Sometimes, your doctor will prescribe muscle relaxants in combination with
an NSAID or other drug for pain and inflammation
when you first have back pain. They work through the central nervous system
(brain and spinal cord) to tell your muscles to relax. They do not work directly
at the muscles. They have been shown to be effective at relieving muscle spasm
and pain in patients with acute back pain.
Examples of muscle relaxants include:
- Carisoprodol (Soma)
- Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Methocarbamol (Robaxin)
Possible side effects
Side effects from muscle relaxants are common and include:
- Nausea or vomiting
These medicines also have the potential for abuse and addiction.
You should not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking muscle relaxants.
You should also not drink alcohol while taking these medications.
People who should not use muscle
You should not take muscle relaxants if you have:
- Hyperthyroidism (an over-active thyroid gland)
- Heart failure
- An abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
You should also not use this type of drug if you take a monoamine oxidase
(MAO) inhibitor (like isocarboxazid, phenelzine, and tranylcypromine), used
If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant in the near future, or breastfeeding,
do not use muscle relaxants.
Review Date: 4/6/2007
Reviewed By: Benjamin D. Roye, M.D., M.P.H., Orthopaedic Surgery, The Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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