What Causes Lip Twitching?

Sarah Sullins
Sarah Sullins
Withdrawal from alcohol and cigarettes can cause lip twitching.
Withdrawal from alcohol and cigarettes can cause lip twitching.

Lip twitching is caused by involuntary, sudden muscle contractions in or around the lips. These contractions can be caused by irritants that affect the nerves in the lips or may be stress induced. Injuries to the nerves can also result in twitching, and at times, the nerves in the face do not work the way they are supposed to and will cause the muscles in the lips to contract.

Consuming an excess amount of caffeine, such as coffee, can also trigger lip twitching.
Consuming an excess amount of caffeine, such as coffee, can also trigger lip twitching.

When a lip twitches, the muscles in or around the area contract, making the lip feel like it is quivering. If the twitching is fast, the lip may not appear to be twitching to observers, but it may still be felt. Some conditions make the contractions more noticeable to others and may be accompanied by other symptoms.

Withdrawal from substances such as alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes can cause a person to experience lip twitching. Substances that contain stimulating products, like sodas, coffee, chocolate, and caffeine pills, can produce muscle contractions if they are taken in excess.

Emotions can often trigger lip muscle contractions. People sometimes experience this when they have strong feelings of anger, fear, joy, or amusement. It can also occur with extreme fatigue, as well as stress and anxiety.

Lip twitching may be the result of extreme fatigue.
Lip twitching may be the result of extreme fatigue.

Essential tremors may also cause twitching, as can hysterical tremors. In general, these types of tremors affect not only the lips, but other areas of the body as well. An essential tremor is most often caused by stress, while hysterical ones occur when a person uses too many drugs or consumes too much alcohol.

Sometimes, a medical condition can contribute to the development of lip twitching. Bell’s palsy is a condition that affects the nerves in the face and will often lead to twitches. With this condition, other symptoms may also be present like facial swelling, difficulty speaking, and a droopy face. Another problem that may produce muscle contractions is a lack of potassium in a person’s diet.

Lip twitching can occur due to extreme fatigue, as well as stress and anxiety.
Lip twitching can occur due to extreme fatigue, as well as stress and anxiety.

A twitching lip may only be an annoying side effect that some people have to deal with, but at times it may be a symptom of a much larger issue. When these contractions occur regularly and are a constant problem, it may be an indication of a medical issue that must be treated by a professional. A persistent twitch may be caused by hypoparathyroidism, Tourette’s syndrome, DiGeorge syndrome, or even Parkinson’s disease. In these cases, the twitching may be only one of a number of symptoms.

Why Is My Upper Lip Twitching?

A true panic attack can cause physical symptoms, including twitching and shooting pains.
A true panic attack can cause physical symptoms, including twitching and shooting pains.

Persistent lip twitching can be annoying, but it’s often an indication that something is wrong. Any involuntary twitching of particular muscles usually has an underlying cause. Once you determine the underlying cause, you can potentially take action to stop the twitching (which is your ultimate goal).

There are a lot of muscles in the body that can begin twitching for different underlying reasons. If your twitching is primarily limited to your upper lip, you may be wondering what that means. While there is no cut-and-dry answer to the precise reason why peoples’ upper lips sometimes twitch, here are some possible underlying reasons for the annoying sensation.

Stress

Stress gets a bad rap, but it has immense power to mess with the body’s proper function and cause a variety of neurological symptoms (such as lip twitching or other muscle twitching). If you feel like your upper lip twitching began after a period of intense or prolonged stress, it may be time to make lifestyle changes to reduce the amount of stress you feel in your life.

Lack of Sleep

If you aren’t getting sufficient sleep, your body will eventually send you signals to let you know it needs more rest. One of these signals may be increased twitching of your upper lip. So if you’re wondering “Why is my upper lip twitching?” lack of sleep may be the culprit.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a tricky condition because it can cause a wide variety of symptoms that mimic other problems. You may have anxiety if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Intense fear
  • Panic attacks
  • A racing heart
  • Muscle tension
  • Obsessive thinking
  • Excessive worry
  • Avoidance of triggers
  • Hot and cold flushes

Anxiety is more common than you may think, and it can cause muscle twitching which can lead to even more anxiety. The cycle can continue like this until you receive help for your underlying anxiety disorder.

Electrolyte Imbalance

Electrolytes are essential minerals your body requires to function properly. Potassium, sodium and chloride are significant electrolytes, but you also have phosphate, calcium, magnesium and bicarbonates that are also important electrolytes. If any of these become imbalanced, they can wreak havoc in your body. Problems with muscle contraction (including muscle twitching) can often be linked to an imbalance in electrolytes.

Why Is My Bottom Lip Twitching?

If your top lip seems to behave itself but your bottom lip seems to have a mind of its own, you may find yourself wondering, “Why is my bottom lip twitching?” The potential reasons for bottom lip twitching can include some of the same causes for upper lip twitching. But in addition to those causes, here are some additional reasons your lower lip may be twitching.

Substance Abuse

Abusing drugs or alcohol can cause your lower lip to twitch. There are many reasons to avoid these types of substances or at least cut back on their usage. You may find that doing so relieves your lower lip twitches.

Hormonal Deficiency

Hormonal deficiencies can occur in people of any age, though they’re more prevalent in older individuals. Hormonal conditions such as hyperparathyroidism can cause muscle twitching—including lower lip twitching—in some people.

Hemifacial Spasm

A hemifacial spasm is a muscle spasm that only occurs on one side of the face. If you notice that only one side of your lower lip twitches while the other remains still, you may be dealing with the effects of a hemifacial spasm.

