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Related to spasm: Back spasm


1. a sudden involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles.
2. a sudden, transitory constriction of a passage, canal, or orifice; spasms usually occur when the nerves supplying muscles are irritated, and are often accompanied by pain. A vasospasm is a rare type that occurs in a blood vessel. Spasms vary from mild twitches to severe convulsions and may be the symptoms of any number of disorders. Usually, they will cease when the cause is corrected, but sometimes the only treatment is to suppress the symptoms, as in epilepsy.

Clonic Spasms. These are spasms in which contraction and relaxation of the muscle alternate; this is the most common type of spasm and usually is not severe. A typical clonic spasm is the hiccup. Hiccups usually occur when the diaphragm is irritated, as by indigestion, although occasionally they may result from a serious condition such as a brain tumor; they generally disappear by themselves or after a drink of water.

Spasms may be repetitive twitching motions, some of which are called tics. Tics often accompany other types of spasm, as in such diseases as cerebral palsy and sydenham's chorea, and may also be seen in neuralgia. In tic douloureux the nerves of the face are involved.

Habit spasms are a type of repetitive twitching movements that seem purposeless or without a cause; they include twitching of the face, blinking of the eyes, and grimacing. The movements are rapid and always repeated in the same way, unlike the spasms associated with chorea. The motions are carried out automatically in response to a stimulus that once may have existed but no longer does.

In a convulsive spasm the entire body is jerked by sudden violent movements that may involve almost all the muscles. These spasms may last from a fraction of a second to several seconds, or even minutes. (See also convulsion.)
Tonic Spasms. If the contraction of a spasm is sustained or continuing, it is called a tonic or tetanic spasm. These are generally severe because they are caused by diseases that affect the central nervous system or brain, such as tetanus, rabies, and cerebral palsy. Severe tonic spasms can be fatal if not treated promptly; continued spasms can bring on exhaustion or asphyxiation. The treatment varies with the cause; if the disease is caused by a microorganism in the system, as in tetanus, antiserum must be administered immediately. Antibiotics are also used to help curb infection. In many cases tranquilizers, sedatives, and narcotics must be administered to help ease the spasms.
bronchial spasm spasmodic contraction of the muscular coat of the smaller divisions of the bronchi, as occurs in asthma; called also bronchospasm.
clonic spasm a spasm consisting of clonic contractions; see also clonus.
infantile s's (infantile massive s's) (jackknife s's) a syndrome of severe myoclonus appearing in the first 18 months of life, and associated with general cerebral deterioration; it is marked by severe flexion spasms of the head, neck, and trunk and extension of the arms and legs. Called also jackknife seizures.
nodding spasm clonic spasm of the sternomastoid muscles, causing a nodding motion of the head.
saltatory spasm clonic spasms of the muscles of the lower limbs, producing a peculiar jumping or springing action.
tetanic spasm (tonic spasm) physiological tetanus.


A sudden involuntary contraction of one or more muscles; includes cramps, and contractures.
Synonym(s): muscle spasm, spasmus
[G. spasmos]


A sudden, involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles.


Neurology An abrupt, violent involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles. See Blepharospasm spasm, Bronchospasm, Carpopedal spasm, Coronary artery spasm, Esophageal spasm, Vascular spasm.


A sudden involuntary contraction of one or more muscle groups; includes cramps, contractures.
Synonym(s): muscle spasm, spasmus.
[G. spasmos]


Involuntary strong contraction of a muscle or muscle group. Spasms may be brief or sustained (cramps) and may result from minor muscle disorders, disease of the nervous system or habit (TICS).


An involuntary, sudden, violent contraction of a muscle or a group of muscles.


Sudden involuntary contraction of one or more muscles; includes cramps and contractures.
[G. spasmos]

Patient discussion about spasm


A. the Pancreas does not have sensory nerves in it. this is the reason why pancreas cancer is the most deadly- you don't realize it's there until it's much too late. so this pain you describe does not ad up to be from the Pancreas.
i think this is a very good reason to see a Doctor.

Q. I ask a client's Dr. to script flexaril for a lower back spasm and he made it for a drug called zanaflex? I am unfamiliar with zanaflex, what is the difference between it and flexaril 25mg? Benefits? Risks? I got him to order the air mattress and extended bed because client is 6'3" and is already bedridden on my 1st day..try to beat the skin breakdown, already stage I decubitis ulcers. I tried to talk the client into slideboard and lift away arm wheelchair...noway..he wants to walk bent with a rolling walker. He already had a lift chair delivered, so he just goes from bed to lift chair. He refuses to let me bathe him. He can't see, and he has me check his draw up on insulin to make sure it's right. He sends the P.T. man right back out the door after he signs the sheet. Difficult pt.!

A. Flexeril and Zanaflex are different drugs but are both muscle relaxants. There are hardly any differences between the two, clinically wise. If the doctor thought one is better than the other for your client I would suggest you take his advice and use the one he gave you.

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References in periodicals archive ?
The participants experienced a decrease in muscle spasm and had pain relief that resulted in less disability and less use of pain medication.
Prevalence of Radial artery spasm was more with higher age group, it contributes 33.33% (5/15) in both 61-70 years group, and >70 years of age group.
Table-III: Diagnostic profile of children with infantile spasm (N=36).
Conclusion: Calcium channel blocker (Verapamil) use with nitrate provided no significant difference in lowering radial spasm during coronary angiography.
What is the frequency of paresthesias and numbness, hyperpigmentation, myalgias and carpopedal spasm in symptomatic hypocalcemia in ss-thalassemia major in sample and population?
Pitfalls in the diagnosis of hemifacial spasm. Laryngoscope 1997;107(4):461-5.
Outcome measures were: spasm cessation, cognitive development, epilepsy evolution, morbidity and mortality.
Patients of either gender between 18 and 55 years of age with acute musculoskeletal spasm associated with pain, as diagnosed by the orthopedic surgeon, were included in the trial.
The patient was started on glycerine trinitrate infusion; the adrenaline and noradrenaline were weaned successfully with complete ST resolution and he was discharged home on the 8th postoperative day with fully controlled diabetes and on 10 mg of isosorbide mononitrate, once daily, as a secondary prevention of coronary spasm for 3 months.
Spasm of the near reflex is one cause for esotropia.
Coronary artery spasm is typically a transient and marked narrowing of a single coronary artery lumen that induces myocardial ischemia.