Neck twitching - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-19-2007, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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Neck twitching

Whenever I'm in public, my social anxiety gives me surges of strange sensations through my neck that make it want to twitch and spasm. Also, I feel pressure in my head that makes my brain feel as though it's trapped in a pressurized vise. It's driving me nuts, because I'm in high school and have made ZERO friends since I'm afraid to talk to people and let them see me act strangely. Also, I can't concentrate in class because I'm so preoccupied with trying to control my spasms. It's affected my academic performance, and school/grades/going to a good college are incredibly important to me.

My neck spasms started half a year ago when I saw this guy sitting in front of me in class twitching a lot in his neck (I'm not sure if it was because of a disorder or SA). I got so scared of potentially twitching (even though I had never twitched out of SA in my life) that I became preoccupied with NOT twitching, and soon enough, I actually developed a twitch.

So far, I try to control my spasms by never looking up or making eye contact and resting my head on my hands. My family and the counselor I see sometimes tell me that I'm pretty, intelligent, and witty, and I'm miserable because I know there are so many things I could be doing if it weren't for my anxiety and twitches. Next year I will be in 12th grade, and my biggest fear is that by then, I will still have neck spasms and extreme anxiety, which will make it nearly impossible for me to express myself in the interviews (and my teachers who are giving me recommendations), that I'm expecting to do when applying to colleges.

Does anyone have a spasm problem? And if so, any suggestions for helping getting rid of it? Also, I've been trying to expose myself to as many social situations as possible (including embarrassing ones) to lessen my fear. Any suggestions for that too? Thanks!
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-19-2007, 06:33 PM
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Re: Neck twitching

I used to have this problem in high school too. i know how it feels. Actually at the end of eight grade in middle school there were a couple of guys who always liked making fun of me, and i started to feel that annoying feeling in my neck, a brief twitch which at the time wasnt a big deal.

then when i started high school in 9th grade it got worse and worse and i was made fun of it when i twiched in front of a presentation. after that i became so worried about not making a fool of myself that i didnt pay attention to class, and my grades dropped.

when i got to 11th grade i started taking zoloft which got rid of 90% of these physical symptoms, so i dont have them but not as much as before. What i used to do, and would recommend from personal experience is...

- if you are forced to seat in the front because of attendance seating arrangements, talk to the teacher and tell him/her that you feel uncomfortable and would like to seat in the back. the teacher might just do that for you if you ask nicely.(my english teacher in 10th grade actually let me sit in the back )

- I would usually take a pencil or whatever you have to distract yourself with. If the teacher is writing somethign on the board take lots of notes--again, to distract yourself.

- try to move your arms whenever you feel you cant hold control
- wear a hood(not over your head, im guessing your school doesnt allow this as well?) to cover your neck
- i always felt secured when i wore a jacket...
- Sometimes, and very rarely i tried relaxing, breathing deep, and it worked. I was also in taekwondo and did meditation so i guess it worked because of that maybe...

Im sure the school offers counceling whom you can talk to about these problems at school. in fact, when i was in high school the school councelur was the one who recommended me to a phychologist where i was diagnozed with social anxiety, so i would totally recommend that
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-19-2007, 07:16 PM
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Re: Neck twitching

Wow, that describes me. I saw a boy at school twitching his head a lot and then I started doing it :[. My neck and head are so tense that sometimes I'll twitch without even thinking about it. Everything about not being able to pay attention is the same for me. So far nothing has worked to stop it.
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-20-2007, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Neck twitching

It's good to know I'm not alone in this situation . I thought it was just weird how I starting getting twitches just because I saw this guy have them.

Thanks for the advice, Auron. I'll try it.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-22-2007, 11:56 PM
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Re: Neck twitching

I thaught I was alone. I joined this forum a few months after this neck twitching thing started. What's worst is it's obvious. It's something people can see. Fortunately it has begun to go away slowly. And I want to competely get rid of it.

I feel like an alien from another planet.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-23-2007, 07:50 PM
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Re: Neck twitching

I just made a thread about this last week. Whenever I was stressed, in the right side of my neck I feel an urge to nod my head really hard in one direction. Over time, I became very accustomed to it and probably do it 5 times a minute. I don't think it has to do with SA, but it def. makes it much worse because I feel like everyone thinks I have some kinda problem. People sometimes ask me if I have the hiccups (when I hold it in, my neck and jaw sort of twitch and it looks like I have them). I have always had strange habits, but this one is by far the worst. I hate getting asked, "What's wrong with your neck?"

