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Doctor insights on: What Is The Difference Between A Muscle Spasm And A Muscle Cramp

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What is the difference between a muscle spasm and a muscle cramp?

What is the difference between a muscle spasm and a muscle cramp?

Spasm vs cramp: Muscles in our body contract and relax consciously and unconsciously. A muscle that involuntarily contracts without our consciously willing it is called a "spasm." if the muscle maintains a sustained "spasm", it becomes a cramp, as can be seen with exercise. The muscle cramp is thus an involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscle that does not relax despite our desire to relax the muscle. ...Read more

Dr. Laurence Badgley
1,619 Doctors shared insights

Muscle Spasm (Definition)

Muscle spasms are typically painful involuntary muscle contracures which can occur in any part of the body, such as the neck, back and legs. There are various causes of muscle spasms such as recent injury or trauma and dehydration. Typically, patients can modify activity, rest, stretch, utilize heat or ice for treatment of muscle spasms. Rarely, patients can also ...Read more


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What is the difference between muscle spasms and muscle cramps? I have cervical spondylosis and I call it spasms. Accurate?

What is the difference between muscle spasms and muscle cramps? I have cervical spondylosis and I call it spasms. Accurate?

No: You are referring to 3 different diagnoses, tho they are related. Muscles spasms are intermittent as in on and off. A cramp is unrelenting that is constant w/o intermittent relief. Both can be caused by spondylosis, which is a type of dislocation of the vertebra in the spine, putting strain and tension on ligaments and tendons, which leads to the mucsular pain. Txs are avalable. Talk to your dr. ...Read more

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What is the difference between a muscle cramp or muscle twitching due to low potassium?

What is the difference between a muscle cramp or muscle twitching due to low potassium?

Cramps hurt: A cramped muscle is a painful, tight and involuntary contraction of most of its fibers (think charlie horse). A twitching muscle is when a few of its fibers spontaneously rapidly contract; release and contract again, but painlessly. ...Read more

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Are there exercises I can do to relieve leg muscle spasms, cramps?

Are there exercises I can do to relieve leg muscle spasms, cramps?

More than exercise: Exercise means to most people using your muscles, and this can cause the spasms and cramps. Stretching, flexibility exercises, hot packs, even topical creams are the remedies. But you must know why you are getting these cramps. There can be many reasons, from simply poor nutrition to serious diseases. See your doctor! A simple thing to try, as long as you are healthy is magnesium citrate. ...Read more

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How to get rid of muscle spasm or cramp in foot?

How to get rid of muscle spasm or cramp in foot?

Water: You should check to see how much water you are drinking. You should also see if you are getting enough potassium into your body. ...Read more

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Is there one medicine for spasticity and muscle spasms? Associated with neuropathy. Which is recommended??

Is there one medicine for spasticity and muscle spasms? Associated with neuropathy. Which is recommended??

No: There are multiple medications we use for muscle spasticity to varying degrees of help including flexeril, zanaflex, soma, baclofen, Valium, and skelaxin (metaxalone) just to name a few. Discuss directly with your doctor what would be best for you. ...Read more

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High blood sugars and muscle spasms and cramps treatment?

High blood sugars and muscle spasms and cramps treatment?

Treatment depends on: Whether you are an established diabetic, or just starting to be one, or just sick from other things like viruses and allergies. High blood sugar is usually a warning sign of diabetes, but other hormonal conditions can cause that. Or high intake of sugars. Are you on insulin? or are you an athlete or body-builder on steroids? Need more info my friend. Thanks for trusting in HealthTap. ...Read more

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How can I reduce the cramps/muscle spasms in my foot during ballet?

How can I reduce the cramps/muscle spasms in my foot during ballet?

Tape feet: There are mutiple causes of cramps to your feet during ballet. The most common is small muscle fatigue in the foot. Try taping your foot to support the arch; rolling your arch area over a tennis ball prior to exercise, and using an analgesic cream, and you may want to start drinking some tonic water (which contains quinine) that helps eliminate the cramping. See your podiatrist if unsuccesful. ...Read more

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After having my 3rd child by c-section 4 years ago. I now get either muscle spasms, cramps in my lower abdomin. Not sure what to call it, happens when I bend/lean over. Muscle get really hard and is painful. What could this be and why is this happening?

See you doc: You need an exam and ultrasound, you may need a laparoscopy or robot you may have pelvic adhesions which can sometimes be fixed scarring may involve the uterus, muscles, abdominal wall bladder and or bowels, if your doc does not feel comfortable treating it, then u should be referred, the more csections u have the more chance of scar tissue, that is why I use seprafilm in my csections. ...Read more

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After having my 3rd child by c-section 4 years ago. I now get either muscle spasms, cramps in my lower abdomin. Not sure what to call it, happens when I bend/lean over. Muscle get really hard and is painful. What could this be and why is this happening?

Hard to say: It is hard to say what could be causing such specific spasms; pin-pointing the cause may be dependent on how long it has been since you had the c-section. If the muscle tissue is still regrowing post=operation, there may be some irritation during contraction that is causing the spasm. ...Read more

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After having my 3rd child by c-section 4 years ago. I now get either muscle spasms, cramps in my lower abdomin. Not sure what to call it, happens when I bend/lean over. Muscle get really hard and is painful. What could this be and why is this happening?

