Do I Need A Muscle Relaxer
Muscle relaxers are usually prescribed for acute pain conditions due to their risk for misuse and addiction. We often worry about taking pain pills for their high addiction capacity. Many people dont realize the high risk of abuse and addiction that applies to muscle relaxers too. Carisoprodol, for example, is a type of muscle relaxer that comes with a relatively high risk of addiction because of its strong relaxing effect. Some of these drugs have a tranquilizing effect that makes you feel calm when you use them.
All of these factors go into the decision your doctor makes when prescribing muscle relaxers. Even if you are given one, it might take more than one to find the one that works best for you.
If you have a painful condition that involves the muscles, you might be given one of these medications. Stopping muscle spasms can help reduce your pain while your body heals. The medication also improves the mobility of the muscles. Considering the potential for harmful side effects, it is important to provide your prescribing doctor with a complete medical history. Women should also let their doctor know if they are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Some muscle relaxants are rated safer for use during pregnancy than others.
What Is Cyclobenzaprine Used For
Cyclobenzaprine is a muscle relaxant used in addition to rest and physical therapy for short-term relief of muscle spasm associated with acute, painful musculoskeletal conditions. It is structurally related to the tricyclic antidepressants drug class.
Cyclobenzaprine works by blocking nerve impulses that you recognize as pain and is often combined with over-the-counter pain medications like:
Treatment with cyclobenzaprine usually lasts no more than 2 to 3 weeks.
Didnt I Hear That Nsaids Dont Work Well For Back Pain
You did. A 2017 study found that NSAIDs did not work well for back pain. But, recommendations released that same year take that conclusion even further: it may be best to avoid medications altogether at least at the start.
The American College of Physicians 2017 guidelines for the treatment of low back pain based on a review of more than 150 studies. The big news? Medications tend to have only temporary and modest benefits, so it makes sense to try something other than a pill. The specifics depend on the type and duration of back pain.
For new low back pain , try:
- spinal manipulation, as with chiropractic care.
If these dont work, NSAIDs or a muscle relaxant are reasonable options. But given their potential to cause side effects and their modest benefit, they arent the first choice.
For chronic low back pain , try:
- physical therapy
- mindfulness-based programs intended to cope with or reduce stress.
Other approaches, such as tai chi, yoga, or progressive relaxation techniques may also be helpful.
If these dont work, treatment with NSAIDs, tramadol, or duloxetine is worth consideration. However, opioids should be avoided for chronic low back pain in most cases.
Its important to emphasize these suggestions are for low back pain that might begin after an unusually strenuous workout or shoveling snow. Its not for serious causes of back pain such as a major injury, cancer, infection, or fractures .
Don’t Miss: How To Cure My Back Pain
Contact A Mn Spine Surgeon
Instead, pick up the phone and connect with a spine specialist who can uncover the true cause of your spine pain and work to find an individualized care plan to help you find relief. Dr. Sinicropi has done that for countless patients in the past, and hed be more than happy to find a solution for you. For more information, or to set up an appointment and talk to him about your spinal discomfort, give his office a call today at 430-3800.
Use In The Elderly: Is It Safe
Cyclobenzaprine use in individuals older than 65 should be avoided in most circumstances as there is a higher risk for dangerous side effects.
Experts have developed the Beers Criteria, a widely known set of guidelines that lists medications to avoid in the elderly due to the potential for serious side effects.
Cyclobenzaprine, a strongly anticholinergic agent, is listed in the Beers Criteria as a potentially inappropriate medication for the elderly 65 years and older.
In general, muscle relaxants like cyclobenzaprine are poorly tolerated in older patients due to anticholinergic effects which can lead to a high risk of:
- drowsiness, sedation
- an elevated risk for falls, possibly leading to bone fractures.
You May Like: How Do You Treat Arthritis In The Lower Back
How Long Did I Personally Use Tizanidine For
In my case and my particular problem, I used it for 3 weeks. Heres why: I went to so many chiropractors, osteopaths, homeopaths, general practitioners, neurosurgeon, neurologist and after seeing my 4th Chiropractor, he actually got to a point that he just had to say you need to have some kind of pain relief steroid injection or medication so I can be more effective and get you better relief and to recover already.
So after many months of severe sciatica and many therapies to go along with it I finally had someone that was pushing me to do something out of my comfort zone so back to my General practitioner I went and asked her to give me something and thats when she gave me the muscle relaxers and even then I only used it for a little while scared again of medications.
Now only using ibuprofen or Tylenol at this point I went to see my friend who is a trigger point therapist and he gave me the last push I needed: he said to me get your muscle relaxers and start taking them all the time so I can actually get to the muscle thats hurting you because your muscles are so tight there is no way I could get in there and do any pain relieving techniques for you. That was my point of a turnaround, when my friend that knows me well told me that to get going with my recovery I would have to take muscle relaxers and some pain relief medicines. Thats when I started with muscle relaxers and pain relief medication on a consistent every day 24 hours a day ritual.
