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Pain and Debilitating Conditions

Muscle Relaxants

Muscle relaxants (often called muscle relaxers or sedatives) are typically used to treat acute muscle problems due to injury, but can be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for the management of chronic pain conditions that involve painful muscle strains or spasms. In instances of chronic lower back pain or neck pain, muscle relaxants can reduce pain and increase mobility or range of motion. There are many categories of muscle relaxants available. When you see our pain management physicians, we’ll help determine if you are a candidate for pharmacologic pain management. If so, we’ll establish whether muscle relaxants are best suited to your condition and prescribe a particular medication to help you find pain relief and control.

While most muscles relaxers are available orally in tablet form, some may be administered hypodermically as an injectable form. Muscle relaxants work to reduce muscle tone and relax tight, tense muscles by interrupting the muscle-spasm-pain-anxiety cycle. Muscles are prone to spasm from a variety of causes, resulting in pain that can radiate throughout the body depending on location. Persistent pain, for any length of time, can cause anxiety or stress which may, in turn, cause a painful spasm to occur. Muscle relaxants do not produce a direct effect on the muscle, but instead produce relaxation through a depression of the central nerve pathway (or brain) for more of a total body relaxant.

General side effects include double or blurred vision, dry mouth, nausea, sleepiness, and drowsiness, and it is recommended that these medications are not taken before driving or operating heavy machinery. As with most medications used in pharmacologic pain management, there is a risk for possible addiction or dependence. These drugs must be used with caution and under the strict direction of pain management physicians. Muscle relaxants may interact with some other medicines. That said, it is important that you disclose all other medications, including over-the-counter or nonprescription medicines, to your doctor prior to initial use, and be sure to report any unusual side effects.