Muscle Relaxers are medications which affect the skeletal muscle function. The actual term “muscle relaxer” refers to two chief groups of therapeutic drugs called spasmolytics and neuromuscular blockers. Spasmolytics, also called “central acting muscle relaxers”, are often used to diminish musculoskeletal pain, as well as muscle spasms. Neuromuscular blockers have no CNS activity and work by intercepting diffusion at the neuromuscular end plate. These particular muscle relaxers induce paralysis and are often used in surgical procedures. While both are considered muscle relaxers, the term is usually limited to spasmolytics.
Muscle relaxers are typically prescribed for discomfort associated with musculoskeletal injuries, particularly spine injuries. People who have slipped discs or other painful conditions associated with back injuries may be given these drugs to help relax the surrounding muscles and alleviate pain. In addition, patients who suffer from muscle spasms associated with fibromyalgia, or pain caused by arthritis may be given muscle relaxers. Muscle relaxers are also commonly used to improve sleep patterns in people who suffer from chronic conditions which cause severe muscle pain.
Food and Drug Interactions.
Muscle relaxers should never, under any circumstances, be taken in conjunction with any alcoholic beverage as this could lead to severe complications or even death. In addition, certain antihistamines, cough medications, and other drugs used to treat allergies or colds, which may make a person drowsy, should be avoided. Always check with a physician before mixing any prescription medications.
The most common side effect associated with muscle relaxers is drowsiness and sedation. For this reason, doctors will usually recommend that patients taking these drugs refrain from driving or operating heavy machinery. Other less common side effects include lethargy, confusion, dizziness, as well as toxicity if used in combination with counter active medications. Overdose is a concern with these drugs and there is also a possibility of dependency.
In conclusion, muscle relaxers have proven effective in treating a variety of painful disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Many studies have indicated that these drugs are much more effective when combined with analgesics such as acetaminophen. While there is no muscle relaxer that is considered superior, or more effective than the next, the possible side effects of each should be the determining factor when prescribing a specific drug in this class of medications. In addition, different forms of muscle relaxers are used for different disorders and conditions.