Back Pain and Muscle Relaxants
Muscle relaxants are usually prescribed along with rest, physical therapy, or exercise. While these drugs are effective in relieving muscle pain due to injuries, they do not work well in managing other types of pain.
Commonly prescribed muscle relaxants include:
- tizanidine (Zanaflex)
Effect of Muscle Relaxants on Back Pain
Muscle relaxants are usually used for acute muscle problems, but they are sometimes incorporated into the treatment of back pain conditions that cause painful muscle spasms. They are effective for short-term symptomatic relief of acute and chronic low back pain caused by strains and other injuries to the muscles. These drugs help ease discomfort by preventing muscle spasm. Muscle relaxants act on the central nervous system.
Side Effects and Warnings
Some people complain of the following symptoms when using muscle relaxants:
- blurred vision
- dry mouth
- dizziness confusion
- lightheadedness, or lowered alertness
These side effects usually go away as the body adjusts to the drug drug. Some also experience clumsiness or unsteadiness.
Because muscle relaxants work on the central nervous system, they may increase the effects of alcohol as well as other drugs that slow down the central nervous system. Anyone who takes muscle relaxants are advised against activities that might compromise their safety and performance, these include driving and operating machinery until they find out how the medication affect them.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend the long-term use of muscle relaxants.
Inform your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:
- kidney disease
- recent heart attack or irregular heartbeat
- overactive thyroid
- hepatitis or other liver problesms
- history of, or current drug or alcohol abuse
- problems with urination