Spinal Alignment: A Lasting Approach To Pain Relief
Lower back disorders, facial pain, TMJ, and headaches are common conditions that can all result from a misaligned spine. Many of the stresses you place on your spine every day can lead to misalignment. Regular adjustments are an effective way to avoid the tightness in muscles that leads to muscle spasms. A chiropractor can help you prevent muscles spasms and avoid the need for medications.
Chiropractic adjustments help align the body and take pressure off of the nerves and soft tissue throughout the body. This reduces the signals sent from the nerves to your brain that cause involuntary muscle contractions to occur.
You can also use several conservative steps including eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated. Making a few changes to your diet and replacing sugary, caffeine-rich drinks with water can help.
It isnt natural to have muscle spasms regularly. A body that is no longer in alignment isnt functioning naturally either. Once a misalignment causes your posture to shift, it affects your entire body.
Muscle relaxers provide a temporary solution for a symptom, not for its cause. They treat muscle spasms and reduce pain instead of treating the muscle or tissue that is sending the nerve signal to the brain.
Alignment restores your body to its original design. Regular adjustments can help reduce or eliminate muscle spasms and the other symptoms that often accompany them. They address the cause of the symptoms instead of treating the symptom itself.
Recommended Reading: What Do I Do When I Have Lower Back Pain
Things To Know About Muscle Relaxants
When you have back pain, your doctor may recommend muscle relaxantsa group of drugs that are typically obtained with a doctors prescription. These drugs have the potential to decrease tension and spasm within a sore muscle, which may reduce pain.
Here are 6 important facts that you must know if you plan to take muscle relaxants for back pain:
Here’s Something Completely Different For Low Back Pain
- By Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
Its a question that has challenged generations of patients and their doctors. The answer has changed over the years. When I was in medical school in the early 1980s, bedrest for a week or more was often recommended for severe back pain. This sometimes included hospital admission. Then, research demonstrated that prolonged bedrest was actually a bad idea. It was no better than taking it easy for a day or two followed by slowly increasing activity, including stretching and strengthening the back.
Medications, including pain relievers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , and muscle relaxants were a standard part of the initial treatment of back pain. But, recommendations released in February 2017 urge doctors to change their approach to back pain once again.
You May Like: How To Stretch Mid Lower Back
Muscle Relaxants: List Of Common Muscle Relaxers
Tense, spasming muscles are often the underlying cause of back and neck pain. If the pain is severe or chronic and does not respond to over-the counter medications, muscle relaxants may be prescribed. Muscle relaxers:
- Reduce skeletal muscle spasms
Muscle relaxers are used in addition to rest, physical therapy, and other measures to relieve discomfort. They are typically prescribed for short-term use to treat acute, painful musculoskeletal conditions. Muscle relaxers are occasionally prescribed for chronic pain .
Muscle relaxers are not a class of drugsmeaning they do not all have the same chemical structure or work the same way in the brain. Rather, the term muscle relaxer is used to describe a group of drugs that act as central nervous system depressants and have sedative and musculoskeletal relaxant properties.
Muscle relaxers may be prescribed to treat back pain:
- Early in the course of back pain, on a short-term basis, to relieve pain associated with muscle spasms
- When back pain causes insomnia
Muscle relaxers are also prescribed for other conditions such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and seizure disorders.
There are several types of muscle relaxer medications commonly used to treat back pain.
Common Medication Treatment To Help Ease Painful Muscle Spasms May Be Included In Your Spine Care Plan
Muscle relaxants are medications that help reduce muscle spasms, which are involuntary muscle contractions caused by a spine-related problem, such as whiplash, fibromyalgia, or low back strain. Often, muscle spasms cause severe pain and may limit your mobility.
Your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant to ease muscle spasms, reduce pain, and help your muscles move better. When your muscles move better, it makes other spine pain treatments, such as physical therapy, stretching, and exercise, more effective.
You May Like: How To Relieve Lower Back Pain Fast
The Best Muscle Relaxants For Back Pain
Muscle relaxants should only be used if NSAIDs are not enough for your back pain.
You should only take a muscle relaxant for about one to two weeks since they have side effects and have not been studied for long-term use.
Also do not take muscle relaxants with alcohol, opioid pain medications, or anti-anxiety drugs that make you sleepy . Combining these drugs with muscle relaxants can make your breathing more difficult.
The best muscle relaxant for back pain is Cyclobenzaprine since it has the most evidence. It does cause sleepiness, however, so do not use it while working, driving, or if you are at risk of falls .
A close second is Methocarbamol , which I have personally used, since this drug does not cause sleepiness. It may be more expensive though.
If you recently hurt your back, read this article: How to Relieve Sudden Back Pain.
When And Why I Stopped Using The Muscle Relaxer Tizanidine
As you know by now at the three-week mark I decided to stop using tizanidine. I decided to do this cold turkey which was a complete disaster and a big mistake which is why I feel strongly like I shouldve tapered myself off of it. Later on, I read that thats what you have to do. Please consult your doctor never try to stop this medication without consulting your doctor first.
