A Brief Overview Of Muscle Spasm

Spread the love


  • To provide a natural understanding of “spasm.”
  • To differentiate the terminologies
  • Types of spasm
  • Causes of spasm
  • Treatment

What spasm means?

An Involuntary and sudden contraction of a muscle is called a spasm. It can take place in both smooth muscles as well as Skeletal muscle.

It is painful, short-lived occurs abruptly, and most often it comes and goes “ Spasm ” in general is used to describe any nonspecific pain associated with the musculoskeletal system.

Factors That help In the understanding of spasm:

There are  certain points that need to take in concern In order to have a proper understanding of muscular spasm

  • Duration
  • Frequency
  • Pattern

Types Of Muscle Spasm on the Basis of Type of Muscle:


It is an example of spasm taking place in smooth muscles.


It is an example that occurs in skeletal muscles.

Types Of muscle spasm based on Severity:

Acute muscle spasm:

It is non-severe and short in duration. It is generally observed in athletes and has a variety of reasons such as

  • Muscle injury
  • Over-use of muscle
  • Unwanted stretching of muscle before exercise
  • Lack of electrolyte balance
  • Fewer nutrients than muscle demands

However, it can easily be managed with

  • Rest
  • Maintaining Hydration state
  • Gentle stretching Of that particular muscle having spasm

Chronic muscle spasm:

Repeated and extensive spasm in muscles is classified as Chronic muscular spasm. It usually indicates some underlying condition like

  • Improper supply of blood and oxygen
  • Neurological diseases
  • Toxic metabolism
  • Hormonal imbalance


Muscle spasm can occur due to the following reasons:

  • Atheroscleroses
  • Dehydration
  • Fewer nutrient supply to muscle then it demands
  • Severe back pain
  • Chronic neck pain
  • Neurological disease like multiple sclerosis 
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Kidney stones

Is muscle cramp and spasm are same?

There is a very slight difference between them as

  • Abnormal involuntary contraction of the muscle is called a spasm.
  • If it continues, then this sustained muscular spasm turns into muscular cramps.

Not all muscular pain can be termed as “spasm”:

Unfortunately, most of the time, the pain associated with the back or neck is recognized by the general public as ” spasm,” which is unfair. Here are a few facts to explain the difference

  • Spasm Is associated with unwanted muscular contraction, but back pain may be a result due to t many other reasons too.
  • There is also a possibility that contractions result from pain instead of producing it.
  • It is not recommended to use muscle relaxant without a sharp and accurate diagnosis of pain or spasm

Areas that are most commonly affected by Spasm:

The spasm can occur in any muscle but most commonly it takes place in:

  • Calves
  • Thighs
  • Arms
  • belly

Other Terminologies :

Several terms are related to contraction of muscle but fall in different categories rather than “spasm.” They are summarized in the following key points


It is a wide class of neurological disorders in which associated with long term  or repeated muscular contractions or followed by abnormal postures


Involuntary contractions or relaxation of a small fragment of muscle that is visible under the skin is termed as Twitch. The most common is the Eye twitch. It is misunderstood with spasm; however, the main difference b/w both in the area of muscle that contract.


Rhythmic, involuntary contractions of the muscle that cause one or more part of the body to shake are called tremor.


Involuntary muscular contraction due to disease or disorders that increase the action potential of nerves innervating the muscle is called tetany.

Postoperative spasm:

People report that they usually suffer from muscular spasm right after surgery, especially after abdominal and back surgery. No more evidence is provided to figure out their relationship with each other, but anesthesia before surgery is considered as one of the most common reasons that cause abnormal muscle contractions and leads to postoperative spasm.


Treatment of smooth muscle spasm depends on its diagnosis and underlying conditions however over the counter medications include

  • Acetaminophen
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Combination of both
  • Gentle stretching of muscle also helps to manage short term muscle spasm

Other drugs that can be prescribed by doctors are

  • Levodopa
  • Muscle relaxant like diazepam
  • Vitamin B complex


This content summarized the broad terminologies and classes into the most appropriate and simplified form to make it easier, simpler, and informative.