Muscle relaxants are a type of medication which reduce muscle spasms and tension. They are prodominantly used in treating severe cases of back pain.
The most commonly used form of muscle relaxant is diazepam. Muscle relaxants are most commonly prescribed for back pain, which your Doctor suspects may be caused, at least in part, by muscle spasms. Spasms are uncontrollable muscles contractions, like cramp, which can be very painful. Muscle relaxants can help people to move about more easily and with less pain.
They may also be used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and after strokes or spinal cord injuries.
Muscle relaxants are a form of sedative. They can be classified as either centralling acting, or peripherally acting. The centrally acting muscle relaxants work on the central nervous system to bring about the effect of muscle relaxation. The peripherally acting group work at the neuromuscular end plate to interfere with transmission from the nerves to the muscle.
Muscle relaxants can be used and are often prescribed alongside other painkilling and anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen.
Side Effects of Muscle Relaxants
- Dry mouth
- Urinary retention
Muscle relaxants are only recommended for short term use. This is partly because they carry a risk of dependency if used for extended periods. They are also not recommended for people who have a history of alcohol or drug addiction.
Muscle relaxants are also not recommended for pregnant women, older people, or those suffering from depression.
Due to the possibility of drowsiness, it is recommended that patients do not drive or operate machinery whilst taking muscle relaxants and other sedatives.