Spasms may affect many different types of muscles in the body, leading to many different symptoms and presentations.
Spasms of skeletal muscles are most common and are often due to dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities. The spasm occurs abruptly, is painful, and is usually short-lived. It may be relieved by gently stretching the muscle.
If muscle spasms are especially painful, if they do not resolve or if they recur, medical care should be accessed to look for possible underlying causes.
Smooth muscles that are within the walls of hollow organs can go into spasm, causing significant pain. Often this pain is colicky, meaning that it comes and goes. Examples include the pain associated with menstrual cramps, diarrhea, gallbladder pain, and passing a kidney stone.
A special form of muscle spasms are the dystonias where an abnormality perhaps exists with the chemicals that help transmit signals within the brain. Examples include torticollis and blepharospasm. Treatment may include medications to help restore the neurotransmitter levels to normal and Botox injections to paralyze the affected muscle and relieve the spasm.