Muscle spasms are one of the major symptoms of a pinched nerve. On the contrary, muscle spasms may also cause a pinched nerve. Muscle relaxers are proved to provide relief from the agonizing episodes of pinched nerve. Some people might think that muscle relaxants are or class of drugs. However, it is not so. These are actually a cluster of drugs belonging to different groups.
This medication works on a central level, i.e., on the brain or the nervous system. They have a tranquilizing effect which causes a person to feel less or no pain. Most relaxants tend to be addictive. Therefore, it is necessary to be vigilant about the dosage of the medication. The most popular and effective muscle relaxers used in cases of pinched nerve are explained below.
Acetaminophen is an analgesic as well as an antipyretic. It eases pain resulting from pinched nerve in back, neck, shoulder, leg etc. It is a widely used OTC remedy for managing pain from muscle tension or spasm. It is known to work by restraining the inflammatory response of the body.
It works fairly good for mild cases of arthritis or swelling of a joint, which could be the reason behind a pinched nerve. It helps reduce the ensuing inflammation and pain by raising one’s pain threshold. It is easily available without prescription under the brand name ‘Tylenol’.
Carisoprodol is a drug that is found useful to alleviate the discomfort resulting from a pinched nerve. It works by interfering with the pain signals travelling from nerves to brain. It is a habit-forming drug and must not be taken without a prescription. Carisoprodol should be taken only for a few days, say not more than 3 weeks. Doctors usually prescribe a dose of 350 mg per 8 hours. However, it is vital to be under doctor’s supervision to keep a check on any unwanted side-effects.
It is an analgesic and a sedative. Patients on carisoprodol are advised not to drive or work on machines or engage in any activity that would require them to stay alert. It is strongly advised not to consume alcohol while on carisoprodol, because it increases the patient’s odds to get addicted to the drug. Under the brand name Soma, this muscle relaxer is widely available on prescription.
Patients with epilepsy, renal or liver disorders are usually administered an adjusted amount of dosage, if at all carisoprodol is safe for them, which differs from case to case. Pregnant women, elderly patients and those battling with depression and drug abuse are not prescribed carisoprodol.
Cyclobenzaprine is prescribed in case of acute musculoskeletal pain resulting from a muscle spasm, such as that due to a pinched nerve in the neck. Doctors normally prescribe this drug for short-term relief. The dosage ranges between 5 mg thrice a day to 10 mg once a day, depending upon the condition for which it is prescribed. The benefits of cyclobenzaprine tend to fade away after a couple of weeks, making it ineffective on the pain.
Blurred vision, sleepiness, nausea, weakness, confusion, skin rash, puffiness and palpitation are some of the most common side-effects of cyclobenzaprine. Available only on prescription, cyclobenzaprine is sold under the brand names Flexeril and Amrix.
Usually used to treat anxiety, seizures and insomnia, diazepam is now being used to treat muscle spasms in patients with pinched nerves. The prescribed dose ranges between 5-10 mg every 6 hours. It works by promoting the activity of GABA A receptors. It is a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the nerves. It inhibits the transmission of pain signals by raising the pain threshold. Diazepam is basically a benzodiazepine drug, available only on prescription under the brand name Vallium.
Diazepam is not prescribed to pregnant or nursing women, elderly persons, patients with glaucoma, asthma, renal or liver disorders and people with history of drug abuse. It must not be combined with alcohol, grapefruit and other drugs like carisoprodol. Fatigue, sleepiness, constipation and confusion are the most common side effects of diazepam.
Orphenadrine is an effective medication and is used in cases of muscular injury, spasms and sciatica, which is also a leading cause of pinched nerves in the back and neck. It works by inhibiting the activity of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter and relieves muscle tension, cramps and inflammation. In simple words, it obstructs nerve impulses. This muscle relaxant may be combines with physiotherapy or NSAIDs for a faster relief from pinched nerve. Available under the brand name Norgesic, orphenadrine is combined with caffeine and aspirin for instant relief. Dosage may vary between 60 to 100 mg twice a day, depending upon the severity of muscular pain.
Usually, pregnant or nursing women and children are not prescribed orpheadrine as it does more harm than good. Patients of glaucoma, disorders of the heart or kidney may be prescribed adjusted dosages at the discretion of the doctor.
So, these were the most popular muscle relaxers that are to be taken only on prescription and under doctor’s supervision. However, acetaminophen is an OTC drug. But one must never exceed the recommended dosage. The working of muscle relaxation drugs is very complex and involves the nervous system. Most muscle relaxing medication interact with other medications, causing unwanted and even fatal outcomes. Each remedy has a set of side effects, feeling dizzy and week, impaired physical capabilities and confusion being the most prominent ones.
What muscle relaxant were you prescribed and how well did it work for you? Do share with us about your experience of pinched nerves and your quest for relief from the debilitating agony.