Spasm V Spasticity V Jerky legs ???

So then after 4 years of having this crap illness I still get confused with the explanation given for spasm and spasticity .

Basically my legs get very heavy and tight throughout the day, especially first thing in the morning getting out of bed, sometimes I just cannot lift them, so I’m guessing you would call this spasticity ?

But once I sit down in the evening I tend to get jerky legs that I have no control over, also whilst this is kicking off (excuse the pun), my left leg seems to pull in at itself, really tight then relax, followed by some more jerking.

This can last for a few minutes or a few hours !

So is this spasms as opposed to spasticity ?

My MS clinic including the MS physio just seem to combine the two saying its all basically the same, which if I’m honest I think is just an easy way out of not really knowing how to explain the differences !!!

So personally, as always I think it’s best just to ask the opinions from real people who suffer the same problems.

Super tight muscles are usually described by the neuros as high in tone so are due to spasticity. Whereas spasms are the kicking reflex whereby a muscle tightens and relaxes all on its own. See Spasticity and spasms | MS Trust

I hate both. I particularly hate bloody spasms in my right leg that cause my right foot to dorsiflex all on its own, when it won’t do it on command, hence foot drop.

So the heavy, tight legs are spasticity and the squeezing and relaxing of muscles are spasm. Bloody annoying that they are from the same root, which is why we get confused by the two terms. Obviously not as annoying as both spasms and spasticity.

And I think the two things are related which is why the neuros and physics conflate the two, but that doesn’t help when you’re the bugger suffering either / both.


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Interesting noting the difference/explanation.

Something reminded me the other day (no idea what!) that before most of the other fun/symptoms started I used to, more often than not, have my right foot cramp into a straight lock from big toe all along - which just found an annoyance but had never noted it with all the stuff now and guess I assumed that everyone’s foot would cramp/lock if they stretched it in the bath!

Seeing neuro in December and not sure whether to mention it or whether to just put it down to cramp!

Any thoughts?

Spasticity and spasms are two aspects of the same problem. Here’s my explanation.

The nervous system controls our muscles. MS affects the nervous system by damaging the nerves. There is a constant stream of signals between our muscles and the central nervous system.

When these signals get disrupted they send the wrong messages to the muscles, so they tighten up or don’t work or shudder between the two - which results in jerks or spasms.


Partner says he’s had the foot cramp thing so will ignore that one lol!

I take 600mgs Magnesium to help with spasms/spasticity which really works

I use a magnesium spray for jerking or pain in my feet and knees. Got mine from Holland and Barrett. It never fails. :slight_smile:

I’ve toyed with Magnesium a few times, but to be honest I’ve never really noticed a difference with or without.

Oddly though the last time I tried it I did start having awful tense headaches and when I googled this I found a number of references to Magnesium overload.

The symptoms were identical to mine at the time.

headaches, tense stiff neck, nausea.

Could of ben a coincidence though ?

Were you taking it orally?

I like the spray because being topically applied, I can direct it to exactly where I need it and it avoids any stomach problems etc

yes orally 100mg x 4 daily