Muscle spasms are the result of a muscle becomings inflamed and responding to the stress placed on it. A spasm is possible in all muscle types. Muscle spasms are more severe than the common muscle twitch.
Muscle spasms occur due to an involuntary contraction in the muscle. The spasm is a sudden and painful occurrence that resolves quickly.
A muscle spasm has the symptom of sudden pain in muscle as it begins to contract. The contraction and pain will last for several seconds or up to several minutes. It is common to feel a bulge in the muscle that is spasming.
A spasm occurs in overused and tired muscle, due to the cells being depleted of energy and fluid. This causes it to become hyperexcitable and develop a contraction. Dehydration of the body, injury to the muscle or certain illnesses will also cause muscle spasms.
Stretching the muscle that is having a spasm is the initial treatment as it attempts to pull the muscle back to its full length. Repetitive spasms require an examination by a physician and treatment based on the underlying cause.
Prevention includes keeping the body hydrated, especially during heavy periods of activity. Exercise and stretching keeps the muscles limber and healthy.