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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-23-2007, 08:53 PM
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Re: Neck twitching

I have the same symptom.... I've had it for over one yr. Now it's soooo bad that my head jerks and trembles like crazy, especially when I'm eating in pubilc or in class. I forgot to take Xanax last Friday because I overslept and ran to the class not to be was the worst experience I've had so far. I couldn't breathe or listen to the professor because of it! And those coughs...(some of you should know what I mean) Now I don't care if I'm right about it. I just don't wanna react to the coughs!!

Currently on: Depakine, Sediel, Klonopin, Prozac, Risperdal, Vitamin D, Calcium

Tried(Med.): Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Zoloft, Inderal, Tenormin, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, Adderall, Effexor, Emsam, Nardil, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Remeron, Lamictal, Abilify, Pristiq

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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-06-2011, 11:42 PM
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Yeah i have this neck twitching problem as well... i only developed it recently ive always kind of been shy and got incredibly nervous when i was infront of an audience but recently this twitch in my neck has caused me serious problems. Recently my mum and dad split up because he has a drinking problem and i just finished my final exams (which i thankfully did well on) and its possibly this stress that has triggered my neck twitch.

Whenever im with a group of friends or when i go out i can tell that they see my neck twitching but no one says anything about it and its super awkward for me cause i just plain dont understand why its happening (its especially bad when i smoke or when im eating/drinking so i quit smoking but its not like i can quit eating or drinking). sometimes i can get comfortable when im with my friends and overcome it and im so pleased when i do because i can act like myself again. When im sitting at home by myself or around my mum i am able to act normal and there is no neck twitch present it only happens in social situations. Im saddened because this has made me become sort of a social recluse and im at a really good time in my life having just graduated with good grades and people tell me ive got potential to do something really good with my life and this anxiety related neck twitch is preventing me from being the person i want to be.

Its been a huge problem mainly because theres this girl who i really like, shes amazing really like the nicest person ive ever met and she asks me to go to the beach etc but i have to make excuses and avoid seeing her because of this neck twitch ive developed. im really against living the rest of my life with this problem and i will overcome it i just need to know how. i live in thailand so im not sure about finding a psychologist, i probably could if i really wanted to but i dont want my parents/brother/friends to find out because i dont want them to think less of me and my families going through a bit of a financial problem at the moment... also there are pharmacies around where i live so i could probably pick up a drug that will prevent the symptoms if i knew what it was, or if there was another treatment method i could start doing it.

I know that my situation isnt the worst one because ive only recently developed this twitch and im glad i didnt have it during school but i just want to stop it before it worsens (which telling from what people have wrote it does).

if anyone has found any full proof methods to prevent this please let me know cause its become a huge problem for me and im sure it was/is for you aswell. thanks for your consideration in this matter.
- and sorry for the long post i just want you guys to know the whole story because it might help.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-08-2011, 11:58 AM
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OMG ... I can't believe I've finally found a group of people who have an anxiety producing symptom that is similar to my own. "Normal" people just don't seem to understand how this can cause so much anxiety.

Make sure to read this whole post. I offer some suggestions and possible treatments at the end.

For almost 7 years, I've had these strange spasming sensations in my neck. The sensation is on the upper right side of my neck, around my jawline and near my ear.

These spasms have caused my social anxiety to go from moderate to extremely severe. Now, I can barely go to the grocery store, and I'm considering dropping out of college because my anxiety to high to pass a required public speaking class.

I call it a spasming sensation because I cannot really feel the spasms if I touch that area. Because of this lack of objective proof, doctors, family, etc. don't take me seriously. For years, this has made me feel weak, as though I seeking treatment for a problem that doesn't really exist. Instead of empathy, I've mostly received pity and disbelief.

However, there is some good news to my story.

For years, I only focused on the sternocliedomastiod, trapizius, and other large neck muscles; however, I was unaware of the platysma muscle.

The platysma muscle is a thin sheet of muscle that lies right underneath the skin and covers most of the front and side regions of the neck, including the area where I feel the spasming sensation. A quick Google images search will provide a better description.

After researching, I eventually found the following quotes from Dr. Sumaiya Khan.

"This (the platysma muscle) is the muscle that can also draw down the corners of the mouth, which helps to make the expression of a grimace"

"When a person shows symptoms of platysma muscle spasms, he will end up having involuntary contractions of this muscle, which may make the person involuntarily grimace"

These unusual symptoms describe a symptom I am having. When it spasms, I feel and see the corners of my mouth draw down as the muscle attempts to pull the jaw down. I can resist; however, it causes a great deal of tension.

Anyways .... I started massaging that area (underneath the jawline on the right side), and I could finally feel the knotted muscle being pulled. To massage it, you have to pull the skin in that area downward or to the side by hand, messaging instrument, etc. The key is try and stretch the surface as opposed to the deeper muscle of the neck. Another thing that helps for me is using a muscle rub, like Biofreeze.

