Home conditions Lip Twitching, Upper, Bottom, Meaning & Causes

Lip Twitching, Upper, Bottom, Meaning & Causes

Lip twitching or jumping, as others call it, is quite a strange occurrence for most individuals. Read on to find out the causes what it means when it occurs on both the upper, lower lip and sides, how it is linked to stroke, pregnancy and more

Lip twitching -What does it mean when your lip twitches?


Lip twitching occurs when your lips tremble or shake without you trying to move the lips. Lip twitching is therefore quivering of a lip which is involuntary in nature.

lip twitching- upper, bottom sides, causes & meaning
lip twitching

This means you have no control over the lip movements.  It is usually caused by contraction of lip muscles. Some people refer to this as lip fasciculation.

Lip twitching can occur to any one regardless of their age, gender or race. Either your top or bottom lip can twitch. Although other people may not notice the twitching of your lips, you feel it. Sometimes, the lip makes noticeable movements and that can be very embarrassing.

Twitching lips symptoms

Symptoms associated with lip twitching are unmistakable. Usually, the lip contractions occur in form of slight tremors that could even spread to the face. Below are the symptoms that relate to lip twitching;

  • Movements that look like mild palpitation mostly on your upper lip
  • Involuntary and sudden contractions of your lip muscles
  • You may also feel that your lips are numb or frozen
  • Some people experience spasms that occur at an interval of few minutes
  • There may be a curling sensation especially on your lip edges

Causes-Why is my Upper & Bottom Lip Twitching?

Top Lip Twitching

Causes of upper lip twitching that you need to know include the following;

Bell’s palsy

Although this is a body paralysis that attacks one side of the face, it is usually associated with your upper lip. This twitching of the upper lip occurs when a certain nerve on your face becomes swollen or inflamed.

Bell’s palsy generally causes the facial muscles to be weak. Apart from upper lip twitching, it also causes difficulty in talking and closing of your eye lids.

Withdrawal from substances

If you are addicted to certain drugs, you will experience top lip twitching if you consume the drug in excess or if you withdraw from using the drug. The drugs include cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, and any other illicit drugs.

That aside, certain stimulants may cause upper lip twitching as well if you take them in excess or if you stop consuming them.

The stimulants include, caffeinated beverages like coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, and, aerated drinks. Generally, neuro-stimulants will cause contractions of your upper lip if consumed in excess.

Essential tremors

This is a condition which results from neurological dysfunction.  This tremors cause you to have involuntary contractions of your lip muscles. Essential tremors are more likely to occur in your 40’s.

The more you age, the higher the chances of getting upper lip twitching following essential tremors. This condition also results from environmental and emotional stressors.

Emotional triggers

Autonomic nervous system directs nerve stimulation to your lips. This stimulation is necessary in controlling emotions, facial expressions, as well as your behavioral responses. Sympathetic nervous system helps in the same.

When your emotions change suddenly, you are likely to have twitching of the upper lip.  To differentiate lip twitching that comes as a result of emotional triggers, you can consider pathological causes together with adrenergic stimulation.

Signs of this stimulation include; flushing of your face, watering of the eyes, inability to speak with clarity, and dilation of pupils.

Parkinson’s disease

When dopamine secreting cells are reduced in number, in the part of the brain called substantia niagra where they are secreted, you are likely to have Parkinson’s disease.  This disease results to symptoms such as upper lip twitching.

To treat this disease and hence bring top lip twitching to an end, you will need to see your doctor for dopamine replacement. Other accompanying symptoms include; slurred speech and shaking to extremities.

Hemi facial spasm

This is a nervous condition whose symptoms include; rhythmic movement of the upper lip as a result of twitching of facial muscles, and paralysis of expression muscles.

The underlying cause of hemi facial spasm is nerve compression, precisely, the facial nerve.

Other causes of this condition are; growing tumor which compresses the major artery, and rarely, brainstem lesions.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

It is a neurodegenerative condition which occurs progressively. This is a nervous condition characterized by reduction in number of nerve cells.  Marking this condition is the weakening of muscles and nerves.

Among the initial symptoms of this condition is twitching of the upper lip and other facial muscles in general. Following these symptoms is disabling of muscles and paralysis.

When the paralysis extends to the respiratory muscles, you stand high chances of losing your life.

