Tongue Spasm

Tongue Spasm

Tongue Spasm
Tongue spasm is an informal name for a condition that doctors call lingual dystonia. Lingual means tongue, while dystonia is a medical term for a disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions, or spasms. Often a tongue spasm is a symptom of another condition or a side effect of medications, so it's important to let your doctor know if you experience it. Learn more about tongue spasms with expert advice from Sharecare.

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    Tongue spasms are a form of dystonia, a condition that can affect people of all ages. Aging can affect the way a person responds to medication. Over time dystonia may cause painful inflammation in the muscles that experience spasm, including those in the mouth.
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    Dystonia and Meige's syndrome are two disorders in which people may experience tongue spasm as a symptom. Both disorders result in involuntary contractions of the muscles, which may affect the muscles in the face or mouth. Treatment options can help to manage symptoms of the disorders.

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    Surgery is not always necessary to treat tongue spasm, a condition in which the tongue often moves rapidly in different directions. Treatments also include anti-seizure medications or injections with botulinum toxin (commonly called Botox). If these treatments don’t bring relief, you may be referred for surgery, especially if there is evidence that something is pressing against a nerve in your tongue. 
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    Several medications are used to treat tongue spasm. Botulinum toxin (Botox) is often used to paralyze muscles that cause tongue spasm. Other medications that doctors use for tongue spasm include light sedatives, such as clonazepam, or baclofen. Talk to your doctor about medications that are used for tongue spasm.

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    Depending on the cause of the tongue spasm, some people with tongue spasm experience other symptoms as well. Sometimes people with tongue spasm also blink their eyes involuntarily. They may also thrust their shoulders or purse their lips. Talk to your doctor if you have any of these symptoms in addition to tongue spasm. Your doctor can help you find the best treatment for your condition.

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    Because a tongue spasm can have many causes, it's hard to say if it will go away. Tongue spasms often gets better or goes away for short or even long periods, but for most people, it never really disappears for good.
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    To prepare for your appointment, make a list of important questions to ask your doctor. You might want to ask about treatments that are available to you and get referrals for some specialists, such as a physical therapist or a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in brain disorders. You may also want to bring a friend to help you remember what to ask and to help keep track of your doctor's answers.

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    Tongue spasm, or twitching and convulsions of the tongue can be inherited, but is usually a side effect of certain medications and medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy. If you are taking medications that are causing tongue spasm, ask your doctor about switching to another medication.
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    Tongue spasm can be caused by other illnesses. Some examples of illnesses that can cause tongue spasm include multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy. Stroke is another common cause of tongue spasm.

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    Depending on the cause of your tongue spasm, the condition can be serious. In some cases, tongue spasm may be caused by a more serious underlying disorder. See your doctor if you have tongue spasm.

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