Muscle Relaxants

Muscle relaxants are a group of medications that reduce the tone and tension in skeletal muscles. These muscles enable you to perform voluntary movements, such as sitting, walking and climbing. The medication causes your entire body to relax by slowing normal biological activities in your central nervous system. The sedative effect of these drugs enables your muscles to relax and prevents muscle spasms. This is why this group of drugs is also known as sedatives.

Each medication within the group provides comparable back pain relief. Your doctor can determine whether a muscle relaxant can control your symptoms and which medication is appropriate for your situation. The assessment will include your medical history, potential drug side effects and the cost of the medication.

What Are Muscle Relaxants Used to Treat?

Muscle relaxants are prescribed to relieve back pain and muscle spasms. Scientists don't fully understand how muscle relaxers relieve pain. One theory is that reducing pain caused by muscle spasms decreases the overall sensation of pain in that area of your body. Pain causes your muscles to spasm. The spasm then reduces your range of motion and intensifies your pain. Muscle relaxants are frequently prescribed shortly after you develop back pain symptoms. Their role is to provide short-term relief. The medication will ease your muscle tension and enable you gain the full benefits of physical therapy.

Muscle relaxants are frequently prescribed in combination with other medications. Common examples include acetaminophen, narcotic pain relievers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The NSAIDs are widely recommended treatment options because they reduce inflammation and pain.

Common Side Effects of Muscle Relaxants

Doctors do not prescribe muscle relaxants for long periods of time because patients can become dependent upon the medication. This is the reason why the drug is prescribed on a short-term basis. Muscle relaxers are not recommended for older people, pregnant women and individuals who have depression or a history of alcohol and drug dependency.

Dizziness and drowsiness are common side effects because of the drug's effect on the nervous system and ability to relax the body. If you take the medication, you should not operate machinery or drive a vehicle. Dry mouth and the inability to urinate are also common side effects.

All muscle relaxants have side effects, but there are several different types of medications within this group of drugs. It is possible that you could experience fewer and less severe side effects than someone else who is taking the same medication.

You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any unusual symptoms. Some side effects can eventually lead to paralysis, heart failure and other serious complications. Ensure that your doctor has a list of all your medications.

Are Muscle Relaxants Are Right for You?

If you have back pain and muscle spasms, ask your doctor whether a muscle relaxant is appropriate for your symptoms. After a thorough evaluation, your doctor can determine the most effective way to treat your spasms and back pain.


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