muscle relaxer

It might be difficult to function when your back is stuck in a spasm or your neck muscles refuse to relax. Muscle relaxants are available both over the counter and by prescription, however their efficacy varies.

This article will look at both over-the-counter and prescription muscle relaxers. We’ll also go over what muscle relaxants are, how they operate, and what adverse effects and precautions to take. Finally, we’ll discuss when you should seek medical attention.

Over the Counter Muscle Relaxers

While there aren’t any OTC muscle relaxers, some over-the-counter medications may help treat back pain, spasms, and other conditions that muscle relaxers also help.

Guaifenesin is an expectorant that can help with upper back discomfort and spasms. Check with your healthcare practitioner if you are using guaifenesin (Mucinex) as a muscle relaxant to verify there are no contraindications.

NSAIDs Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) can reduce pain and inflammation, thus these over-the-counter pain relievers may help with short-term back pain or muscle spasms. NSAIDs are also available by prescription at larger doses.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) works by inhibiting the body’s capacity to produce chemicals that cause pain. Because acetaminophen and NSAIDs are distinct types of medicines, medical practitioners may recommend switching between them in some circumstances.

Prescription Muscle Relaxers

Prescription muscle relaxers are stronger than over-the-counter alternatives, but they may have more severe adverse effects.

Methocarbamol (Robaxin) is a muscle relaxer that is accessible over-the-counter in other countries but not in the United States. It addresses back muscular discomfort and has fewer sedative effects than other types of muscle relaxers. According to studies, 44% of those who took methocarbamol for up to eight days experienced muscular pain reduction, compared to just 18% of those who did not.

Metaxalone (Skelaxin) has the fewest negative effects of the muscle relaxers and is less prone to produce sedation. Because it is more expensive than other solutions, it is not covered by all insurance policies.

Carisoprodol (Soma) is a nonbenzodiazepine medication. Since it is a Schedule IV medication, like Xanax, Ativan, and Valium, it is a less often used muscle relaxer. It should be used for no more than 2-3 weeks because it can become habit-forming and has not been demonstrated to be beneficial for extended periods of time. It can induce sleepiness and dizziness and is not recommended for those over the age of 65.

Tizanidine (Zanaflex) is an antispasmodic medication used to treat muscular stiffness in persons with cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis. Tizanidine is less likely to have negative effects than other medications used for the same purpose. While this medicine is useful for persistent muscle spasms, it is not recommended for back pain or acute muscular disorders.

Baclofen The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorised this muscle relaxant for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, spinal cord lesions, clonus, and flexor spasms. It is not commonly used to treat acute back pain, although it may be recommended for people suffering from spinal cord injury. Drowsiness is caused by Baclofen (Lioresal).

Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) is a powerful muscle relaxant that induces severe sleepiness. In elderly folks, it may also cause dry mouth. Because it is readily available and reimbursed by most insurance plans as a generic, it is frequently used as a first-line prescription.

What Are Muscle Relaxers?

  • How Do They Work?

There are two types of muscle relaxers:

Antispasmodics prevent particular neurons in the brain from communicating. They alleviate spasms and stiffness by influencing the central nervous system directly. They are more typically recommended for acute back pain, such as a strained back or a muscular damage.

Antispasmodics act on the spinal cord or skeletal muscles directly. They soothe spasms and relax tense muscles. They are not usually used to treat acute back pain, but are given to address chronic diseases involving central nervous system or spinal cord dysfunction. Antispastic medications are commonly used to treat multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and spinal cord injuries.

While both types of medications can relax muscles and relieve discomfort associated with tight or spasming muscles, they are used for distinct purposes and have different adverse effects.

  • Side Effects

Antispasmodic medicines commonly cause the following negative effects:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Bloating
  • Constipation

Typical side effects of antispastic drugs are:

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Tiredness
  • Problems falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Risks and Precautions

While using drugs for muscular spasms or back discomfort, proceed with caution.

Several of them might cause sleepiness or dizziness, which increases the risk of falling or other accidents.

Muscle relaxants should not be used with alcohol or other drowsy drugs such as antihistamines or sedatives.

Before using muscle relaxants, pregnant or nursing women should consult their healthcare practitioner and pharmacist.

Muscle relaxants may cause higher negative effects in older persons and people who have renal or liver issues.

Inform your doctor about any additional prescriptions, OTC pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, or plants you use to avoid interactions and negative effects.

  • When to See a Medical Provider

See a doctor if you have a rapid onset of muscle spasms or significant discomfort, or if you feel you have a chronic problem with muscle spasms.

Get medical attention if you experience persistent back pain or muscle spasms.

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