retrocollic spasm

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.

ret·ro·col·lic spasm

(ret'rō-kol'ik spazm)
Torticollis in which the spasm affects the posterior neck muscles.
Synonym(s): retrocollis.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


(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.

bronchial spasm


carpal spasm

Spasm of the muscles of the hand.
See: tetany

carpopedal spasm

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

choreiform spasm

Spasmodic movements resembling chorea.

clonic spasm

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

coronary spasm

Muscular closure of the coronary arteries, causing angina, ischemia, or myocardial infarction.
See: variant angina

cynic spasm

Spasm of the facial muscles causing a grin or snarl like a dog. Synonym: risus sardonicus

diffuse spasm

An esophageal motor disorder characterized by dysphagia, odynophagia, and chest pain.

esophageal spasm

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.

facial spasm

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

habit spasm


hemifacial spasm

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.

infantile spasm

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.

mobile spasm


nictitating spasm

Clonic spasm of the eyelid with continuous winking.

nodding spasm

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

pedal spasm

Spasm of the feet.

retrocollic spasm


saltatory spasm

A tic of the muscles of the lower extremity, causing convulsive leaping upon attempting to stand. See: Jumping Frenchmen of Maine; miryachit; palmus (2); Tourette's syndrome

tetanic spasm

A spasm in which contractions occur repeatedly and without interruption.

tonic spasm

Continued involuntary contractions.

torsion spasm

A spasm characterized by a turning of a part, esp. the turning of the body at the pelvis.

toxic spasm

Convulsions due to poison.

vasomotor spasm

Spasm of smaller arteries.

winking spasm

Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners