You have some stubborn muscle pain that just won’t go away. It’s affecting your life in all aspects – you feel pain at work, when playing with your kids or trying to move around by yourself, even when you’re trying to sleep.
The pain is unbearable and you want something to alleviate the pain. Don’t worry, you’re in luck. A number of different over the counter muscle relaxants are available to you.
Pain Relievers for Muscle Relief
When it comes to pain relief, many doctors recommend taking acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) as the first approach since it has the least amount of side effects compared to other drugs. However, that isn’t to say it’s not without its risks.
For instance, one should not take more than 4 grams (4000mg) in a 24 hour time frame. Exceeding that amount may cause fatal damage to your livers.
If that doesn’t work, there are still other options. The next step is to try some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Some examples of NSAIDs are ibuprofen and naproxen. These are non-prescription, over the counter drugs just like acetaminophen. NSAIDs can help reduce inflammation or swelling around a swollen disc or injured muscles.
It is important to read the instructions on the labels of these drugs and follow them without error. Taking both acetaminophen and NSAIDs in high doses or for extended periods of time can lead to severe side effects.
Some examples of severe side effects include:
- Stomach Ulcers
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
For NSAIDs, some of the minor side effects or stomach pains and or bleeding. If you experience any of the aforementioned, please contact your health care provider immediately.
If you intend on taking the aforementioned for longer than one week, as a precaution, also tell your doctor as you may need to be closely monitored for any side effects.
Additionally, sometimes your doctor may recommend a specific group of drugs known as muscle relaxants. This is a misnomer, as these drugs affect your brain and spinal column, both of which affect the muscles thereafter.
The muscle relaxants are often recommended alongside over-the-counter pain relievers (mentioned above) that alleviate the symptoms of muscle spasms or back pain.
Below is a list of some muscle relaxants:
- Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
- Methocarbamol (Robaxin)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Carisoprodol (Soma)
Some common, minor side effects of muscle relaxants are:
The above medicines may be addictive. This is due to their effectiveness – patients do not wish for their pain alleviating effects to end, so they take more and more and build up an addiction.
This is extremely dangerous as these drugs can cause some serious side effects.
Be sure to be in constant communication with your doctor regarding these drugs and their effects if you are worried. These medications may also interact with other medications and make certain pre-existing conditions worse.
Lastly, be sure not to drive or use any heavy machinery (e.g. Power tools or large vehicles) as you may be impaired and will be at risk of accidents. Also, do not consume any alcohol while on these medications.
Photo Credit: The Javorac