5 Muscle Relaxing Medications Commonly Used for Pain Management
What are muscle relaxants?
Muscle relaxants are a group of medications that have an overall sedative effect, musculoskeletal relaxant properties, and central nervous system depressant. They are prescribed to reduce muscle spasms, which can cause severe pain and limit mobility.
A health care professional typically prescribes a muscle relaxant to reduce muscle spasms or muscle spasticity, decrease pain, and improve muscle movement. There are several types of muscle relaxing medications that treat pain conditions; however, the five most commonly prescribed include baclofen, chlorzoxazone, diazepam, metaxalone and tizanidine.
Baclofen belongs to a class of medication called skeletal muscle relaxants. It is used to treat chronic neurogenic conditions that cause spasticity. Problems related to muscle tightness or spasms can be eased with Baclofen. Baclofen is available in a tablet or liquid form and can be prescribed to those over 12 years old. Common side effects include, but are not limited to, nausea, vomiting, confusion, drowsiness, headache, and muscle weakness.
Chlorzoxazone is a skeletal muscle relaxant prescribed to treat acute muscle strains. It is not recommended for those with liver disease. It relaxes muscles by acting on the central nervous system (CNS). Chlorzoxazone is available in tablet form. It is currently unknown if it is safe to take during pregnancy. Potential side effects include, but are not limited to, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, and red or purple urine.
Diazepam is a sedative that treats alcohol withdrawal, anxiety, and seizure disorders, such as epilepsy. It can also ease back pain and muscle spasms by reducing nerve activity. It may be habit-forming; therefore, it is only intended for short-term use. Diazepam is not recommended for pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding. It is available in rectal gel, tablet, injection, and liquid form. Side effects include, but are not limited to, drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, and difficulty balancing.
Metaxalone is a muscle relaxant that is available in tablet or injection form. It targets pain and muscle spasms that may be caused by sprains, strains, and muscle injuries. It can affect glucose tests for individuals with diabetes. Metaxalone is not recommended for those who have anemia issues or kidney or liver disease. It is currently unknown if it is safe to take during pregnancy. Common side effects include, but are not limited to, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, irritability, and an upset stomach.
Tizanidine is a skeletal muscle relaxant that is often used to treat autoimmune conditions or spinal cord injuries. It is suitable to take during pregnancy. It is available in tablet or capsule form. Tizanidine absorbs differently depending on whether taken with food or on an empty stomach. It should not be taken by those who have liver disease or are taking fluvoxamine or ciprofloxacin. Potential side effects include, but are not limited to, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, and fatigue.