Muscle spasm is a condition where involuntary contraction of one or more muscle groups takes place. This condition arises when a tear occurs in the muscles or there is some damage to the ligament, which is also referred to as sprain. Muscle relaxers are medicines that are used to release the spasms caused due to some form of injuries like strains, sprains, etc.
There are various forms of muscle relaxers that are used for this purpose. Carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine, methocarbamol, and chlorzoxazone are some of the most commonly used variants. All of them are available in the form of tablets and some of them are found in the form of injections too. Basically, these relaxers do not cure the pain but have a comforting effect on the spasms and ease off the pain and stiffness of the muscles. They should also be combined with regular exercise, physical therapy, and other medications to obtain the best results.
Uses of Muscle Relaxers
As we have already discussed, muscle relaxers are excellent for the treatment of any kind of spasm or tenderness associated with muscles. Health conditions that lead to such problems are fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndromes, or pain to any particular part of the body like shoulder and neck area or one-sided pain in the body. Headaches caused due to tension or nocturnal leg cramps are relieved with the help of these medications. Muscle relaxers for back pain is well-known to us. They are also effective on certain neurological conditions like any kind of spinal cord or brain injuries, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and spasms occurring as a result of strokes.
When doctors prescribe muscle relaxers, they often advise the patient to take adequate amount of rest. These medicines ease the pain to such an extent that one feels like it has been cured and people resume their normal activities. As a result, some of the side effects may show up. Certain health conditions or prolonged use of these medications could be responsible for side effects too.
Minor Side Effects: Muscle relaxers have sedative effects on the body, which leads to drowsiness, dizziness, lightheaded feelings, weakness, fatigue, and lack of alertness of mind. It can temporarily affect the vision and cause blurred vision or double vision in some people. Therefore, when under such medications, one should avoid tasks like driving or operating heavy machinery. Dryness of mouth or unpleasant taste in mouth may occur in some people. Discoloration of urine is another temporary side effect often associated with intake of muscle relaxers which go when the intake is stopped.
Serious Side Effects: Some of the serious kind of side effects such as difficulty in breathing, change of heartbeat, tightness in chest, and fainting should be given prompt medical attention. Any kind of allergic reactions like itching, skin rash, hives, swelling of face, redness of eye, and stinging sensations should be treated as soon as possible.
Effect on Digestive System: When muscle relaxers are taken for a long period of time it can affect the digestive system. As a result, one may get diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, stomach cramps, heartburn, etc. Some people may get constipation as well, as the normal bowel movements get affected.
Effect on the Nervous System: Muscle relaxers can have an adverse effect on the central nervous system. The minor effects result in confusion, nervousness, trembling, irritability, clumsiness etc. The serious effects may result in respiratory failure or cardiovascular collapse.
Effect on Other Medicines: Muscle relaxers interacting with other drugs may cause some serious health problems. Therefore people with health problems like liver disease, kidney disease, epilepsy, diabetes, and overactive thyroid should consult their doctor before the intake of any kind of muscle relaxers. Lactating mothers should also avoid their intake. Anyone with the history of drug abuse or alcohol abuse can get problems after the intake of muscle relaxers.
When your doctor prescribes any muscle relaxers, you must give information of all kinds of medicines that you are taking. To minimize the side effects, one must strictly follow the instructions given by the doctor.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.