Thursday, March 13, 2008


Muscle relaxants for a herniated disc

How It Works
Muscle relaxant medicines relax muscles and may help reduce pain in people who have muscle spasms.

Why It Is Used
Muscle relaxant medicines are used when muscle spasms develop because of pain caused by a herniated disc.

Valium is not recommended for use by pregnant women, older adults, or people with depression or a history of drug or alcohol addiction.

How Well It Works
Muscle relaxant medicines are usually helpful for reducing the pain of muscle spasms. Muscle relaxants may help to relax muscle spasms caused by a herniated disc, but muscle relaxants will not affect the herniated disc itself.

Side Effects
Side effects of muscle relaxant medicines include:

Dry mouth.
Likelihood of addiction with regular use of diazepam (Valium) and carisoprodol (such as Soma).
Urinary retention.

Soma carisoprodol
Flexeril cyclobenzaprine hydrochloride
Valium diazepam
Skelaxin metaxalone
Robaxin methocarbamol
Norflex orphenadrine citrate

Medicine can decrease low back pain and reduce muscle spasms in some people
. But medicine alone is not an effective treatment for low back pain. It should be used along with other treatments, such as exercise and physical therapy.

Medication Choices
but research has not proven them to be helpful. These include
Painkillers (acetaminophen, opiates).
Epidural corticosteroid injections.

Muscle relaxants are also used sometimes, but they can have significant side effects, such as drowsiness. Some people develop a dependence on the drug. For some people, the benefit from muscle relaxants is not worth the risk of side effects or dependence.3

Medicine for chronic low back pain
There are no medicines that have been proven to reliably decrease chronic back pain, but several medicines are likely to be beneficial. These include:6

Painkillers (acetaminophen, opiates).
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Anesthetic or corticosteroid injections.
Antidepressants (such as tricyclics), muscle relaxants, epidural corticosteroid injections, and anticonvulsants have all been prescribed for chronic low back pain, but they have not been researched enough to know whether they are effective for most people.

You may also hear of people having facet joint injections of anesthetic or corticosteroid for low back pain, but research has shown this to be ineffective or even harmful.

What To Think About
When making treatment decisions, bear in mind that medicines that work for some people don't work for others. Let your doctor know if the medicine you are taking is not effective. There may be another option to help control your back pain.

Botulinum toxin A (Botox) injection into the back muscles for chronic low back pain is an experimental treatment.



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