What does a muscle spasm feel like?

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.

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About the Author

Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.