What is Myokymia?
Myokymia may be defined as a condition which is characterized by an involuntary and spontaneous movement of the muscles caused due to its contraction. It also involves the quivering of the muscles involved without being able to cause the movement of the joints. Schultze was the first to give a definite shape to the myokymia definition by using it to describe a condition of slow, continuous and undulating contraction of the muscles of the eye lids, face, feet and hand.
Picture 1 – Eyeball Structure
Source – kingswayoptometry
As a matter of fact, myokymia can occur in any muscular part of the body and is usually used to describe the contraction of the lower eyelid muscles, a condition specifically known as eyelid myokymia. It is related to eye twitching and can affect any person at any point of time and may disappear suddenly. Myokymia in the eye as well in other parts of the body is usually harmless and does not cause any such illness and therefore is known also known as benign eyelid myokymia.
Other Types of Myokymia
However, myokymia may occur in particular region or may affect the body generally depending on the etiology of the disease. On the basis of the same, it can be divided into several other different types, namely, facial myokymia, orbicularis myokymia, oblique myokymia, ocular myokymia, and superior oblique myokymia. Among these, eyelid myokymia and facial myokymia are the most common types. Myokymia in other body parts besides the eyes and the face is supposed to be caused by neuromyotonia, which is characterized by the discharge of myokymic discharge. This myokymic discharge triggers the activity of nerve fibers to stimulate the occurrence and the worsening of the skin lesions.
The most common signs and symptoms of myokymia are pain in the affected area, cramps caused due to the contraction of muscles, twitching of the eyes, a feeling of fatigue and feebleness, the stiffness of some of the body parts, and the occurrence of intense spasms. Intense spasms and light twitches can be a sign of myokymia multiple sclerosis. However on a very general scale, myokymia is itself considered to be a symptom of neurological or locomotive problems.
Myokymia is caused due to a number of reasons. Some of the most discernable causes are high levels of intoxication and anxiety caused due the over intake of alcohol and caffeine, fatigue, over stress owing to extreme hard work and lack of rest triggering insomnia. Besides these, the use of certain drugs and steroids may also be instrumental in causing myokymia.
Myokymia may be detected by a number of basic lab tests such as rheumatology screening, Venereal Disease Research Laboratory Test, CT scan, MRI, Nerve Conduction Velocity and several other tests concerning the blood count, sedimentation rate, etc.
Usually the disease heals naturally, yet in severe cases of myokymia, a combination of treatment is prescribed by doctors. In case of eyelid myokymia treatment, a clean cloth soaked in warm water is applied to the eyes to relieve and relax muscle contraction. Along with the warm water, antihistamines are prescribed to reduce myokymic swellings caused due to allergic reactions and high exposure to visual forms of entertainment and recreation such as TVs, computers, etc is discouraged.
Medicines such as carbamazepine and phenytoin are mostly prescribed to get relief from myokymia characterized by the symptoms of the Isaacs syndrome. It basically provides relief from cramps and pain associated with this disease. Besides, one must also monitor the intake of alcohol and caffeine so as to prevent the derailment of the healing procedure and worsening of the disease. Injections such as BOTOX are also used to provide relief from the painful effects of myokymia.
However, the best treatment for any disease including myokymia is maintenance of proper hygiene and to engage in exercises especially isometric ones to keep the muscles in motion and relieve oneself from the pain caused due to muscle contraction. Regular exercises help one to keep healthy and hearty by reducing the possibility of the occurrence of any disease.
Written by akshay
on December 14th, 2010. The article was last updated on September 3rd, 2011