- A brief, automatic jerking movement. A muscle spasm can be quite painful, with the muscle clenching tightly. A spasm of the coronary artery can cause angina. Spasms in various types of tissue may be caused by stress, medication, over-exercise, or other factors.
* * *A sudden involuntary contraction of one or more muscles; includes cramps, contractures. SYN: muscle s., spasmus. [G. spasmos]- affect spasms rarely used term for spasmodic attacks of laughing, weeping, and screaming, accompanied by marked tachypnea.- anorectal s. SYN: proctalgia fugax.- cadaveric s. rigor mortis occurring irregularly in the different muscles, causing movements of the limbs.- canine s. SYN: risus caninus.- carpopedal s. s. of the feet and hands observed in hyperventilation, calcium deprivation, and tetany : flexion of the hands at the wrists and of the fingers at the metacarpophalangeal joints and extension of the fingers at the phalangeal joints; the feet are dorsiflexed at the ankles and the toes plantar flexed.- diffuse esophageal s. abnormal contraction of the muscular wall of the esophagus causing pain and dysphagia, often in response to regurgitation of acid gastric contents.- epileptic s. s. characterized by a sudden flexion-extension, or mixed extension-flexion, predominantly proximal (including truncal muscles), which is usually more sustained than a myoclonic movement but not as sustained as a tonic seizure. Occurs frequently in clusters, with the individual events ranging in duration from myoclonic to tonic seizure components.- esophageal s. a disorder of the motility of the esophagus characterized by pain or forceful eructations after swallowing food. Esophageal muscle contractions are of excessive force and duration. Chest pain can be confused with symptoms of cardiac or other origin.- hemifacial s. a facial nerve disorder, with onset in late adult life, characterized by episodes of irregular, sometimes painful, myoclonic contractions of various facial muscles; triggered by voluntary or reflex movements of the face, s. typically begins in the orbicularis oculi muscle and then spreads; occasionally a sequela of Bell palsy, but more often the result of proximal compression of the facial nerve by an aberrant blood vessel or neoplasm.- infantile s. brief (1–3 seconds) muscular spasms in infants with West syndrome, which often appear as nodding or salaam spasms. SYN: salaam convulsions.- intention s. a spasmodic contraction of the muscles occurring when a voluntary movement is attempted.- nodding s. 1. in infants, a drop of the head on the chest due to loss of tone in the neck muscles as in epilepsia nutans, or to tonic s. of anterior neck muscles as in West syndrome; 2. in adults, a nodding of the head from clonic spasms of the sternomastoid muscles. SYN: salaam attack, salaam s., spasmus nutans (1).- salaam s. SYN: nodding s..- saltatory s. a spasmodic affection of the muscles of the lower extremities. SYN: Bamberger disease (1), Gowers disease (1).- winking s. SYN: nictitating s..
* * *spasm 'spaz-əm n1) an involuntary and abnormal contraction of muscle or muscle fibers or of a hollow organ (as an artery, the colon, or the esophagus) that consists largely of involuntary muscle fibers2) the state or condition of a muscle or organ affected with spasms <the renal artery went into \spasm>
* * *n.a sustained involuntary muscular contraction, which may occur either as part of a generalized disorder, such as a spastic paralysis, or as a local response to an otherwise unconnected painful condition. Carpopedal spasm affects the muscles of the hands and feet and is caused by a reduction in the blood calcium level (often transitory, as in hyperventilation).
* * *(spazґəm) [L. spasmus; Gr. spasmos] 1. a sudden, violent, involuntary contraction of a muscle or a group of muscles, attended by pain and interference with function, producing involuntary movement and distortion. 2. a sudden but transitory constriction of a passage, canal, or orifice.
Medical dictionary. 2011.