muscle relaxers - an overview

Exercise-induced muscular spasms and spasticity may be treated using muscle relaxers, which are medicines that relax muscles.

Depending on your situation, your doctor may give you a muscle relaxer (often referred to as a muscle relaxant) to treat your neck or back discomfort or to treat some other disease that produces muscular spasms. Having a muscle spasm is defined as a contraction of one or more of your muscles beyond your control, resulting in twitching or cramping. It may take place for a variety of causes, and it can be excruciating on occasion.

The contraction of a single muscle or group of muscles in a spasm or cramp is a quick, involuntary contraction. Too much muscular tension may result in these injuries, which can be painful. In addition to lower back pain, neck pain and fibromyalgia are also diseases linked with these substances.

Back and neck discomfort are often caused by tense, spasming muscles. Muscle relaxers may be given if the pain is severe or persistent and does not respond to over-the-counter medicines. Relaxers for the muscles:

  • Reduce skeletal muscle spasms.
  • Pain reliever
  • Increase the range of motion of the afflicted muscles.

Muscle relaxers are used to alleviate pain in addition to rest, physical therapy, and is a good pain management plan for many people. They are usually used to treat acute, painful musculoskeletal problems in the short term. Muscle relaxers are sometimes given for persistent pain (pain lasting longer than 3 months).

Muscle relaxers are not a drug class, which means they do not all have the same chemical structure or act in the brain in the same manner. Rather, the word muscle relaxer refers to a class of medicines that function as central nervous system depressants as well as sedative and musculoskeletal relaxants. Muscle relaxers are also used to treat various diseases, including fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and seizure disorders.

The Most Effective Muscle Relaxers

Methocarbamol (Robaxin) is a well-studied back pain treatment. It’s also a less costly, effective pain reliever and less sedating than other alternatives. Taken as required, 1500 mg every 6 to 8 hours is a low-cost and well-tolerated alternative for those suffering from severe neck and back pain. Consider using this initially since it is less sedating than other alternatives such as cyclobenzaprine and carisoprodol.

Muscle relaxers, benzodiazepine drugs such as oxazepam and diazepam (Valium) are occasionally given. However, they are not advised since they do not function effectively, are sedating, and may develop a habit. There are much better alternatives to benzodiazepines for neck and back muscular discomfort.

Baclofen is mainly used as a pain reliever for spasticity in individuals with spinal cord injuries or multiple sclerosis. Drowsiness affects up to 20% of those who take it, and there are better alternatives for neck and back muscular discomfort. Neither is it the first option.

Tizanidine (Zanaflex) is often used to treat spasticity in individuals who have multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy. Spasticity is a condition in which the muscles contract continuously, resulting in tightness and stiffness. In comparison trials with Baclofen for such situations, tizanidine had fewer side effects – yet they both perform as well. However, this is not a first-line treatment for acute neck or back muscular discomfort.

Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) will make you drowsy at a normal dosage of 10 mg to 30 mg per day. If you use it during the day, cut your 10 mg pill in half and take 5 mg to reduce drowsiness. Interestingly, studies have shown that 5 mg three times a day works just as well as 10 mg three times a day. Cyclobenzaprine is a good initial option since it is a low-cost generic, but its sedative side effect restricts its usage throughout the day. It may also produce greater dry mouth, particularly in the elderly. If this is a problem, think about a non-sedating alternative.

Taken in the form of 800 mg tablets Based on clinical trials, metaxalone (Skelaxin) had the fewest reported adverse effects and the lowest sedation potential among the muscle relaxers when taken 3 to 4 times per day. Stated, it is the most well-tolerated muscle relaxant. Metaxalone is a generic version of the brand medication Skelaxin, although it is still costly. Insurance companies are reluctant to cover it since there are less expensive alternatives. Having said that, it works just as well as cyclobenzaprine and carisoprodol but with fewer side effects and less sedation, so that spending cash may be worthwhile.

Side-Effects Of Muscle Relaxers

Muscle relaxers, like other medications, have a variety of potential adverse effects. However, they are not experienced by everyone, and they typically improve as your body adapts to the new medication. Muscle weakness is a common adverse effect of most muscle relaxers. It is not feasible to include all of the potential adverse effects of these medications in this leaflet. However, a list of the most frequent adverse effects is provided below. You may also want to explore natural home remedies that provide relief without having any negative side effects to your health.

Methocarbamol:- Amnesia; allergic responses; anxiety; impaired vision; a sluggish heart rate; feeling confused or disoriented; headache; heartburn; feeling or being nauseous; itching; rash; and low blood pressure.

Diazepam:- Sleepiness, weakness, or lightheadedness, forgetfulness, feeling confused or unstable, feeling (or being) violent are all possible symptoms.

Baclofen:- Experiencing nausea and vomiting, feeling tired, feeling drowsy, vision problems, headache, dry mouth, breathing difficulties, aching muscles, sleeplessness or nightmares, confusion, unsteadiness, an increased need to pass urine, shakiness, increased sweating, skin rash.

Tizanidine:- Dizziness,  nervousness,  depression,  vomiting, the arms, legs, hands, and feet feel tingly as if they are on fire,  sour taste in the mouth,  constipation,  diarrhoea,  pain in the stomach,  heartburn, more severe muscle spasms,  rash and sweating.