In my experience, I got heart palpitations shortness of breath, headaches and just felt very sick and not realizing it had anything to do with stopping muscle relaxers so abruptly. So again please read about any drugs that you start or stop using dont go through what I went through it wouldve been better to just taper off of it slowly instead of going cold turkey. Very dangerous!
Give your body a chance to recover to get back to where you were or you will be on this hamster wheel of pain for longer than you have to.
You May Like: When Do You See A Doctor For Back Pain
Are Muscle Relaxers Addictive
In the U.S. as well as other countries, muscle relaxers are a commonly abused substance. The problem is that these muscle relaxers can be so fast-acting and effective at pain relief that people with chronic pain easily become addicted to them. Addiction often develops when muscle relaxers are used habitually as the main or only method of pain relief.
The number of people winding up in the emergency room because of the misuse or abuse of the prescription muscle relaxant carisoprodol has more than doubled in recent years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that patients take muscle relaxers only for limited periods of time . When some muscle relaxers, like carisoprodol, are ingested, theyre converted by the liver into a chemical with anti-anxiety properties. This means that, even when taking it on its own, patients run the risk of developing a physical and/or psychological dependence on this muscle relaxer.
Similarly to the use of other pharmaceutical drugs, the body becomes used to a daily intake of a muscle relaxer and is then dependent on the drugs in order to function normally. If a typical dose is skipped or intake is stopped altogether, the person is likely to experience withdrawal symptoms. Muscle relaxers can also cause acute liver toxicity.
Muscle relaxers become even more problematic and risky when theyre used in combination with alcohol or other drugs. When this occurs, the side effects associated with abuse are even worse.
Muscle Relaxers Background & History
A muscle spasm results from inflammation that occurs when a muscle is overstretched or torn. A muscle strain doesnt sound like a serious injury, but it can actually cause severe pain for some people, even sending them to the emergency room. Muscle strains or pulled muscles often occur in the lower back.
Muscle relaxers are a group of drugs that reduce tension and spasm in muscles and have an overall sedative effect on the body. Muscle-relaxing drugs are designed to depress the central nervous system.
There are two main types of muscle relaxers: spasmolytics and neuromuscular blockers. Spasmolytics are most commonly used to alleviate pain associated with muscle spasms and muscle spasticity. Muscle spasticity is a neurological condition that causes muscles to be continuously contracted. Examples of these conditions include multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and stroke. Doctors often prescribe muscle relaxers including baclofen, dantrolene, chlorzoxazone, methocarbamol and tizanidine to treat spasticity. To treat muscle sprains, injuries or other acute conditions, your doctor might prescribe drugs such as metaxalone, carisoprodol or cyclobenzaprine.
Neuromuscular blockers are used in surgical procedures and are often used in emergency situations to cause temporary paralysis. The term muscle relaxer or muscle relaxant is commonly used to refer to spasmolytics only.
Read Also: How To Stand With Lower Back Pain
Muscle Relaxants: Part Of A Multidisciplinary Treatment Plan
If your muscle pain doesn’t respond to over-the-counter medications, then muscle relaxants may be a good treatment option to alleviate your muscle spasms. For best results, muscle relaxants should be viewed as part of a treatment plan that may include gentle stretching, physical therapy, and exercisenot the sole treatment. As always, don’t hesitate to discuss your medications and comprehensive spine health plan with your doctor. A solid understanding of your therapeutic options is a strong defense against back pain.
How Do I Know Its Nothing Serious
You dont. But, you should be reassured that the numbers are with you. Ninety-nine percent or more of people with low back pain do not have a serious cause. But to help make sure your back isnt in that small sliver of dangerous causes, doctors use the “red flag” questions:
- Have you ever been diagnosed with cancer?
- Have you experienced unexplained or unintentional weight loss?
- Do you have an abnormal immune system ?
- Do you use intravenous drugs?
- Have you had a fever recently?
- Have you had significant injury to your back recently?
- Have you had bladder or bowel incontinence?
These questions and a physical examination are intended to identify factors that would increase the chances that your back pain is due to infection, tumor, or other serious cause.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Back Pain While Sleeping
Literature Search And Selection
The results of this review must be interpreted against several potential sources of bias involving the literature search and selection process. A language restriction was applied to the selection process in which studies not published in English, Dutch, German, Spanish or Portuguese were not admitted for further review. Although we acknowledge that systematic reviews should aim at inclusion of all relevant trials, independent of language, identifying trials published in any language is difficult, time consuming and costly. We will attempt to include other language trials in a future update of this review. In addition, no efforts were undertaken to track down and include the results of unpublished studies. It was noted that no studies were identified which demonstrated negative results for muscle relaxants. This suggests the possibility of publication bias. It has been demonstrated that medication trials with positive outcomes are more likely to be published .