An over the counter muscle relaxer, sometimes also called “spasmolytic“, is ideal for situations when you have pulled a muscle or are experiencing severe back pain or discomfort in your neck. As their name suggest, an over the counter muscle relaxant works by reducing discomfort and pain in the muscles by enabling muscles to relax.
Examples of muscle relaxants include:
WHEN ARE THEY USEFUL?
You might buy an over the counter muscle relaxer at Walgreens to relieve muscle spasms caused by conditions that affect your nervous system. Some of these conditions could be brought about by motor neurone diseases, multiple sclerosis or even cerebral palsy, or as a result of injuries to the neck or the back.
However, you should be cautious about indiscriminately using an over the counter muscle relaxer as they might not always be conducive for your particular condition. For instance, in case of severe muscle injuries, like those suffered by sports people or in workplace related accidents, an over the counter muscle relaxer may not be the ideal treatment without other related therapies/medication.
HOW CAN THEY HELP?
There are several ways that an over the counter muscle relaxer can help. For instance, you may be suffering from muscle spasms, which are the involuntary (or uncontrollable) contraction of muscles in any part of the body. A sudden contraction is rather painful, and over the counter muscle relaxers can help reduce that pain.
Muscle relaxers are also ideal for conditions known as Spasticity, which happens as a result of the tight contraction of a group of muscles, leading them to stiffen and become difficult (painful) to reuse. Using an over the counter muscle relaxant to deal with this situation can help relieve the pain and discomfort felt when making use of spasticity-impacted muscles.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
An over the counter muscle relaxer can work directly on the muscle by helping to reduce stress and inflammation in muscle tissue, thereby helping the muscles to relax and expedite healing of the underlying condition.
For conditions like acute or chronic back or neck aches, physicians might prescribe over the counter muscle relaxers along with other drugs known as Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). This combination of medication helps muscles relax indirectly by counteracting a chemical in our bodies called Prostaglandin, which is instrumental in preventing normal blood flow to the muscles, and in causing inflammation of muscles.
By sending signals to the brain, via your central nervous system and spinal cord, the over the counter muscle relaxer, in tandem with the NSAIDs, commands the impacted muscles to relax.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS
Before picking up your over the counter muscle relaxer at Walgreens, you should be aware of the possible side effects from using such medication, including:
- Signs of confusion or disorientation
- Dizziness and drowsiness
Prolonged use of an over the counter muscle relaxer can sometimes lead to excessive dependence on the drug, which can then transfer into full blown addiction. It might be a good idea to consult with a physician before commencing use of over the counter muscle relaxers, especially if you use drugs like anti-depressants, as they could lead to adverse reaction.