I don't know if you-all have the same cause; however, I felt compelled to make this post just in case. I haven't broken down that knotted area yet, however, I just started, and I have 7 years of accumulated tension to release.

I will let you-all know if this works.

If you have question, post them; however, forgive me it I'm slow to respond, I don't always visit this forum regularly.

Good Luck!
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-08-2011, 12:16 PM
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I used to have spasm problems alot. Now rarely. They don't call a nervous twitch for nothing. You sound like a hsp. Reading about under-reacting to your invirpnment will help!
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-30-2013, 07:02 PM
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I also have a neck twitching problem. I have no idea what triggers it but it seems like it happens most when I feel no-one is looking at me. It really scares me because it happens a lot while I am driving. What happens is I will begin to twitch my neck in a rapid forward jerking motion as if I was slightly nodding. While I do my neck twitch I also happen to flutter my eyes shut and this can happen for up to 2 to 5 seconds at a time in each twitch. It seems as if it is becoming worse. I also feel it is becoming a dangerous habit that i cant control... Although "habit" isnt really what it feels like it is. "Twitch" and "spasm" seem like more fitting words to describe it. The thing that i hate most is the thought that i may have a twitch happen when i am driving (driving is always is a time when i twitch) with my fiancè in the car , or anyone else and possibly cause an accident because my eyes were shut! I really hate this problem and i wish it would just go away. It sometimes seems as if it is a voluntary twitch but the majority of the time i am doing it and cant stop... What happens is- i tense up my neck muscles and jerk my head forward and down in a slight nodding motion. This is almost always involving my eyes to flutter shut until the twitch stops. Sometimes the twitches will become very frequent... Sometimes even minutes or seconds apart in occurrence. When they are at the worst it causes my neck to become sore from the constant tensing up and jerking. It happens when : i am eating... drinking... smoking... driving... playing video games... watching tv... walking... and pretty much during every other thing i do... the only time it isn't much of a problem is when i am talking face to face with someone...... To conclude: I do not like this... I want it gone.
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-30-2013, 10:21 PM
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When your talking about the spasm in the neck, does it affect your head too? ex; your head wobbles left to right?
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-30-2013, 11:14 PM
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Yes it is a jerking motion that looks like i'm rapidly nodding a tiny bit... It isn't any extreme movement... Kind of like a twitchy little nodding of the head forward i small bit
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-01-2013, 01:46 AM
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Wow, am I glad I found this thread. For about 4 years now I have struggled with daily spasms. They started off CONSTANT. I mean that literally. I initially went to the emergency room and they told me I had "myoclonus". It was 24/7 spasms for 6 months, mainly in my neck and shoulders but my knees would rise to my chest in bad episodes as well. This was accompanied by severe headaches, feelings of electricution, tingling, nerve pain, dizziness, nausea, etc. I was given seizure meds to control them, but the medicine made them worse. The only thing that would stop them for a few hours I had just about every test you can get. I saw a neuropathic chiropractor and a neurologist. Eventually, I saw a naturopathic doctor and started a vitamin regimen that made a significant improvement. I was spasming considerably less, though still daily. I got worse again, then better, and this would keep happening until I was only having a dozen or so spasms a day. I was elated. However, things started worsening again. I was fainting, having seizures, and my speech was being affected as well. I ended up taking another seizure med, and THAT one worsened things too. The neurologist suggested that all of these issues may be anxiety-related. She suggested I see a psychiatrist (the 5th one I've seen in the span of a decade), but the psychiatrist prescribed a medicine that, upon researching, sounded even more dangerous than the seizure meds I've tried (she prescribed Lamictal, I've taken Keppra, Clonazepam, and Vimpat). I didn't fill the prescription, as it stated that the medicine could cause a type of seizure known as "myoclonic jerk". I've been "diagnosed", so to speak, with myoclonic jerk/myoclonic I think you can see why I'd rather not try that out. I am not epileptic. I am conscious during the seizures. The spasms do affect my entire body, moreso than when they started (arm flapping, hand tremors, head nodding/tilting, hunching, knee rising to chest, etc). They occur in varying strengths, and the movements are fairly unpredictable. People on Stickam used to ask if I had Tourettes. I also get muscle twitching pretty much everywhere. I'm in constant pain. BUT...I will tell you that I feel worse when I have caffeine. Makes sense, right? Caffeine is not a friend to our nervous systems. I'm a Coca-Cola addict, so it can be difficult to stay away from. I've had a few seizures in the past couple of weeks, and I think it's because I've had too much soda. If you're curious what the seizures are like: my head shakes rapidly, my arms pound and my legs kick whatever surface I'm laying on (and if I'm standing when it starts to happen, I usually fall to my knees and end up on the ground), my back will arch sometimes and my bottom will leave the ground (almost like I'm pelvic thrusting the air). This only lasts about 10 seconds, but it SUCKS...especially when I involuntarily pound my head on something hard.

