Treating involuntary movements

"There are several movement disorders that affect the face, some of which can cause tics, which is what it sounds like you are describing."

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August 10, 2020 - 8:59 AM

Dear Dr. Roach: For about the past year, I have had mouth movements that I do not intend to make. I can stop them if I concentrate on doing so, but as soon as I think of something else, they resume. I also have involuntary movements on the left side of my mouth when I am about to fall asleep, or maybe when I have already fallen asleep. I make a loud noise, which wakes me up. The left side of my face is twitching wildly. Sorry I don’t know how to better explain this, but I am partly asleep when it happens and don’t know anything else. Do you have any idea what could be going on? — L.S.

Dr. Keith Roach

Answer: There are several movement disorders that affect the face, some of which can cause tics, which is what it sounds like you are describing. Tics can occur by themselves, or in the context of another  condition. An example of this is Tourette’s syndrome, which has a range of clinical expressions and does not always look the way it is portrayed in movies.

Some movement disorders are related to medication use, so a neurologist evaluating you would do not only a careful exam, but a thorough review of past medication use. 

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