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Compulsive Muscle Clenching
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Compulsive Muscle Clenching

Hello,
I am a healthy 23 year old male- drug free, and I don't drink to excess. Sporadically over the past year or so, I've had periods of time (generally 2-3weeks) where I compulsively clench random muscles on the my body; sometimes tightening my arm, and tweaking it to an odd angle, sometimes popping-out one shoulder blade, sometimes I stiffen all my fingers, or muscles in my face. It happens to the extent that at the end of the day, I am generally very sore.
I can't seem to find any information on the internet, so any that you may be able to provide would be very helpful.
Thanks in advance for your time.
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Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with a doctor.

Without the ability to examine and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of the symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

You may have a tic disorder. Tics are of several types. They can be movements and/or vocalizations and are associated with an urge that is only briefly suppressible.  They can be simple motor tics, such as blinking of the eyes or shrugging of the shoulders, or they can be complex motor tics, resembling a purposeful movement. Tics can also be vocal, such as grunting or verbalizing. Tics can occur in isolation or they may occur as part of Tourette's syndrome. In order for Tourette's to be diagnosed, there must be both motor and vocal tics that occur for over 1 year and start before the age of 18, and are not attributable to other causes.

Sometimes, certain movements a person has may resemble tics but in fact the movements may be something else, such as a complex habit or what is called a stereotypy. You may benefit from evaluation by a movement disorder specialist, who may be able to better characterize your movement and confirm whether or not it is in fact a tic. He/she can evaluate you and confirm the diagnosis of tics and whether or not you have Tourette's. Together, you can decide whether or not treatment of your tics is indicated.
The treatment of tics, whether in isolation, or as part of Tourette's, involves one of several medications. These include medications that block dopamine, the chemical in the brain thought to contribute to the occurrence of tics. The important thing to remember is that unless tics are socially disabling, causing discomfort for the person who has them or impairing function, they do not necessarily have to be treated. Any medication has side effects, and treatment should therefore be weighed against no treatment at all. In very severe cases of Tourette's in young people, there is a surgery called deep brain stimulation which can be tried, but this is still new and under research.

Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.

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