Cyclobenzaprine:- The feeling of having a dry mouth or throat, stomach aches and pains, headache, a hazy vision, there is a decrease in appetite, stomach aches and pains and diarrhea.

Metaxalone:- Dizziness, stomach ache, vomiting, headache,  nervousness,  skin or eyes that are yellow in colour, bruising or bleeding that is out of the ordinary, unusual tiredness or weakness seizures.

Muscle Relaxers for Pain Management

Muscle relaxers are a diverse group of structurally unrelated medications with varying pharmacologic and safety profiles classified as a single drug class. Muscle relaxants are an effective plan management technique that is commonly utilised to treat two conditions: spasticity and spasms.

Tense, spasming muscles are a common cause of body pain. If the pain is severe or chronic and does not respond to over-the-counter medications, muscle relaxers may be prescribed. Muscle relaxers and rest, physical therapy, and other measures are used as pain reliever and significantly improve pain management. They are typically used in the short term to treat acute, painful musculoskeletal conditions. Muscle relaxants are sometimes prescribed to treat chronic pain (pain lasting longer than 3 months).

These drugs may help alleviate pain and improve movement and range of motion. Still, your doctor will most likely advise you first to try acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). In some cases, over-the-counter medications will be sufficient to relieve your pain.

Sometimes the first muscle relaxer prescribed by a doctor does not work as well as expected. If the first prescription is ineffective, it may be necessary to try another. Many drugs interact with muscle relaxers, and a person should keep their health care provider informed of all prescription and non-prescription medications they are taking.

Muscular relaxers may be an effective therapy choice if over-the-counter medicines do not ease your muscle discomfort. Muscle relaxers should be used as part of a pain management strategy that includes moderate stretching, physical therapy, and exercise, not as the only treatment. As usual, don’t be hesitant to discuss your medicines and overall pain management plan with your doctor. Muscle spasms may be greatly reduced by having a comprehensive knowledge of your therapy choices.


How Muscle Relaxers Work?

Muscle relaxants operate by causing the muscle to relax, resulting in the muscle no longer contracting. Some of them operate on the central nervous system, while others work directly on the muscle tissue. Muscle relaxants are only available with a prescription and are typically available in tablet, capsule, or liquid form. Some are administered as injections, while others are sprayed into the mouth with cannabis extract. The doctor will prescribe a pain management plan and medication that is appropriate for your particular situation. This kind of medicine is not available for purchase over the counter. Never give out your prescription to anybody else, and never take someone else's muscle relaxants. It is also important not to combine them with antihistamines or alcohol. The various muscle relaxants on the market each have their own unique action. Some are more appropriate for usage in certain circumstances than others. Despite the fact that all of these medications may induce drowsiness, they vary in the other side effects that they produce as well. Some cause nausea, stomach discomfort, black urine, and yellowing of the skin or eyes, while others cause loss of appetite and vomiting. Others induce dizziness, headaches, and general muscular tremors and weakness. Some adverse effects are minor, while others may be life-threatening. Some muscle relaxants may become addictive if used over an extended period of time. The various medicines on the list of muscle relaxers work in different ways. Some are more suited to certain circumstances than others. Although all of these medications may induce drowsiness, their other side effects vary. Some cause loss of appetite, nausea, stomach discomfort, black urine, and skin or eye yellowing. Others induce dizziness, headaches, or muscular weakness in general. Some side effects are minor, while others are severe.

Home Remedies

ARNICA:- Arnica is a natural muscle relaxer available in the form of oil, cream, and ointment. These properties reduce pain, inflammation, and muscle damage. Good circulation improves wound healing. Carefully apply a blend of arnica essential oil and any other carrier oil to soothe muscle tension. Arnica ointment or balm can be applied to the area several times a day. Arnica is not to be applied to an open wound or cut. ROSEMARY:- It has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce muscle soreness and inflammation. It improves circulation and accelerates recovery. It also treats headaches, rheumatism, and arthritis.  Daily drink rosemary herbal tea. Massage with a mixture of rosemary essential oil and warm coconut or olive oil. Add some rosemary essential oil to a tub of warm water. Bathe for a while to relieve muscle cramps or spasms.  The naturally occurring compound capsaicin is found in cayenne pepper. It relaxes the muscles naturally. It's analgesic and anti-inflammatory, reducing muscle pain, stiffness, and inflammation. CHAMOMILE:- Chamomile, an ancient medicinal herb, works as a natural pain reliever. Flavonoids with anti-inflammatory properties leave a calming and relaxing effect on the body. This helps faster muscle tissue recovery.  Use chamomile essential oil and coconut oil to massage the affected area, and drink chamomile tea every day to relieve muscle spasms.  PEPPERMINT:- Peppermint is a perfect treatment for backaches, leg pain, sore muscles, and tension headaches. The menthol in peppermint reduces inflammation, pain, and spasms, increases circulation and reduces swelling, muscle pain, and other symptoms. Drink peppermint tea daily. To prepare a massage oil, mix sandalwood, almond, and peppermint oils. Rub the affected area to relieve pain. REST:- Rest is perhaps one of the best home remedies and most natural method to relax your muscles. Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of water, and avoid overworking the afflicted muscle. Applying heat or cold to the muscle may offer instant relief. Overstimulated muscles may cause muscular spasms, and ice can assist slow the passage of signals from the brain to the hyperactive muscle.


For more information on how to cure neck pain fast, visit our neck pain page.