Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Would a muscle relaxer help my back pain?"
I get back pain especially when I lay down for long period of time like at night when I sleep. Should I start taking muscle relaxers? My friend has a lot of them she said I could have. Will they make my back pain go away?
Muscle relaxants are a class of medications that are sometimes used to treat back pain. Typically they are most helpful for patients that suffer from back spasms, in which patients experience sharp twinges of pain that are associated with the muscles tightening up. These muscles can usually be felt on a physical exam when they are tensed. Muscle relaxants are associated with potential adverse side effects such as sleepiness and decreased mental status, and should only be used when clinically indicated. However, not all back pain is treated by muscle relaxants. Often times, back pain is caused by a strain of one of the ligaments in the vertebral column, or injury to one of the disks located between the vertebrae. In these cases, there is often a large component of inflammation that is best treated by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen. It is often recommended in these circumstances that strict bedrest be avoided, and that daily activities be done as tolerated to avoid further pain aggravation. If you are concerned about your back, then you should visit your primary care physician, who can conduct a thorough medical history and physical exam and come up with a safe and appropriate treatment for the specific diagnosis behind your back pain.
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