Antispasmodic muscle relaxants may be prescribed for acute and painful musculoskeletal pain or injury. For example, when you “pull” your back and you have reduced mobility and severe spasms, an antispasmodic may be prescribed.
- Flexeril or Amrix (cyclobenzaprine): Cyclobenzaprine is a popular and relatively inexpensive general-purpose muscle relaxant that is often used short-term to treat muscle spasms and muscle cramps. sprains, strains, etc. A typical dose is 5 to 10 mg at bedtime for two to three weeks, although your doctor may approve up to 30 mg daily (taken as 5 or 10 mg tablets every eight hours) if your case is more severe. Common side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness, and fatigue.
- Robaxin (Methocarbamol): Commonly used to treat severe muscle spasms, back pain, and sometimes tetanus spasms, Robaxin (Methocarbamol) is taken by mouth in doses of up to 1500 mg or intravenously in a 1000 mg dose. This dose is usually maximum in the first 48 to 72 hours, then it is decreased. Patients may experience drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision and, with intravenous doses, injection site reactions. However, it is generally less sedating than most other muscle relaxants.
- Skelaxin (metaxalone): Although slightly more expensive than other SMRs, such as methocarbamol, the advantage of Skelaxin is that it offers the same efficacy with a relatively low rate of side effects. In three or four 800 mg doses a day, it acts on the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and can cause drowsiness, dizziness, irritability, and nausea, but metaxalone is not as drowsy as alternatives.
- Soma (carisoprodol): Similar to Robaxin, Soma is generally used to treat pain associated with acute musculoskeletal disorders. Carisoprodol acts on the central nervous system to intercept neurotransmitters transmitted between the nerves and the brain. It is given in doses of 250 to 350 mg three times a day (and at bedtime) for up to three weeks. Common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, and headache. It has also been linked to addiction, so it should be used with caution.
- Lorzone (Chlorzoxazone): This is another SMR that acts on the central nervous system to treat pain and spasms associated with muscle and bone conditions. It is fairly well tolerated despite occasional drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, and malaise. In rare cases, it can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, so doctors often opt for other medications. The typical dose is 250 to 750 mg three to four times a day.
- Norflex (orphenadrine): In addition to treating injury-related pain and spasms, orphenadrine is also effective in relieving tremors in Parkinson’s disease. Some patients may experience dry mouth with palpitations, blurred vision, weakness, nausea, headache, dizziness, constipation, and drowsiness, but usually only with higher doses. The standard dose is 100 mg, twice a day.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Your body makes prostaglandins, a hormone-like substance that irritates nerve endings and creates a sensation of pain. NSAIDs reduce the level of prostaglandins in the body. This reduces the sensation of pain.
NSAIDs are useful for:
What is the safest over-the-counter pain reliever for an aging parent?
For most older adults, the safest over-the-counter oral pain reliever for daily or frequent use is acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol), as long as it does not exceed a total dose of 3000 mg per day.