spasm (spazm) [Gr. spasmos, convulsion]
A sudden, involuntary movement or muscular contraction due to an irritant or trauma. Spasms may be clonic or tonic and involve either visceral muscle or skeletal muscle. When contractions are strong and painful, they are called cramps. The effect of the spasm depends on the part affected: asthma is assumed to be associated with spasm of the muscular coats of smaller bronchi; renal colic to spasm of the muscular coat of the ureter.
General measures to reduce tension, induce muscle relaxation, and improve circulation are necessary. Specific measures include analgesics, massage, relaxation exercises, heat, cold, or electrotherapy, and, in some cases, gentle therapeutic exercises. Special orthopedic supports or braces are sometimes effective. For vascular spasm, chemical sympathectomy may give relief.
spasm of accommodation
A spasm of the ciliary muscle, usually due to excessive strain from overuse and common in myopia.
Spasm of the muscles of the hand. See: tetany
Spasm of the hands and feet, sometimes seen in hyperventilation syndrome. It is caused by hypocalcemia and commonly occurs during hyperventilation because the lowered carbon dioxide alters the level of ionized calcium. See: hyperventilation tetany
Spasmodic movements resembling chorea.
Intermittent contractions and relaxation of muscles. Synonym: clonospasm
coronary artery spasm
Intermittent constriction of the large coronary arteries. This may lead to angina pectoris in various conditions and is not necessarily associated with exertion. See: variant angina
Muscular closure of the coronary arteries, causing angina, ischemia, or myocardial infarction. See: variant angina
Spasm of the facial muscles causing a grin or snarl like a dog. Synonym: risus sardonicus
An esophageal motor disorder characterized by dysphagia, odynophagia, and chest pain.
Intermittent inability to swallow, often associated with intense chest pain, gagging, or breathing difficulty. It can occur after swallowing cold liquids drunk through a straw or in rabies, anxiety, depression, or achalasia. In most patients it is caused by excessive motor function of the esophageal muscles.
Nitrates or tricyclic antidepressants are sometimes used to treat the symptoms. Diffuse esophageal spasms can also be treated by surgical division of the esophageal muscles.
Spasm of the muscles supplied by the facial nerve, affecting one side of the face or the region around the eye. See: cranial nerve; tic
Twitching of facial muscles that usually begins in one eyelid but may spread after many years to half of the face or even to both sides of it. It is usually due to an aneurysm of the vertebral or basilar artery or a tumor of the cerebellopontine angle. In some patients the twitching can be treated with injections of botulinum toxin if the underlying cause is not treatable.
Seizure marked by momentary flexion or extension of the neck, trunk, extremities, or any combination, with onset occurring in the first year of life. Although infantile spasms subside in late infancy, many affected children develop other types of seizures and may be severely retarded.
Clonic spasm of the eyelid with continuous winking.
A psychogenic condition in adults, causing nodding of the head from clonic spasms of the sternomastoid muscles. A similar nodding occurs in babies, with the head turning from side to side. Synonym: salaam convulsion
Spasm of the feet.
A spasm in which contractions occur repeatedly and without interruption.
Continued involuntary contractions.
A spasm characterized by a turning of a part, esp. the turning of the body at the pelvis.
Convulsions due to poison.
Spasm of smaller arteries.