Using Simple Relaxation Techniques
What Is A Muscle Relaxer
Muscle relaxers, or muscle relaxants, are medications that treat muscle spasms or muscle spasticity by decreasing the bodys muscle tone.
- Muscle spasms, commonly referred to as cramps, are quick and unexpected contractions of a muscle or group of muscles.
- Muscle spasticity is a continuous spasm that causes muscle stiffness or tightness.
- Muscle tone refers to the muscles resistance to stretch in a relaxed state.
Skeletal muscle spasms are the most common type of cramp and come from overuse, muscle fatigue, dehydration, or electrolyte abnormalities. Spasms are usually abrupt, painful, and short-lived.
Causes of Muscle Spasms
Conditions that lead to muscle spasms include:
- Back pain
What Are Muscle Relaxants
Muscle relaxants are medications generally used to relieve pain, stiffness, or uncontrolled movements caused by muscle spasms. Muscle spasms happen when a muscle or a group of muscles contract uncontrollably and cannot relax. The muscle hardens, resulting in symptoms that range from mild twitching to severe pain.
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Tip Sheet: Ten Medications Older Adults Should Avoid Or Use With Caution
Because older adults often have long-term health conditions that require treatment with multiple medications, there is a greater chance of experiencing unwanted drug side effects. Older people can also be more sensitive to certain medications.
To help you make better-informed decisions about your medications, and to lower your chances of overmedication and serious drug reactions, the American Geriatrics Societys Health in Aging Foundation recommends that older people be cautious about using the following types of medications, including some that can be purchased without a prescription .
If you are taking any of these medications, talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Do not stop taking any medication without first talking to your healthcare provider.
Why Is This Medication Prescribed
Cyclobenzaprine is used with rest, physical therapy, and other measures to relax muscles and relieve pain and discomfort caused by strains, sprains, and other muscle injuries. Cyclobenzaprine is in a class of medications called skeletal muscle relaxants. It works by acting in the brain and nervous system to allow the muscles to relax.
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How To Prevent Medication
Not everyone will become constipated when using these medications. However, you should be aware of the possible side effects and what you can do to prevent constipation.
In general, you want to make sure you are well hydrated with water, not coffee or carbonated beverages, says Dr. Curtin. You also want to have a healthy amount of fiber in your diet and try to limit processed foods. It is worth asking your doctor if there are alternative agents. Calcium channel blockers, used for high blood pressure, such as diltiazem, for example, are notorious for causing constipation. If there is another class of medication that can treat the underlying health problem, you should at least be given the option.
Fortunately, there are some relatively simple nonpharmacologic approaches to preventing constipation.
Are Muscle Relaxers Safe During Pregnancy
Taking muscle relaxers increases the risk of experiencing adverse side effects, and that too is not just limited to the mother it can affect the baby as well. Despite that the majority of them are listed in C pregnancy category, some of the side effects can be lower milk supply, excessive sleepiness in infants, etc.
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The Problem With Muscle Relaxants
The problem with muscle relaxants and its a big problem is this: Although the drugs are effective and have been in use for decades, most of them work through the central nervous system, causing general sedation and not by targeting muscle tissue.
You might say: who cares as long as they work. Thats a legitimate perspective the precise mechanism of action of many drugs is not known. And muscle pulls and spasms especially in the neck and/or back can be painful, limiting range of motion and disrupting sleep and normal activities for days. Ive had them, and on occasion, yes, Ive resorted to muscle relaxants.
I would argue, however, that muscle relaxants deserve to be prescribed and taken with much more caution than they are. They are widely prescribed because, of course, muscle pulls and strains, and back pain in general are nearly ubiquitous maladies.
In addition, there are few high-quality studies on muscle relaxants. Thus, the continued widespread use of muscle relaxants isnt backed up by recent research showing the balance of benefits versus risks.
What Can I Take For Constipation
In addition to lifestyle changes, there are over-the-counter laxatives and prescription drugs to relieve constipation. As with any medication, its important to seek professional medical advice from a doctor or pharmacist before using laxatives. Always read the medication guide before using any of the following products. While there are medications that cause constipation, others can cause other digestive problems, like stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. Contact your doctor if you develop diarrhea, as it can be a sign of fecal impaction.
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Should I Use A Laxative To Treat Constipation
Most of the time, constipation doesnt require treatment with laxatives. It will usually go away on its own. Or you can make changes in your diet and other habits. You can prevent or treat constipation by:
- Eating foods rich in soluble and insoluble fiber .
- Drinking enough fluids.
- Getting enough exercise.
You may try all of these things and still be constipated. That is when taking a laxative may help you.
Flexeril Side Effects List For Healthcare Professionals
Incidence of most common adverse reactions in the 2 double-blind, placebo-controlled 5 mg studies :
|Flexeril 5 mg|
The following list of adverse reactions is based on the experience in 473 patients treated with Flexeril 10 mg in additional controlled clinical studies, 7607 patients in the post-marketing surveillance program, and reports received since the drug was marketed. The overall incidence of adverse reactions among patients in the surveillance program was less than the incidence in the controlled clinical studies.
The adverse reactions reported most frequently with Flexeril were
- dry mouth and
The incidence of these common adverse reactions was lower in the surveillance program than in the controlled clinical studies:
Note: Flexeril 10 mg data are from one clinical trial. Flexeril 5 mg and placebo data are from two studies.
|Clinical Studies With Flexeril 10 mg||Surveillance Program With Flexeril 10 mg|
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Acute Back Pain May Benefit More From A Muscle Relaxant
While treating acute musculoskeletal back pain, a short course of muscle relaxants may be more effective when used as an adjunctive treatment in the first 3 weeks. They may also be used when back pain causes disturbed sleep .3
These drugs exert their muscle-relaxing effects by inhibiting nerve signals in the brain and spinal cord and may help break the pain-spasm-pain cycle, where pain causes your muscles to spasm as a protective response, and those spasms, in turn, cause more pain.3
Dietary Strategies For Managing Ibs Symptoms
Dietary changes are usually the first line of treatment for IBS. There isnt one single formula for changing your diet instead, the approach should be based on your symptoms and any food-related triggers that you notice.
Avoid gas-producing foods. If bloating and gas are problems for you, it may help to avoid items like carbonated beverages, caffeine, raw fruits, and cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Though increasing your fiber intake is recommended, go slow when adding foods high in fiber to your diet too much too soon can cause gas, triggering IBS symptoms.
Cut back on rich foods. Particularly if your symptoms include diarrhea, you may benefit from reducing your intake of fatty foods, which can stimulate contractions in your colon. Caffeine can do the same thing, so reducing your intake can also improve diarrhea.
Go gluten-free. If diarrhea is a problem, you may benefit from cutting out foods that contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
Avoid FODMAPs. Some people with IBS respond to cutting out FODMAPs, an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols certain carbohydrates that arent well digested in your small intestine. This group includes fructose, lactose, fructans, and sugar alcohols.
You may need to work with a dietitian or nutritionist to drastically reduce FODMAPs in your diet, then gradually reintroduce foods to see if they cause symptoms.
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They Must Be Discontinued Gradually
If you’ve been taking a muscle relaxant for an extended period, don’t abruptly stop taking it one day. Doing so may set you up for some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and trouble sleeping. When these drugs need to be discontinued, doctors typically taper the dose gradually before stopping the medicine.
It’s good to keep in mind that muscle relaxants are just one part of pain control for your back problem. To keep back pain from returning, your doctor may recommend other treatments, such as physical therapy and exercise, ergonomic changes at work, and/or epidural steroid injections.
Medications That Cause Constipation
| | |
Constipation is a common digestive issue. Around 16% of people in the United States and one-third of those over the age of 60 complain of chronic constipation. Between 2006 and 2011, constipation accounted for more than 700,000 trips to the emergency room.
Symptoms of constipation include:
- Fewer than three bowel movements per week
- Small, hard, dry stools that are difficult or painful to pass
- The need to strain excessively to have a bowel movement
Some people experience pain in their abdomen when they are constipated, especially after meals. Some might have nausea, vomiting, headaches, or feel generally unwell.
There are many causes of constipation, including:
- A low-fiber diet
- Ignoring or delaying the urge to defecate
- Travel and schedule changes
- Pain or discomfort around the anus
- Colorectal cancer
- Medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis, hypothyroidism, high blood calcium levels, multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons disease, and spinal cord injury
Constipation can be uncomfortable, but it can also lead to complications such as:
- Rectal prolapse
- Fecal impaction
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Physical Side Effects Of Muscle Relaxers
As with many medications, there are numerous side effects possible from muscle relaxers. These include upset stomach, nausea and vomiting. Some brands may cause an unpleasant taste or dry mouth. The most common side effect when taking muscle relaxers is drowsiness, and this is found with many patients.
Side Effects Of Muscle Relaxants
Muscle relaxants are widely used to treat muscle pain and muscle spasms due to conditions ranging from cerebral palsy and spinal cord injuries to muscle strains. Although muscle relaxants are effective in alleviating pain and uncontrolled movements, there are potential side effects you should be aware of before taking muscle relaxants.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Muscle Relaxers
Muscle relaxants are most commonly used to ease skeletal muscle pain temporarily. These are sedatives that relax and depress the central nervous system, thereby alleviating the pain. These are generally used in addition to therapies to ease pain, mainly back ache. They are so composed as to give instant relief to pain. Continuous and frequent usage of these sedatives leads to some major side effects and addictions which will be discussed here.
