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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes unilateral spasms in the face, arm and leg?

Answered by
Dr. Praveen Tayal

Orthopaedic Surgeon

Practicing since :1994

Answered : 11556 Questions

Posted on Thu, 30 Mar 2017 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Question: About 2 1/2 weeks ago I started having muscle spasms in my left arm about once a day (alittle tingling also). After a few days it spread to my left leg and left side of my face and I'm having them over 6 times a day now. It only lasts about a minute, but when it happens, my hand muscles cramp tight, my arm feels hard and my leg won't bend (it feels like I have a cast on). It's not painful, but it's uncomfortable. I had blood work to check my CBC's, CAT scan and EKG and all are normal, but this continues to happen and my leg, arm and face feel not quite normal. I can't say numbness because I can feel, but the feeling is off. I did not have any trauma, no fever..nothing to explain what's happening.
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 13 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Can be nutritional deficiency.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for posting your query.
The most likely and common causes for these spasms are
1... High levels of stress,anxiety,nervousness or excitement or anger.
2... Consumption of excess of alcohol or caffeine.
3...low levels of calcium,potassium,magnesium etc
4... Low levels of VIT B12
5... Use of medicines like anti asthmatics,anti seizure,weight loss medicines etc
6.. Certain disorders like hyperthyroidism or hypoparathyroidism.

I would advise you to get tested for above mentioned causes,stop alcohol and caffeine,do regular stress buster exercises like deep breathing exercises and yoga and taking good nutritious diet.
If some deficiency comes in your tests,then take those supplements.

You should be all right with these measures in next 6 to 8 weeks but if you don't find any change in you or your symptoms worsen,then you may consult a neurologist for proper evaluation.

I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
For future query, you can directly approach me through my profile URL

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Praveen Tayal 1 hour later
Additional information...I had a basic metabolic test at the hospital and all the results fell in the normal range. I don't think they tested for B12 though. I don't drink alcohol or take any medications other than an aspirin per day (like the dr recommended). I'm not under any unusual stress. I do drink coffee, but I dropped that down to 2 cups per day and started drinking gatorade and water. These episodes seem to happen randomly, but I have noticed that they happen with more frequency when I use my left side for anything...when I stand up, lift my left arm, move my left leg or roll over in bed from my right side to my left side. Normally I know immediately when it starts because I feel my muscles start to tighten and cramp/spasm starting in my left shoulder then all the way down to my hand and also my left leg, then the facial muscle on the left side follow.
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Can be nerve compression.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing again.
if the spasm is specifically restricted to the left side then a nerve compression at cervical vertebral level can also cause this. You can consult a neurologist for proper examination.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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