How Muscle Relaxants Work and its uses

Muscle relaxants are given to the patients to relieve pain caused due to muscle spasms, which might have occurred due to certain conditions that directly affect one’s nervous system. Conditions that may cause muscle spasms may be as a result of cerebral palsy, disease related to motor neurone and multiple sclerosis. There can be other reasons that lead to tightness or muscle spasms like injuries that continue for long period to back or head or in other cases it can also occur due to short term injury or condition such as whiplash or back pain. Medication is effective in helping muscles relax and reduce discomfort and pain.

There are various muscle relaxants available for example

  1. Diazepam.
  2. Methocarbamol.
  3. Baclofen.
  4. Dantrolene.
  5. Tizanidine.

Most of the above mentioned muscle relaxants are available in form of liquids, tablets and capsules. Baclofen is also available in form of injection to be injected into back and Diazepam is also available in liquid form and can be inserted into rectum.

Sometimes muscle relaxants are also used  for treating other conditions like diazepam is used for treating sleeping problems(insomnia) or anxiety.  It is prescribed as a premedication before an individual undergoes an operation, specifically for procedures that may lead to discomfort or anxiety. It is also used for treating seizures.

Some medicines are injected into patient’s vein during the process of surgery are also called as muscle relaxants. They are basically used to relax patient’s muscle while carrying out surgery.

Muscle relaxants work for treating discomfort and pain

Muscle relaxants make the muscles relax and lessen the stiffness and tension in them, which directly reduces discomfort or pain. Different muscle relaxants work in different ways to do this job like diazepam, Baclofen, tizanidine and methocarbamol work on brain and spinal cord that is central nervous system. Dantrolene acts directly on patient’s muscle. Cannabis works both on central nervous system and muscles.

Muscle relaxants are prescribed when

Muscle relaxants are used to reduce muscle spasms, which otherwise lead to certain condition that can have affect on nervous system like

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Disease related to motor neurone
  • Multiple sclerosis.
  • Long term back or head injuries

Cannabis extract is prescribed by the health consultant in the hospital itself and is normally suggested for people suffering from multiple sclerosis, especially for those who tried other muscle relaxants and they didn’t work for them. it is given for a period of 3-4 weeks to observe if it works for the patient.

Diazepam is basically used to provide relief from pain in lower back, whiplash or neck pain. It is quite addictive and therefore cannot be taken for longer than one or two weeks. Similarly Methocarbamol is also helpful in treating pain in lower back. In this case the pain is mostly due to muscle spasm.

How to use muscle relaxants?

These medicines are normally taken orally ( by mouth) as they are available in capsules, tablets or liquid form. In the beginning doctor may suggest you to start with a low dose slowly increase the dose over a couple of weeks. This is done to make your body get adjusted to the medicine.

Healthy Joints in a Healthy Body

Joints connect our bones. They support the body and help us move. Any damage cause to your joints due to injury or disease can disturb your movement and lead to severe pain. There are different medical reasons that result in joint pain like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, strains, bursitis, sprains and other types of injuries. Joint pain is very common, but it can affect any body part like shoulders, feet, hands and ankles. With age the joint pain becomes more common.

Joint pain can be mild to severe pain. It may heal in a couple of weeks last for many months. If it lasts for few days it is acute and if it is prolonged it becomes chronic. Even if the pain is for short period it disturbs your day to day life. The cause for joint pain may differ, but you can mange pain with physical therapy, medication or alternative treatments.

Some treatments adopted by people for treating joint pain

Injections

Some people who do not get relief from joint pain using topical or oral medications, doctors can suggest injecting steroid medication directly into your joint in period of 3-4 months. People suffering from arthritis, tendinitis or joint diseases often go for steroid injections. Though the procedure proves to be effective the effect can be temporary in some situations. If the steroid injections are used to cover an injury, you might land up overusing your joints and damage it more.

Physical Therapy

You can consult a physical therapist to give you advice on how to strengthen your muscles surrounding the joints, improve your movement and help in stabilizing the joints. The therapist may suggest techniques like cold or heat therapy, ultrasound, electrical nerve stimulation and manipulation.

If you are carrying more weight, losing some weight can help you reduce the excess load of your body on your joints and can be helpful in relieving pain. You can lose weight with the help of exercise as this is the best way to lose weight. Focus on exercises that have low-impact and avoid further irritation of your joint. Bicycling and swimming both are best exercises with low impact and help exercise your joints without any adverse effect on joints. Swimming also helps relieving the pressure on the joint.

Home Care

For short-term joint pain you can adopt simple techniques to get relief from pain and these techniques you can simply try at home.

  • Protect your joint with a wrap or brace.
  • Try resting your joint and avoid any activities that cause further pain.
  • Ice your joint many times a day at least for 15 minutes
  • Compress you joint with the help of wrap.
  • Lift your joint straight above the heart level

Application of ice is of great help and applying it on painful joints can prove to be helpful in relieving inflammation and pain. Do not keep your joint still for a long time as it becomes very stiff and lose its function.

Benefits of Muscle Relaxers

Neuromuscular blockers and spasmolytic relaxers are the two types of muscle relaxers used in today’s hospital and clinics for different kinds of pain and muscle relief. Neuromuscular blockers are used mostly for surgeries to quell pain, while spasmolytics are used primarily as relaxants for tension muscle and spasms relief. Most medications that fall under these two categories are available on the market through prescription only, to relief skeletal muscle pains and residual spasms.

List of muscle relaxers, their benefits and possible users:

People who suffer from arthritis normally use muscle relaxers in order to get more restful sleep. Rheumatologists order muscle relaxers to help force stage four sleeps so that people can feel good and refreshed when they wake-up in the morning. Those who suffer from fibromyalgia can benefit from taking muscle relaxers because it can help relieve body aches, fatigue and stiffness which could lead to poor quality sleep. Muscle relaxers works in the middle; acting to control central nervous system. It can work as a substitute to antidepressant to individuals who is suffering from anxiety disorders. Individuals who suffer from serious tension headaches should also gain from this list of muscle relaxants, mostly if the headache is caused by tensions around the head and neck.

Other ways that muscle relaxers are used:

– Use for severe pain relieve in hospital surgery rooms and other emergency situations to induce paralysis

– Antispasmodic

– Helps reduce the symptoms for fibromyalgia i.e. body aches, burn out and stiffness

– Reduce neck and back pain

– Used for the treatment of acute tension headaches

– Help alleviate pain associated with MPS or Myofascial pain syndrome

– Induce stage 4 sleep.

Mostly used muscle relaxers list:

Carisoprodol (e.g. Soma) – a muscle relaxant which acts to block pain perception from the nerves while acting to calm the central nervous system. It is used for quick relieve of muscle pain, spasms, strains and muscle sprains. It is also used as an antidepressant.

Diazepam (e.g. Valium) – besides easing muscle spasms and pains, it also can help relieve acute withdrawal from alcohol, seizures, and even anxiety associated symptoms. It works on the brain as well as the nerves to give temporary relieve and calming effect on the patients.

Cyclobenzaprine (e.g. Flerexil) – used for the treatment of muscle pain and spasms as a result of musculoskeletal demands. Cyclobenzaprine is mostly taken as part treatment for fibromyalgia.

Metaloxone (e.g. Skelaxin) – essentially strong muscle relaxers that has very little side effects, normally used to relax spasm and reduce muscle pain. More viability is experienced if taken with food.

Methacarbamol (e.g. Robaxin) – muscle relaxer used for the treatment of skeletal muscle spasm which may help relax muscle and lessen muscle pains as a result of strains, sprains, and other muscle stresses.

There are literally over one hundred brands of muscle relaxants readily available on the market to pick from, but there are other things you must know about these medicines also. They could be addictive and habit forming. Always take the medication as prescribed, and always consult with your doctor if you experience any side effects.

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