Muscle Relaxers and Muscle Spasms: What You Need to Know

Muscle Relaxers and Muscle Spasms What You Need to Know

Muscle relaxers have been in use for some time now, though many people still are undecided when to use the muscle relaxers especially for back pain.

Today we look at muscle relaxers and when to use them. The most common issue that requires muscle relaxers is muscle spasms. Before we look at the use of muscle relaxers for back pain, let us look at muscle spasms and how they lead to back pain.

Muscle Spasms: The Need for Muscle Relaxers

Lower back spasms occur when muscles in your back tense up and contract. This feeling can be mild to annoying. The causes of muscle spasms in the back include injuries to the tendons, muscles and ligaments that make up the bulk of the back, or can be as a result of a serious medical condition. One of the major causes of back spasms is heavy lifting.

Additionally, any activity that exerts excessive strain on the tissues in your back can lead to injury. Playing sports such as football or golf can also cause back spasms due to the sudden movements that are part of the game.

Your muscles become vulnerable if you have weak muscles that are supposed to support the back. These weak muscles make your back more vulnerable to injury. Spasms in the back might also occur if you have a degenerative disease such as arthritis or a ruptured disc.

Symptoms of Back Spasms

These include:

  • Tension in your back area.
  • Trouble returning to the original position after picking something up or bending.
  • Sudden pain in your back.
  • Prolonged pain in the back.
  • Weakness in your lower back, and adjacent muscles such as the hips.

To this end, various approaches have been used to relieve the tension in the back, one of the latest approaches is to use a muscle relaxer to relieve the tension and treat the pain.

Muscle Relaxers: What Are They?

If you are suffering from back pain due to spasms, your doctor might prescribe a muscle relaxer for the condition. Muscle relaxers refer to a heterogeneous group of medications that work both centrally and peripherally to relax muscles so as to relieve muscle spasms.

Do You Need Muscle Relaxers?

Studies have shown that not every condition that causes back pain can be handled by muscle relaxers. This is why you need to use the medication only if the doctor has prescribed it for your condition. Make sure you use the medication in the dosage prescribed.

The goal of using muscle relaxers is to reduce muscle spasms, relieve pain and to increase mobility of the affected muscles. The doctor usually prescribes the medication if there is acute pain. The relaxers are ideal for short term use because these medications don’t target the muscles directly, but have an overall effect on the whole body.

How Should You Take Muscle Relaxers?

The medications are usually taken orally (liquids, capsules or tablets). The doctor usually starts off with a low dose which he increases gradually over a number of weeks. The aim is to help the body get used to these medications. Some medications come as a spray for the mouth. You need to spray the formulation under the tongue or inside your cheek once or twice each day.

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Do They Have Any Side Effects?

As with most medications, these relaxers have s number of possible complications. The good thing is that not everyone will experience the side effects and they disappear as the body adjusts to the medicine. The biggest side effect is that the relaxer causes muscle weakness. Make sure you communicate any side effect with your doctor when you notice it.

Additionally, muscle relaxers can be addictive; especially for those patients that take them without a prescription or that take more than what the doctor has prescribed.


Muscular spasms can be very painful and debilitating. The use of muscle relaxers can help you relieve the tension as well as the pain. However, make sure you work with a doctor to get the right dosage.

References and Further Reading

1. Back Spasms: Sudden and Painful, But Usually Temporary and Treatable
2. Muscle Relaxants
3. Skeletal muscle relaxants

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