more detailed explanation about anxiety symptoms including muscle twitching, why symptoms can persist long after the stress response has ended, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, we have a great deal of information about this in the Recovery Support area of our website.

Also keep in mind, containing your anxious behavior is also required so that your body isn’t being overly stressed. We explain containment and the importance of it in Chapter 6 in the Recovery Support area.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources:

Return to Anxiety Disorders Symptoms section.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and coaching/counseling/therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including the anxiety symptom muscle twitching.


1. Hannibal, Kara E., and Mark D. Bishop. “Chronic Stress, Cortisol Dysfunction, and Pain: A Psychoneuroendocrine Rationale for Stress Management in Pain Rehabilitation.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2014.

2. Justice, Nicholas J., et al. “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder-Like Induction Elevates β-Amyloid Levels, Which Directly Activates Corticotropin-Releasing Factor Neurons to Exacerbate Stress Responses.” Journal of Neuroscience, Society for Neuroscience, 11 Feb. 2015.