Spasm is a sudden, involuntary, and extended MUSCLE contraction. Muscle spasms generally last no longer than a few seconds and are quite painful. Spasms may involve skeletal or involuntary muscle. Muscle spasms of the pulmonary system may manifest as ASTHMA or bronchiospasms that, when severe, may interfere with BREATHING. Skeletal muscle spasms may result from overuse, extreme cold, or neuromuscular disorders. Heat, massage, and gentle stretching can relieve muscle spasms. WARM-UP before strenuous exercise and regular activities to stretch and strengthen the muscles help prevent muscle spasm.
See also CHARLEYHORSE; CRAMP; MYOPATHY.