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Muscle Relaxers For
Spinal Disc Pain
Dr. Ron Daulton, Jr.
Muscle Relaxers (sometimes referred to as Muscle Relaxants) are often prescribed in conjunction with NSAID’s (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) or Analgesics (pain relievers) when a person suffers with a spinal disc problem.
Muscle spasms are very common when a person has any type of irritation to a nerve, and that is often what happens when a disc is injured – it will apply pressure to the nerves or spinal cord and cause muscle spasms.
The most common medications in this group that are prescribed are:
- Baclofen (Lioresal, Gablofen, Kemstro)
- Carisoprodol (Soma)
- Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril, Amrix, Fexmid)
- Tizanidine (Zanaflex)
How Do They Work?
These medications work directly on the Central Nervous System, and they affect chemicals in the brain called Neurotransmitters.
If you remember from our previous discussion about how Analgesics work, we talked about Neurotransmitters and I explained that these are chemicals in the nervous system that tell your brain how you are feeling.
So, there are neurotransmitters that tell your brain you’re happy, sad, depressed, etc. Well, there are also neurotransmitters that tell the brain you are experiencing pain (which is what Analgesics affect), and there are also some that make muscles contract and others that make muscles relax.
Muscle relaxers work by either blocking the neurotransmitters that tell muscles to contract, or they increase the ones that tell muscles to relax.
That’s the theory, at least. It actually isn’t known how these work exactly, but they ultimately depress the Central Nervous System and have a sedative effect.
And just like with analgesics, remember that I said it’s very important for you to realize that these are not correcting the problem. The real cause of the problem is the disc applying pressure to the nervous system. If you don’t correct the real problem, the muscles will continue to spasm if you stop taking these.
So you need to look at these as just a temporary help, and these should never be taken for the long–term because of the potential side effects they may cause.
Let’s cover the side effects and drug interactions for these types of medications. You can either click the Next button below to go directly to the side effects, or you can use the links below.
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