Muscle spasm symptoms

Muscle spasm, also referred to as muscle cramp, is a reflexive contraction of muscles that occurs suddenly. Often, it is painful and resolves quickly. Muscle spasm is very different from muscle cramps. A muscle twitch is a fine movement of a segment of a large muscle that can be seen under your skin. 

Muscle spasm is commonly encountered in the thighs, hands, feet, and even arms. Other places muscle spasms are likely to occur are in the abdomen and along the rib cage. They’re usually harmless but can cause discomfort since the affected muscle won’t work properly for the time being.

Muscle spasms in legs occur for a short period and are not serious but can be quite painful. But, there are some tricks to relieve the pain, like stretching and adopting home treatments such as massage, using heat, etc. 

Anyone can experience muscle spasm problems. The good thing is that it is not a serious problem. In this guide, you will learn how muscle spasm happens, possible causes, symptoms to watch out for, and how to treat it. So, read on to discover more.

Some Of The Major Muscle Spasm Symptoms  

Muscle spasm symptoms can vary depending on the location and cause of the spasm. However, there are common signs associated with this condition that you should note;

  • Sudden pain: One of the muscle spasm symptoms you will notice is a sudden sharp pain in affected muscles. You will feel intense pain in the affected muscles that occur suddenly without warning.
  • Muscle stiffness: You may experience muscle tightening, stiffness, or tension before the muscle spasm. This feeling may also be rigid or hard.
  • Muscle twitching: With muscle spasms, the affected muscle may move (twitch, jerk, or contract) without being in control. The movements can be noticeable, especially when the muscle spasm is extreme.
  • Muscle contractions: Severe muscle spasms often lead to muscle contraction, where the contracted muscle or group of muscles are painful and tight. The muscle will feel hard on touch as it firmly contracts.
  • Limited motion: Movements of the affected muscle or joint could be blocked or limited as well during the muscle spasm. Furthermore, trying to actively use the muscle will worsen the pain and discomfort with the spasm.
  • Muscle soreness: Another one of the muscle spasm symptoms is muscle soreness where the muscle feels sore, and tender. You will also feel muscular ache in the affected muscle once it has disappeared. Such soreness might last longer sometimes, being between several hours to even several days.
  • Cramping sensation: People with severe muscle spasms feel cramping sensations or lumps in the affected muscles. This cramping can be accompanied by throbbing pain or aching.
  • Muscle weakness: Muscle spasms can also be accompanied by muscle weakness and fatigue. You may notice your strength has reduced in affected muscles before the problem happens.
Note that muscle spasms are temporary and can resolve on their own with time by applying some remedies. But, if the pain is severe or persistent, you should consult a professional doctor for proper treatment.

Different Causes of Muscle Spasms

The causes of muscle spasms are diverse. It can happen due to insufficient nutrients, overuse of muscle, muscular tension, high demand for blood flow, or an underlying medical condition.

Some Of The Muscle Spasms Causes:

  • Dehydration: Insufficient water in the body and an imbalance of electrolytes like sodium can hinder the muscle cells from getting the necessary nutrients, thus causing them to be highly susceptible to random contractions. Those working in hot places like factories are at high risk of experiencing muscle spasms.

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  • Tension: Muscular tension from exercising or holding one position longer without stretching muscles can also be one of the causes of muscle spasm. Also, strenuous exercises may lead to muscular tension, which could result in high demand for blood flow to muscles. Therefore, if your body can’t meet these demands of the cells in your muscles, muscle spasm in legs are likely to occur.
  • Electrolyte imbalance: Imbalance in the levels of electrolytes can also result in severe muscle spasms. If the levels of calcium or potassium are low, you are more likely to experience muscle spasms. These imbalances result from several factors like poor diet, medications, excessive seating, etc.
  • Muscle fatigue: Prolonged muscle use without enough rest would also lead to muscle spasm in legs. This is common in athletes or people engaging in strenuous activity. 
  • Certain medical conditions: Some conditions like kidney diseases, diabetes, and thyroid disorders may increase the risk of getting a muscle spasm.
  • Nerve compression: Another trigger of muscle spasm is compression of the lumbar spinal cord. This happens when the cramping of legs worsens while walking longer distances.

Treatment for Muscle Spasm

There are home muscle spasm treatments that can be used to relieve the pain, and it can work for most people. However, studies have limited evidence to back up the claims. Taking more water can help ease the pain of the muscle spasm because of dehydration. A person with painful cramps may try various methods to ease the symptoms. For instance;

  • Stop doing intense exercises such as running for a long time.
  • Massage or stretch the muscle affected.
  • Use a heating pad to make the muscle relax.
  • Apply an ice pack to soothe the sore muscles.

If the muscle spasm is a result of a neurological condition, your doctor will apply the right technique to treat the problem.


Muscle spasms are very common and not alarming. Some of the common causes of muscle spasms include dehydration, tension, medical conditions, and more. This problem goes away over time, and it can quickly heal when you try muscle spasm treatment remedies at home. Just try stretching, massing the affected muscle, and using a heating pad to relieve the pain.

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Q1. How long does the muscle spasms last?

Ans:Muscle spasms can last about 15 minutes or longer. During this period, you may also experience more muscle spasms before completely subsiding.

Q2. Does stress cause muscle spasm?

Ans:Stress is also a cause of muscle spasms, so it is important to try home treatments to manage the problem.

Q3. Will I feel chest pain if I have muscle spasm?

Ans:If you have chest pains, get medical help from a professional healthcare provider. Muscle spasms are usually reflex contraction of muscles and tend to go away.

Q4. Who is at a high risk of getting muscle cramps?

Ans:Any person can get muscle spasms, but it’s common in older people, overweight people, athletes, pregnant women, and those with medical conditions.