Muscle relaxants are also not recommended for pregnant women, and people with a history of depression or substance abuse problems.
Although most of the existing research doesn’t show any clear differences between the various muscle relaxants in the risk of different side effects they pose, the Best Buy Drug report calls out two of the drugs for specific problems.
(JAMA, Oct 20, 2015) Some people with a muscle pull, spasms or injury, or backache may need to take a muscle relaxant.
They are: Muscle relaxants cause a range of side effects that, as suggested above, warrant care when taking one.
The problem with muscle relaxants — and it’s a big problem — is this: Although the drugs are effective and have been in use for decades, they appear to work by causing general nervous system sedation and by targeting muscle tissue.
You might say: “who cares as long as they work.” That’s a legitimate perspective — the precise mechanism of action of many drugs is not known.
They are not affecting the same receptors on the cells.
But you should use other treatment modalities such as physical therapies (physiotherapy, chiropractic therapy etc.) at the same time to allow the injury to heal.
Second, many people aged 65 and older take other medicines that could interact with muscle relaxants in adverse ways — again enhancing the risk of falls or other accidents.
(This is a pdf summary of the findings.) This 2015 report is based on a systematic review of 120 studies by a team of physicians and researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University Evidence-Based Practice Center.
The report also took into account recent reviews of muscle relaxants by the Cochrane Collaborative and treatment guidelines from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society.
If you’ve strained or pulled a muscle, have muscle spasms, or fall prey to back or neck pain that’s mild to moderate in intensity, try non-drug approaches first to ease the pain.
These include use of a heating pad, judicious stretching and mild exercise, relaxation and deep breathing, saunas and hot tubs, massage, and yoga.