If you suffer from the condition of multiple sclerosis, or MS, and the pain related to that condition, you understand how painful muscle spasms can be, right?
When you have a muscle that has tightened up, it can be extremely debilitating, causing you to cringe with the extreme pain that comes along with it.
This is where a good muscle relaxant can come in.
There are several forms of muscle relaxants available to help offer relief to the short-term pain of specific injuries and there are others that are effective for treating chronic conditions such as chronic back pain and MS.
However, though they are extremely effective for treating these conditions, they also bring along with them some pretty serious side effects that could end up having some life-threatening results.
A muscle relaxant does not heal the condition itself but it does act with the central nervous system to provide some short-term pain relief in some individuals.
You must keep in mind that muscle relaxers can be quite addictive and can have some negative side effects including physical and cognitive impairments.
In addition, be careful if you are on other medications as muscle relaxants can result in some pretty serious dangerous interactions.
Physical Side Effects
Just as with many other medications out there, there are many side effects from muscle relaxants.
Some of the physical side effects include nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach. In addition, there are some brands that can bring with them a dry mouth or an unpleasant taste.
Finally, the most common physical side effects of these types of medications include drowsiness.
Cognitive Side Effects
One of the more serious side effects of muscle relaxants is impairment in thinking and cognitive functioning.
This is attributed to their sedative effect. When you are taking these medications, it is common to feel drowsy, lightheaded, unsteady on your feet, or even less alert.
Some other common side effects include impairment in processing thought, impairment in eyesight, and difficulty making decisions.
Therefore, when you are taking these medications, it’s strongly advised that you do not operate heavy machinery or drive.
Addiction Risk of Muscle Relaxants
Muscle relaxants are a very commonly abused substance and in the United States are considered to be a controlled substance and therefore require the prescription of a physician.
Individuals who have a history of alcohol or drug addiction should never use these medications at all and they should never be used in conjunction with alcohol.
Since these medications do provide pain relief, they can be quite addictive in those that are dealing with chronic pain related to MS.
Once your body becomes accustomed to taking these medications on a daily basis, you are much more likely to become dependent upon them and you may have symptoms of withdrawal if you stop taking them at any time.
Possible Drug Interactions
When you are taking other medications as well as muscle relaxants, you must be aware of potential drug interactions.
When they are mixed with some medications, the effectiveness can increase, which can cause it to become more dangerous.
In addition, some women may experience some dangerous interactions if they are taking estrogen supplements with muscle relaxants.
You should speak with your physician before combining any medications.
Common Muscle Relaxants
Following are a few of the most common muscle relaxants as well as their individual side effects:
The generic name for the medication Skelaxin is metaxalone. This medication is effective for relaxing muscles in that it blocks the pain sensations within the brain.
Skelaxin is most commonly prescribed by physicians for those suffering from muscle sprains and strains as well as some specific musculoskeletal conditions such as scoliosis or bursitis.
If you take excess dosages of this medication, it can be fatal. Therefore, you must take care that you are taking it as prescribed.
Some of the common side effects of this particular medication are nausea, jaundice, dark urine, loss of appetite, and stomach pain.
In addition, you may experience side effects such as headaches, drowsiness, or irritability.
If you have liver or kidney disease or if your physician has said you are anemic, you should not be using this medication as it can worsen these conditions.
The generic name for the medication Flexeril is cyclobenzaprine. This medication works by blocking the sensations of pain from being sent to the brain.
Just as Skelaxin, this medication should be taken as your physician recommends or it can be fatal.
The medication Flexeril brings with it several different side effects. Some of these side effects include blurry vision, loss of appetite, muscle weakness, and drowsiness.
If you experience more severe side effects such as confusion, seizures, numbness, or chest pain you should contact your physician immediately.
Also, be aware that this medication can have an effect on your ability to think clearly and slow down your reaction times.
You should not use heavy machinery or drive when you are using this medication.
If you are currently taking or have taken an MAOI within the last two weeks, you should not use this muscle relaxant as it can have some life-threatening interactions.
This medication is referred to generically as tizanidine and is considered to be a short-acting muscle relaxer that is typically used to treat muscle spasms and tightness, as well as cramping that is caused by MS and other conditions such as spastic dyslagia.
Since it only provides relief from pain on a short-term basis, you should take it when you are going to be participating in activities that could cause spasticity of your muscles.
However, keep in mind that you should never take more than three 36-milligram doses in one 24 hour period as this medication can cause damage to your liver.
Some of the most common side effects of this medication include anxiety, muscle weakness, fever, drowsiness, dry mouth, and skin rash.
Some of the more serious side effects can include hallucinations, burning during urination, slow heart rate, confusion, and feeling faint- all of which will require the immediate attention of your physician.