ALS is mostly genetic. You are likely to inherit this condition from either of your parents. Other identified causes of this condition are dysregulation of crucial proteins following an autoimmune condition, and imbalance of your body chemicals.


Parathyroid hormone is responsible for regulation of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.  This hormone works to retain significant amounts of calcium in the bone.

It also serves to ensure little amounts of serum are retained for contraction of muscles and action of enzymes.

After thyroid surgery, or following autoimmune destruction of your parathyroid gland, there is a significant decrease in secretion of parathyroid hormone.

Showing this decrease is the twitching of the upper lip. You may also experience twitching of other muscles in your body. This effect is due to low levels of serum calcium levels.

DiGeorge Syndrome

This is a disorder which is inherited and is usually marked by chromosome 22 mutation. DiGeorge syndrome comes with development defects. For instance, congenital absence of thymus as well as low levels of serum calcium which results to twitching of upper lip.

Tourette’s syndrome

This is a syndrome which is common among adolescents. It is a childhood disorder which is inherited. Marking this syndrome is motor tics or non-periodic vocal.

Characterizing this syndrome is movement of facial muscles. This results to twitching of your upper lip. There are available pharmacological treatment options that bring moderate solution for the syndrome.

Bottom Lip Twitching

You may also experience twitching of your lower lip. The following are some of the reasons your lower lip twitches;

Excess caffeine

If you consume caffeine in excess, you are likely to experience lower lip twitching. Technically, this condition is referred to as caffeine intoxication.

More than three cups of coffee a day could be considered too much as it is likely to result to contraction of your lip muscles.

If you are sure that this is the sole cause of the twitching, you are advised to reduce your caffeine consumption so as to do away with the lip twitching.


Some of the over-the-counter drugs or prescriptions by your doctor may have a side effect of twitching your lower lip. This explains why it is always important to read the side effects indicated on the inserts of any drug package. If this side effect persists, you can always approach your doctor for a change of drugs.

Alcoholic neuropathy

Just like the case of the upper lip, alcohol and addictive drugs are a likely cause of the contraction of the lower lip. This is because they cause damage on the nerves and also interferes with normal functioning of the brain.

If you have been consuming alcohol for a very long period and you end up with lip twitching, this is a sign that you have alcoholic neuropathy.  To eliminate the lower lip twitching, you may need to reduce your alcohol consumption.


You are also likely to get lip twitching when stressed.  Stress causes behavioral changes. When stressed, you experience both hysterical and essential tremors.

It is these tremors that lead to lip twitching when you have stress. Tremors cause muscle contractions in your body parts such as the face.

Apart from that, when you are too excited or overwhelmed by something, your lower lip may begin to tremble. You will experience the twitching up to the point where you focus on what causes the emotional reaction.


A facial tic occurs when the muscle spasm occurs repeatedly.  It involves the facial muscles such as those of the lips and the eyes. You are therefore likely to experience lower lip twitching if you have tics. Tics mostly occur during your childhood.  This may however continue for your entire life. Stress stimulates occurrence of tics.

Right/left side upper or lower lip twitching

Lower lip twitching left side

When the quivering of your lip is on the left side of the lip, you will need to raise concern. A spasm on the lower lip may be a minor occurrence that is likely to go eventually away.

However, when it is caused by a severe condition, the flickering of the lip on the left side may be persistent. In such a case, the twitching will only go away after the underlying condition is treated.

If the twitching on the lower left side of the lip is accompanied by other symptoms, you are advised to see your doctor for assessment.

This is so as to identify if the twitching is a sign of any serious condition. If the twitching has no accompanying symptoms, you could try a warm compress at home to see if it goes away.

Lower lip twitching right side

When the lower lip twitching occurs on the right side, it is a sign that your lip has a nerve problem. As earlier outlined, among the causes of lip twitching, neurological disorder is one of the causes. It is identified as the most probable causes of the lower lip right side twitching.

Lip twitching being an involuntary occurrence, it is always good to seek medical attention.

However, if the movements are neither severe nor noticeable you could try a warm compress as in the case of the left side of the lower lip.

To stop the twitching, dip a clean face towel into warm water and pat it on the affected side of the lip. This could be done at intervals of twenty minutes.

