Although muscle relaxants (also referred to as muscle relaxers or sedatives) are primarily used to treat acute muscle injuries, they have shown to be an effective treatment for pain conditions that involve muscle strains or spasms. These pain management medications can not only reduce chronic lower back or neck pain, but they can increase mobility or range of motion. At the Regional Pain Institute, muscles relaxants are considered one of many pharmacologic (or medical) pain management options. To see if muscle relaxers are the right medication for your acute or chronic pain, contact us to schedule a first appointment and consult with one of our pain management physicians.
How Muscle Relaxants Provide Pain Relief
Muscle spasms from injury often result in pain that can radiate throughout the body. If persistent for an extended period of time, this pain can cause anxiety or stress, which may, in turn, cause another spasm to occur. This is what is known as the muscle-spasm-pain-anxiety cycle. Muscle relaxants work by acting on the body’s central nervous system. Instead of producing a direct effect on the muscle, these medications produce total body relaxation through a depression of the central nerve pathway (or brain), effectively interrupting the muscle-spasm-pain-anxiety cycle. Muscles are self-healing, so in the instance of pain or injury, relaxers mask pain to allow the body time to heal itself.
What to Expect After Taking Muscle Relaxers for Pain
There are a variety of muscle relaxants to choose from; most are available by prescription and administered in tablet form. In some cases, muscle relaxers are administered hypodermically, or by needle injection. If you are a candidate for pharmacologic pain management and muscle relaxants are the preferred treatment, there are a number of side effects and risks to consider. General side effects include double or blurred vision, dry mouth, nausea, sleepiness, and drowsiness. Consequently, these medications should not be taken before driving or operating heavy machinery. Common to most medications used in pharmacologic pain management, risks include addiction and/or dependence. Patients taking muscle relaxers will be asked to use them with caution and under strict physician direction.
The pain management physicians at the Regional Pain Institute will advise you on what treatment option will provide you with the most pain relief. Request your first appointment to stop your acute or chronic pain cycle and start living a better quality of life.