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Eyebrow twitching: Causes and treatment

woman with a twitching eyebrow

Eyebrow twitching occurs when a small muscle in your eyebrow spasms involuntarily, which means it can’t be controlled. When this happens, part of your eyebrow appears to rapidly shake or tremble. An eyebrow twitch is similar to an eye twitch, which occurs when one of your eyelids spasms.

Certain lifestyle and environmental triggers can affect the way our nerves “talk” to our muscles. When our bodies get too much or too little of something (like caffeine or sleep, respectively), our nerves can go a little haywire. This is when you might notice an irritating twitch in your eyebrow or another part of your body.

Eyebrow twitching can certainly be annoying, but it’s usually harmless and happens to most people every once in a while. But these tiny spasms usually go away on their own.

Why is my eyebrow twitching?

The reasons eyebrows twitch and why eyes twitch share many of the same causes. You may encounter one or many of these triggers on a daily basis.

Stress — One of the most common causes of eyebrow twitching is stress. Reducing stress with activities like physical exercise, breathing exercises, yoga and meditation can help you get rid of a twitching eyebrow and avoid future muscle spasms.

SEE RELATED: How stress affects your vision

Not getting enough sleep — An out-of-whack sleep schedule can increase stress and harm your overall health. Muscle spasms and twitches, including in the eyes and eyebrows, can occur when you don’t get enough sleep.

Caffeine, alcohol and tobacco use — Over consumption of caffeinated drinks, alcoholic beverages or tobacco — through smoking or other products like chewing tobacco — can all lead to an increase in eyebrow twitches.

Eye strain —  A number of typical daily activities, including staring at computers, phones and video games, can strain your eyes, which can cause an eyebrow twitch. If you can’t reduce your digital screen time, try utilizing the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of screen use, focus on an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Another common cause of eye strain is an outdated vision prescription. If you haven’t updated your glasses or contact lenses in a while, schedule a comprehensive eye exam with your local eye doctor.

SEE RELATED: 10 steps for computer eye strain relief

An unbalanced diet — A diet high in processed foods and low in vitamins and minerals can cause a twitching eyebrow. This is often attributed to not getting enough magnesium, a mineral that has a significant impact on how well the nerves and muscles communicate.

Certain medications — Eyebrow twitching can be a side effect of drugs prescribed for conditions like ADHD, epilepsy and certain cardiovascular problems. If you regularly take medication and notice an eyebrow twitch, ask your doctor or pharmacist if a drug could be causing it.

How to treat an eyebrow twitch

The best way to treat eyebrow twitching is to reduce the common triggers listed above. By reducing things like stress, caffeine consumption and junk food in your diet and/or getting more sleep, you may be able to get rid of a stubborn twitch — or prevent another one from happening.

For example, if you think your twitching eyebrow could be the result of the three cups of coffee you drink every day, try slowly reducing your daily dose to one or two cups. If your diet relies heavily on processed foods, try adding a few servings of whole foods high in magnesium or potassium — like spinach, yogurt and bananas.

When to see a doctor

It’s unlikely, but persistent eyebrow twitching can also be a sign of an underlying condition. These include disorders like:

If an eyebrow twitch lasts more than a couple of weeks, or is accompanied by symptoms like fatigue, pain, difficulty moving, facial drooping or separate involuntary movements, speak with a doctor.

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