Repeat the procedure until the twitching stops. You only consider the lip twitching as a minor episode if it goes away within a short period of time.

Upper lip right/left flickering

When your right side of the upper lip twitches, it may an indicator that you have Bell’s palsy. This is paralysis of your body which affects one side of your face.

Additionally, when either the right or left side of the lip twitches, it may be a sign that you have herpes simplex. This is a condition which causes your facial nerves to be swollen.

Lip twitching stroke

Dr. Ravish Patwardhan MD, founder of comprehensive Neurosurgery Network and a nationally-renowned neurosurgeon explains that; when twitching occurs, it is either an indicator that the muscle itself has a problem or the nerves leading to the muscles are damaged.

lip twitching and stroke links

Lip twitching has been identified as a possible sign that stroke will occur. Stroke occurs when there is interruption of blood supply to the brain.

Particularly, stoke will occur when the interruption causes a significant reduction in amount of blood supplied to the brain. With the decrease in blood supply, the brain is deprived of sufficient nutrients and oxygen.

When the blood supply to the brain is interfered with, the brain cells begin to die. This explains why stroke is always treated as an emergency condition following its likelihood to cause death.

In the United States, stroke is one of the leading causes of disability and the third from top cause of death.

You are advised to look out for the early signs of stroke. A ‘wait and see’ mentality on occurrence of early signs of stroke is not advisable as you may die within the first hour of stroke symptoms.

One of the common early signs of stroke is weakness and numbness of the face.  You may raise stroke suspicion most especially if the lip muscle contraction is on one side.  This is because, symptoms relating to stroke have been found to occur on one side of the body.

Lip twitching superstition

Lip twitching is the sudden movement of your lips. However, some cultures interpret lip twitching to be a sign or an indicator that something is bound to occur. It is taken to be a warning that something will happen; either a positive or negative thing.

lip twitching superstitions

There are several superstitions that are attached to the twitching of your lips. Although the superstitions are not real, you may need to familiarize with them. Below are some of the false notions related to twitching of your lips;

  • Twitching of your lower lip is a sign that you will be kissed soon.
  • On the other hand, when the upper lip is twitching, it is an indicator that you will kiss someone very soon.
  • If the left side of your lip experiences twitching, it is a sign that something bad is about to happen to you.
  • On the contrary, if the right side of your lip is twitching, it is a sign that something good will happen in your life.
  • There was also a belief that lip twitching for old wives symbolized goodness as relates to their love affairs.

Headache and lip twitching

When lip twitching comes along with a severe headache, it may be a sign that there is a very serious condition that you need to seek treatment for. In most cases, stroke has headache and lip twitching as part of the symptoms.

When you experience throbbing headaches and lip twitching simultaneously, your doctor carries out tests to confirm whether or not you are likely to get stroke. It is advisable that upon identification of the two symptoms, you see a doctor immediately since stroke is deadly.

Twitching lips and eyelids

Since the eye is very close to the sinuses, it is easily affected by sinus inflammation. Some nerves are likely to become irritated if the sinuses are inflamed.  This causes muscle spasms that run from the eye down your face to the lip.

This is how the eyelids and lips may be seen to twitch at the same time. Some of the reasons the sinuses become inflamed are; potassium deficiency, stress, fatigue, and withdrawal or excessive consumption of alcohol and other illicit drugs.

Twitching lip during pregnancy

Most of the changes that occur during pregnancy are controlled by a certain hormone referred to as progesterone. You may experience, for instance, emotional changes or even lip twitching. It is important to understand the expected occurrences so that you can cope well with the condition.

lip jumping during preganancy
Expectant mother

Another change that is common when you are pregnant is weight gain. There is a likelihood that the weight gain causes a strain on your nerves when you go to sleep.

This strain is responsible for the lip twitching that you may get when pregnant. When the twitching is persistent, always seek medical attention.

Lip twitching anxiety & Stress

When you behave apprehensively, you are likely to stress your body. Anxiety is one of the causes of muscle twitching.

It interrupts the nervous system causing it to behave erratically. Consequently, the nerve impulses are unable to control the muscles as is their normal function.

When the muscles, for example, the facial muscles, are not well controlled, they result to unnecessary contractions of the facial muscles. When these contractions get to the lips, you end up with lip twitching.


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