So it's possible you guys are suffering from myoclonic jerk as a result of severe anxiety.

Here are some suggestions on what you can do to help ease your spasms, but I would suggest getting a blood test to have your vitamin levels checked so a doctor can recommend safe dosages for you if you have any deficiencies (I had a severe D deficiency, which was contributing to the spasms), or just what they think would be best for your spasms:
*Vitamin D
*Vitamin B12 (and other B vitamins)
Those are the main ones. These are some herbal supplements that might help you as well:
*Dong Quai
Really any sort of safe, mild, sedatives will probably help you...and anything that calms the nervous system naturally. If you're into herbal teas, try decaffeinated green and chamomile. Skullcap is an herb that you can take in tincture form or buy a bag of from an herb shop (locally or online) to make tea. It is rather bitter, so if you do decide to try it out you'll probably want to sweeten it with honey.

You might also consider trying to stay away from caffeine, high fructose corn syrup (and aspartame...and sucralose...and all o' those artificial sweeteners). My naturopathic doctor had me using Cell Food drops and juicing fruits and vegetables. I don't use the drops anymore because they're pretty expensive, but they're good for if you're trying to detox and help your body get the nutrients it needs to repair itself.

I still spasm every single day, more times than I can count, but I still go out with my family and sometimes by myself. If you're afraid to go out with friends, just tell them what's going on. I really don't think they'll judge you for it, especially if you make jokes about it to lighten the mood. My brother says things like, "You dancin' over there, Michael Jackson?" I tell him I'm "swatting invisible flies". I wish you all the best of luck and hope you feel better SOON.
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-01-2013, 02:07 AM
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Even if you don't have myoclonic jerk (which you probably don't if you're not experiencing it several times daily), it's not uncommon to develop stress and anxiety-related ticks.Try these things to help your spasms SOONER RATHER THAN LATER before they worsen. Speaking from years of experience, when you have them every single day you get pretty weak and you experience a lot of nerve pinching from simple movements. The nerve pinching can cause a lot of pain and other uncomfortable sensations throughout your body. It's no fun. Taking a natural approach to lessening your anxiety is a lot safer than trying your luck with anxiety medications, or even seizure medications for your spasms, which can often worsen the situation.
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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 11:46 AM
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Then again, I started experiencing spasms the same month I had my wisdom teeth extracted where I had complications from the general anesthesia (was shaking violently when I came to, discovered a deep scratch in my arm that I know I didn't create because my fingernails were not long enough). So it's possible that my issues were CAUSED by something else but are being worsened by my anxiety.
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post #17 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 01:34 PM
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Lol I used to twitch really bad...Something that has helped my anxiety and twitchin is really deep breathing and relaxation techniques....Taking deep breaths in, holding them, and letting the tension flow out of you...
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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 01:48 PM
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I also used to have it. It is a psychosomatic problems that is about repressed feelings (anxiety in this case) not coming to the surface but expressing themselves as pain or whatever.

You can google "tension myositis syndrome" and maybe read a book about it.

The solution is mainly just being aware that the twitch/pain is a repressed feeling, and telling your subconcious to allow your feelings to surface.

If you ever start taking things too seriously, just remember that we are talking monkeys on an organic spaceship flying through the universe
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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-20-2013, 09:39 AM
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Neck Twitch

I have a similiar kind of problem which started about a month ago. I get these urges to pull my neck to one side, the only way to describe it would be a twitch. Sometimes they're quick but sometimes I hold my neck in a slanted position for over 5 seconds. I also do the same with my arm and back but my neck is worse. I get constant urges to keep doing it and it's getting to the point now where it's giving me a lot of pain in my neck. I normally do it when I'm driving, at work or when I'm on my own, don't normally do it round people.

I don't know it's a form of anxiety because I also pick the skin around my finger nails until they bleed and that's apparently a form of anxiety too.

Can anyone help me?
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post #20 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-20-2013, 10:23 AM
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Like everyone else, actually surprised im not the only one with this weird problem. Although its not as bad as some people here seem to have it, i get it randomly but not a lot thank god. I get when talking one on one, like people said, you want to stretch your neck, or squeeze it or just start moving your head around to try get rid of it.
I even put this as a question in a recent little questionnaire i posted.
Such a weird thing.

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