How To Stop Lip Twitching

Now that you know what may be causing your lip twitching issues, it’s time to talk about how to stop lip twitching. Here are a few steps you may want to try.

Hold the Twitching Area Between Your Fingers

Sometimes all it takes to stop your upper or lower lip from twitching is holding the affected area firmly between your fingers until the twitching stops. You may need to continue this action multiple times throughout the day if the twitching keeps returning.

Minimize Your Stress

Stress is not your friend, and it can cause a lot of physical and psychological issues. If stress is the culprit behind your lip twitching, you would do well to minimize it. You may need to quit a high-stress job for one that’s more reasonable, or you may be able to manage your stress by getting regular massages and meditating daily.

Make Sure You’re Hydrated

Dehydration can lead to electrolyte imbalance, which can cause muscle twitching. Make sure you’re properly hydrated and that you’re getting sufficient electrolyte intake when you sweat a lot (such as during workouts or a particularly active shift at work).

Get Sufficient Sleep

If your lip twitching is happening because you’re sleep-deprived, do whatever it takes to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep.

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Discussion Comments

anon993440

My bottom lip twitched and stopped, then the side of my nose started. Any ideas?

anon992911

I have a weird twitch that I can't find any information about online. If I look all the way to the right with just my eyes, then quickly look left (not moving my head at all) the top left part of my lip twitches for a second. It's not any inconvenience or anything; it's just strange, plus I can't find any information about it. I'm curious, does anyone share this phenomenon, or at least have any idea what is causing it?

anon337740

Hyperparathyroidism: something you would never, ever even think about!

Oceana

@ysmina – I think that stress is one of the most common lip twitching causes. I had extreme lip twitching while going through a really rough period in my life.

My dog died, and right after that, my best friend at work left. I felt friendless and abandoned, and I had to take on a lot more responsibility while training the new guy. I had never had so much sadness and stress heaped upon me all at once, and my body reacted in strange ways.

My eyes, nose, and lips started twitching, and they continued to do this all day long. I could feel the corners of my mouth twitching downward, and this reflected the perpetual frown I wore on the inside.

I could not stop it, and that was so frustrating. The twitching bothered me, but until I got through the period of extreme grief and the new guy began to share my workload, it continued.

seag47

One of my coworkers had Bell's palsy, and she had lip spasms that ranged from severe to light twitches. One whole side of her face drooped, and it took over a month for her to regain the use of the right side of her face.

Perdido

Twitching muscles are so annoying! However, sometimes the cure is as simple as eating a banana every day.

If your twitching is caused by a poor diet or a lack of potassium in your diet, a daily banana can do wonders for you. I eat one with breakfast each morning, and I no longer have lip twitches or muscle cramps.

fBoyle

What are the causes for muscular twitching? Is it usually nerve related or emotional? Are muscle relaxants a good treatment for this?

serenesurface

@ysmina-- Maybe that's what I need to do. I didn't see a psychiatrist, just my family practitioner who didn't help at all. It's supposed to go away on it's own but the twitching is getting worse. I guess it doesn't help to think about the twitching either.

ysmina

@Mor-- Absolutely. I've recently started experiencing involuntary bottom lip twitching. I went to a psychiatrist who diagnosed it as resulting from stress and anxiety and prescribed anxiety medication for me.

Until this, I never realized how connected our mind and bodies are. I used to always think of them as separate systems working in different ways but that's not true. Our mind's experiences get reflected on our body as well. When we're stressed, worried or sad, it's not just our psychology that suffers. Our body--our organs and systems-- suffer as well.

I'm doing a lot better now. The medication helped and I'm trying not to think too much and I take time out to rest and relax. My lip twitching is almost gone.

pleonasm

@Mor - I only really get lip twitches when I'm talking too much during the day. I sometimes use one of those programs that will copy your voice down as typed words rather than using my hands as they can get sore when I type too much.

But, I discovered that your throat and lips can get just as sore if you are using them all the time.

And afterwards my lips often twitch, I guess because they are too fatigued. I get the same thing with my arms when I use them too much during the day and they get shaky until I rest them.

Mor

It's funny how the body will twitch involuntarily for different reasons. It kind of makes you realize how complex it is and how, even if you feel like you have complete control of yourself, you don't really. You only have as much control as your body will let you.

My least favorite kind of twitching is that kind that's known as a hypnic jerk. That's when you are sort of falling asleep and half dreaming and suddenly you feel like you're falling a jerk awake with a shock.

That involves the whole body, not just the lips. It seems to happen more often when I'm tired, as does other kinds of twitching like around the lips and the eyes. I really don't like it, because it seems to make it more difficult to get to sleep, even when sleep is the thing that will cure it.

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    • Withdrawal from alcohol and cigarettes can cause lip twitching.
      By: dimasobko
      Withdrawal from alcohol and cigarettes can cause lip twitching.
    • Consuming an excess amount of caffeine, such as coffee, can also trigger lip twitching.
      By: volff
      Consuming an excess amount of caffeine, such as coffee, can also trigger lip twitching.
    • Lip twitching may be the result of extreme fatigue.
      By: codrin
      Lip twitching may be the result of extreme fatigue.
    • Lip twitching can occur due to extreme fatigue, as well as stress and anxiety.
      By: Minerva Studio
      Lip twitching can occur due to extreme fatigue, as well as stress and anxiety.
    • A true panic attack can cause physical symptoms, including twitching and shooting pains.
      By: nadezhda1906
      A true panic attack can cause physical symptoms, including twitching and shooting pains.