What Is Cyclobenzaprine
Cyclobenzaprine oral tablet is a prescription drug thats available as the brand-name drug Fexmid. Its also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in all strengths or forms as the brand-name drug.
Cyclobenzaprine also comes as an oral extended-release capsule.
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Drink Plenty Of Fluids
Water plays a large part in keeping your body healthy. It is essential for keeping fecal matter flowing through the intestines. Although most people have heard that you should drink six to eight glasses of water a day, you might not need to consume that much. Four to six cups of water per day are generally enough for healthy people, according to Harvard Health.
Some medications cause you to retain water, and some health conditions require you to limit your fluid intake. If you are taking medications that cause constipation, you should talk to your doctor about how much water you should be drinking.
Side Effects Requiring Immediate Medical Attention
Along with its needed effects, tizanidine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking tizanidine:
- pain or burning while urinating
- unusual tiredness
- seeing things that are not there
- shortness of breath
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking tizanidine:
Symptoms of overdose
- dizziness, faintness or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying position
- irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
- lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
- pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
- severe sleepiness
- unusual tiredness or weakness
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Muscle Relaxants Are Typically A Second
Scientific evidence and medical consensus indicate that back pain must be treated first with pain-relieving medications, such as acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . If these treatments fail, doctors may prescribe skeletal muscle relaxants for a short duration.1,2 Examples of prescription skeletal muscle relaxants include cyclobenzaprine and carisoprodol.
Research isnt very robust on the use of muscle relaxants for back pain. The use of these drugs may also be considered controversial by some physicians.1
Check The Cause Of Your Constipation And Eliminate It
It is important to check the cause of your constipation. not all constipation is primary or idiopathic. some medical conditions, medications, and hormonal imbalances can lead to constipation.
Check your doctor for overlooked causes of constipation and eliminated them if present such as:
- Medications: many antibiotics, IBS medications , blood pressure, anti-anxiety, and anti-depression medications can lead to constipation.Review the list of medications with your health care provider to determine what is best for you.
- Endocrinal disease: hypothyroidism, hypokalemia, panhypopituitarism.
- Neurological diseases: diabetic neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, intestinal pseudo-obstruction, Multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons disease.
Identifying and treating any causes of secondary constipation will help the relaxation of sphincter muscles in the long term.
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What Is The Best Muscle Relaxer
Its difficult to declare one muscle relaxant better than all others because each type has its own advantages and uses. In general, pain relief treatments fall into one of three categories: over-the-counter , prescription, and natural. Determining the best muscle relaxer depends entirely on your specific condition and pain level. When in doubt, consult your healthcare provider.
Over-the-counter remedies: OTC pain relievers are often the first line of defense against pain, inflammation, and tension. They can work wonders for milder conditions like neck and lower back pain. Typically, your doctor might start you out on an OTC medication, and if that doesnt provide the relief you need, he or she may write a prescription for something higher-grade.
Prescription drugs: For more chronic pain and conditions where OTC medications just wont cut it, your doctor may prescribe something stronger. Because of their more serious side effects, prescription muscle relaxers are designed for short-term use, after which your doctor will transition to other drugs or treatments.
Natural remedies: For minor soreness and stress-related symptoms, the only treatment you need might be drawn straight from nature. Before rushing off to the doctor for an examination and potential prescription, you might be able to administer an effective plant-based therapy right from home.
Is It Another Condition
You may have something else going on thatâs slowing down your digestion. Several conditions are known to cause such problems:
Irritable bowel syndrome causes belly pain, gas, bloating, and a change in bathroom habits. If you have IBS with constipation , you may notice that your symptoms flare and then normal bowel habits return. Sometimes, bouts of diarrhea or loose stools happen, too.
Diabetes: Constipation is common for people with this condition. Itâs thought that diabetes may affect nerves in the colon, which can slow down the movement of stool.
Hypothyroidism: This happens when your thyroid gland doesnât make enough hormones. This can slow down many of your body functions, including your bowels.
Neurological diseases: Constipation is more common in people with multiple sclerosis, Parkinsonâs disease, spinal injuries, and the neuromuscular disease muscular dystrophy. People with these conditions can have problems relaxing muscles in the pelvic floor which makes it hard to push stool out. Or their colons may work more slowly, leading to fewer bowel movements.
Colon cancer: Constipation and/or a change in the color or shape of your stool can be a sign of this cancer. If itâs red, maroon, or very dark, you could have blood in your stool.
Crohnâs disease: This causes irritation and swelling in any part of the digestive tract. If it happens in your rectum, you may get constipated.
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