Here's a teaser

What do you reckon is the difference between spasm and cramp?


Hi Susi,

I call mine cramps, because nothing visibly moves - i.e. I don’t have an arm or leg fly out involuntarily. But I’m quite sure the muscle is in spasm, because that’s pretty much what a cramp is.

So maybe it’s a distinction without a difference? Is there any practical reason it matters?

Thinking about it, it’s not even strictly true that I never get visible movement, because I can get foot cramps where my toes rigidly divide and won’t go back together (for any Trekkies out there, it’s like the Vulcan greeting, but with my toes).

So assuming I was barefoot, it would be very obvious to anyone it was happening, but I still call it cramp. It feels like cramp. It’s the same phenomenon I’ve always called cramp since childhood - way before MS was in the picture.

Since diagnosis, I do know there’s a pathological reason why they’ve got more frequent and severe, but I’ve never seen any reason to change what I call them. I just consider I get “cramp” more than I used to, and more than most people. I’ve never started calling it spasms.


l hope this helps - The difference between muscle spasm and cramp is the force of the contractions. lf a muscle quickly contracts and releases without pain, it is a spasm. A prolonged and painful contraction is cramp.

Magnesium supplement helps with this problem.

Spasticity - must come in here somewhere. As this causes very stiff joints that will not bend.

1 Like

Thanks for your reply Tina. Sorry no reply before, I miss the email alerts we used to get before MSS ’ upgraded’ the IT on this. I call it spasm. I know the medical difference but I reckon it’s wrong. My toes are the main culprits at night and,ast for ages and us so severe it keeps waking me. I take quinine and clonazapam plus magnesium. Maybe it is more akin to spasticity.

My hands go into claws when I wake in the morning and my hands go into all sorts of weird and painful shales.

there are abductor spasms in my legs at times when they won’t separate as well ( definite description of spasm) but weirdly not as distressing as the above, which by use of the common term ‘cramp’ makes them seem less intrusive and distressing.

Susi x

Thanks for your reply,see my reply to Tina for my thoughts.

MSS should sack their IT guys - the contract was a total waste of money!!