Spasms and stiffness

  • Man holds his knee

Muscle stiffness and spasms are common MS symptoms, and are often described as 'spasticity'.

Certain things can trigger them, and they can make daily activities difficult. Physiotherapy, drug treatments and other therapies can help.


Muscle spasms or stiffness affect at least 20 per cent of people with MS at some time. Like all MS symptoms, spasms and stiffness affect people differently and can vary over time.

Find out more about spasms and stiffness in MS.

Women experiencing neck pain

If MS causes nerve damage that affects muscle movements, they can cause a range of problems.

Other things - relapses, heat, infections, stress - can also make spasms and stiffness worse.


Investigating potential trigger factors that cause or make your spasms or stiffness worse is a vital step in finding solutions.

Find out more about causes of spasms and stiffness.

Spasms and stiffness can range from a minor annoyance to problems that make daily life and activities uncomfortable, painful and difficult.


Person massaging their stiff knee

Spasms sometimes cause particular problems at night. 

Find out more about the effects of spasms and stiffness.

The effects of spasms and stiffness vary widely, so treatment needs to be tailored to your own needs and abilities. Health care professionals will assess your spasms or stiffness and how they affect you.


Lady receiving physiotherapy on her leg

Management might include physiotherapy and exercise, drug treatments, electrical stimulation therapies, TENS, surgery or aids and equipment.

Find out more about managing spasms and stiffness

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