Muscle cramps or spasms can occur suddenly due to a number of reasons. This can give rise to tremendous pain and muscle contractions. There are a few ways to get rid of such muscle spasms but the most used remedy for this is muscle relaxers.
What are muscle spasms or muscle spasticity?
Muscle spasms are also known as cramps. They are sudden involuntary contractions of a group of muscles that are commonly caused due to excessive strain. Muscle spasms are usually associated with lower back pain, fibromyalgia and neck pain.
On the other hand, muscle spasticity is a continuous phenomenon that causes muscle spasms. It incurs rigidness, stiffness and tightness to a muscle group which makes it very difficult to make movements by that muscle. This is caused commonly due to injury to the parts of the spinal cord or brain that are associated with movement.
What are muscle relaxers?
For the uninitiated, muscle relaxants are actually medications that people use to treat muscle spasticity or muscle spasms. Prescribed medicines as well as over-the-counter medications are used to treat ached and pains caused by sudden muscle spasms. Muscle relaxers are very popular in treating such muscle spasms as they act quickly and help to relieve the associated discomfort.
What muscle relaxers can be taken to treat such conditions?
Prescription meds can be categorized into two types, antispastics and antispasmodics. Antispastics are helpful in treating muscle spasticity while antispasmodics treat muscle spasms. Some antispasmodics can also treat muscle spasticity, but the reverse is not true.
Antispasmodics (SMR or skeletal muscle relaxants)
Muscle spasms are treated with a combination of physical therapy, rest and centrally acting SMRs. They act by triggering a sedative effect thereby preventing the nerves from sending pain signals to the brain. These relaxants must only be used for 2 to 3 weeks and not more. Long-term usage of such medications might be harmful. One thing to consider though is that these NSAIDs might show side effects to a certain extent.
Muscle spasticity is treated with the help of antispastics. They must not be used in the treatment of spasms. Some common antispastics are as follows.
Baclofen: Spasticity caused due to muscle spasms are relieved with the help of Baclofen. Baclofen appears to block nerve signals from the spinal cord hence stopping the muscle to spasm. There are certain side effects such as drowsiness, fatigue etc.
Dantrolene: Dantrium or Dantrolene treats muscle spasticity caused by injury to the spinal cord, strokes, cerebral palsy etc. It works by directly acting on the skeletal muscle. Common side effects can be observed such as lightheadedness, fatigue etc.
Diazepum: Diazepum or Valium relieves muscle spasticity caused due to inflammation, spasticity, trauma etc. It increases the activity of a neurotransmitter to a certain extent in order to decrease the severity of the muscle spasms. But as it is a sedative it can also show side effects such as muscle weakness, fatigue etc.
Muscle spasticity or muscle spasms can be treated properly with the use of muscle relaxers. Certain muscle relaxers act effectively and solve muscle spasms to a certain extent.