Hard to say: It is hard to say what could be causing such specific spasms; pin-pointing the cause may be dependent on how long it has been since you had the c-section. If the muscle tissue is still regrowing post=operation, there may be some irritation during contraction that is causing the spasm. ...Read more

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After having my 3rd child by c-section 4 years ago. I now get either muscle spasms, cramps in my lower abdomin. Not sure what to call it, happens when I bend/lean over. Muscle get really hard and is painful. What could this be and why is this happening?

Hard to say: It is hard to say what could be causing such specific spasms; pin-pointing the cause may be dependent on how long it has been since you had the c-section. If the muscle tissue is still regrowing post=operation, there may be some irritation during contraction that is causing the spasm. ...Read more

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After having my 3rd child by c-section 4 years ago. I now get either muscle spasms, cramps in my lower abdomin. Not sure what to call it, happens when I bend/lean over. Muscle get really hard and is painful. What could this be and why is this happening?

Hard to say: It is hard to say what could be causing such specific spasms; pin-pointing the cause may be dependent on how long it has been since you had the c-section. If the muscle tissue is still regrowing post=operation, there may be some irritation during contraction that is causing the spasm. ...Read more

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After having my 3rd child by c-section 4 years ago. I now get either muscle spasms, cramps in my lower abdomin. Not sure what to call it, happens when I bend/lean over. Muscle get really hard and is painful. What could this be and why is this happening?

After having my 3rd child by c-section 4 years ago. I now get either muscle spasms, cramps in my lower abdomin. Not sure what to call it, happens when I bend/lean over. Muscle get really hard and is painful. What could this be and why is this happening?

Hard to say: It is hard to say what could be causing such specific spasms; pin-pointing the cause may be dependent on how long it has been since you had the c-section. If the muscle tissue is still regrowing post=operation, there may be some irritation during contraction that is causing the spasm. ...Read more

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After having my 3rd child by c-section 4 years ago. I now get either muscle spasms, cramps in my lower abdomin. Not sure what to call it, happens when I bend/lean over. Muscle get really hard and is painful. What could this be and why is this happening?

Hard to say: It is hard to say what could be causing such specific spasms; pin-pointing the cause may be dependent on how long it has been since you had the c-section. If the muscle tissue is still regrowing post=operation, there may be some irritation during contraction that is causing the spasm. ...Read more

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I added 1000 mg of Vitamin D with my multi vitamin I started getting muscle spasms and cramps in my legs and feet. Can the vitamin D be causing this?

I added 1000 mg of Vitamin D with my multi vitamin I started getting muscle spasms and cramps in my legs and feet. Can the vitamin D be causing this?

Yes possible: Vit D deficiency is getting common due to avoiding sun but is good to to maintain normal levels, excessive intake will results in elevated calcium levels, damaging effect on body. You don't have to take every day, check Ca, Vit D levels Speak to your doctor. ...Read more

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I recently bruised my ribs. I'm having severe cramping, muscle spasms in the same area. I can hardly move without being gripped by this terrible pain.

I recently bruised my ribs. I'm having severe cramping, muscle spasms in the same area. I can hardly move without being gripped by this terrible pain.

Fractured ribs: Have you had an x ray following the bruising of your ribs. You may have a fracture d rib. It may be a good idea for you to visit your doctor and discuss the problem with him. ...Read more

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I've been having muscle cramps into the left side of my chest/left breast. Are these coronary muscle spasms?

I've been having muscle cramps into the left side of my chest/left breast. Are these coronary muscle spasms?

No: At your age, very unlikely to have coronary muscle spasm. Your heart is normal, unless I am not aware of a heart condition. However most likely this is an intercostal or rib pain in the area. Also could be do to muscle spasm as well. ...Read more

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Painful muscle spasms, random jolts of pain in hands/feet/wrists, and painful cramps in feet a lot for past 2 weeks but no injuries and I'm only 22?

Painful muscle spasms, random jolts of pain in hands/feet/wrists, and painful cramps in feet a lot for past 2 weeks but no injuries and I'm only 22?

Extremity pain: Can be due to many things. Anything from circulation. Endocrine/hormonal or metabolic issues. Diabetes. Thyroid or even monthly cycles can give diffuse symptoms in all extremities. Start with a thorough evaluation and physical from a primary provider ...Read more

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Just returned from the ER sudden sharp cramp feel under right breast and rib area, eased off a little but still hurts when move dr says muscle spasm?

Just returned from the ER sudden sharp cramp feel under right breast and rib area, eased off a little but still hurts when move dr says muscle spasm?

Intercostal Muscles: Pretty common. Anti-inflamatories, ice, rest. It's usually pretty short lived. If it hurts more when you move and take a deep breath it's likely not cardiac. See your doctor as an outpatient in a few days if it continues. ...Read more

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Having muscle spasms like Charlie horse, and ball like cramp on left foot. Extreme severe pain and reoccurring. She has a thyroid prob (overweight)?

Muscle cramps: May be the result of low magnesium. Your doc can test you for this and other minerals and find out. A more extensive micronutritent test is available through Spectracell lab in TX. Peace and good health. ...Read more

Muscle (Definition)

It is a body tissue that has the ability to contract. It shortens and generates force. It relaxes and returns to its original length. Muscles move joints, stabilize the body, move air and food through the organs, act as valves for bladder, bowel and other organs. They control movement of the eyes. They help us express ourselves by changing the shape of our ...Read more


Dr. Ellen Bondar
441 Doctors shared insights

Muscle Cramps Or Spasms (Definition)

A muscle cramp is a sudden and involuntary contract of one's muscle (s). Such cramps are usually harmless, and may result from certain medications or from long periods of exercise. ...Read more