Looks at muscle relaxant drugs to treat low back pain. Includes generic and brand names such as carisoprodol (Soma) and metaxalone (Skelaxin). Covers why they are used and how well they work. Includes info on possible side effects.
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How It Works
The muscle-relaxing effects of these medicines are most likely the result of their ability to depress the central nervous system.
Why It Is Used
Muscle relaxants can be helpful when severe muscle spasms follow the start of low back pain.
Muscle relaxants are not recommended for use by pregnant women, older adults, or people who have depression or a history of drug or alcohol addiction.
How Well It Works
Muscle relaxants may improve acute or chronic low back pain, muscle tension, and mobility. But side effects are common.footnote 1
Possible side effects of muscle relaxants include:
- Drowsiness or dizziness.
- Possible addiction or dependence.
- Dry mouth.
- Urinary retention.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Muscle relaxant medicines work best when they are taken before bedtime. They should not be used by a person who needs to drive or operate machinery.
Use of muscle relaxants is restricted to short-term use to avoid addiction.
Current as of: November 29, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff