The key difference between twitch and spasm is that twitch is a short muscle contraction leading to a slight pain while muscle spasm is a long muscle contraction that leads to great pain and even muscular cramps.
Musculoskeletal pain is a common occurrence in most individuals. It is characterized by the pain that generates around muscles. Painkillers are the most preferred choice against musculoskeletal pain, whether it’s a twitch or a spasm. Therefore, twitch and spasm are two types of musculoskeletal pains.
What is Twitch?
A muscle twitch, also known as a muscle fasciculation, is characterized by the involuntary contraction of the muscle fibres. Muscle fibres make up the muscles. There are different proteins involved in the contraction of muscle fibres, including actin and myosin. A muscle twitch is created when nerve damage takes place or an adverse stimulation takes place in the muscle fibres. Usually, a muscle twitch can be seen or felt below the skin. This is not an extremely harmful condition. However, if the condition persists, it may result in adverse effects.
There are many causes for a muscle twitch to take place. The primary reason is the overexertion of the muscles. It may be due to over-exercising or following the wrong exercise patterns. This can damage muscular movements and nerve conduction. Furthermore, lack of sleep can also induce muscle twitches. Calcium, Vitamin D and magnesium deficiencies also have a direct impact on the occurrence of the twitches as it can alter the muscular contraction processes. Moreover, dehydration and anxiety, as well as certain medical conditions, can also cause muscle twitches.
Once diagnosed with a muscle twitch, medical advice is given to restrict exercises and strenuous activities; further management of diet and maintenance of a healthy living style are also recommended.
What is Spasm?
Muscle spasm is a prolonged musculoskeletal pain. It is a result of prolonged irregular muscle contractions that take place in the body, especially in the back area. Therefore, this condition is often referred to as the back spasm. It’s a non-specific term and can suggest a wide array of musculoskeletal pains. It mainly suggests the emotional aspect of pain following musculoskeletal damage. The persistence of the pain differs between a spasm and a muscle twitch. Although a spasm is characterized by a distinct pain, one spasm can lead to another, developing a cascading sequence of spasms.
The causes of muscle spasm are similar to that of a muscle twitch. Thus, overexertion and nutrient imbalances along with anxiety, stress and dehydration also result in muscle spasms; however, contractions are long and more painful.
Muscle spasms are usually treated by massaging. However, it is important that the reason for the spasm is diagnosed at early stages in order to reduce the effect of the pain. There are generic muscle spasm drugs that are available to reduce the pain during a musculoskeletal pain.
What are the Similarities Between Twitch and Spasm?
- Twitch and spasm are two types of musculoskeletal pains which are involuntary in nature.
- Both are a result of the contraction of muscles.
- Both can be caused by overexertion, nutrient deficiency, dehydration and mental stress.
- The recommendation is to lead a healthy lifestyle with proper physical activity.
- Moreover, painkillers are the most common form of treatment for the condition.
- Both can be diagnosed based on scanning and x-ray techniques.
What is the Difference Between Twitch and Spasm?
Both muscle twitch and spasm are involuntary in nature. However, the key difference between twitch and spasm is the duration of the muscle contraction resulting in the twitch or the spasm. In muscle twitch, the contraction is shorter. In muscle spasm, the contraction is long; therefore, the pain is persistent.
Moreover, a twitch is comparatively less painful than a spasm. So, this is another difference between twitch and spasm.
Summary – Twitch vs Spasm
Muscle twitch and muscle spasm are types of muscular pains associated with irregular muscle activity and nervous coordination. A muscle twitch is a result of short contractions, giving rise to mild pain. In contrast, a muscle spasm is a result of long contractions, giving rise to greater pains. Both muscle twitches and spasms occur due to the overexertion of muscles, and due to nutrient deficiencies of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. The preferred mode of treatment is massaging or administering pain killers.
1. “HelpRX.” Are You Twitching or Having Muscle Spasms? | HelpRx Blog, Available here.
2. Stern, Lawrence Z. “Muscle Cramps.” Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd Edition., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1990, Available here.
1. “Symptoms-muscle-pain” By CDC – (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Lower back pain” By Injurymap – editInjuryMap – Free Human Anatomy Images and Pictures. Retrieved on 2019-08-10 (CC BY 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia