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Muscle Relaxants = Worse Pain?

XCSwimmer90XXCSwimmer90 Posts: 20
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Chronic Pain
Has anyone ever felt that muscle relaxants have made their pain worse.

I've tried Flexiril (cyclobenzaprine), Zanaflex (Tizanidine), and Skelaxin (Metaxalone). All three work in 3 different ways, ultimately relaxing the muscles. All three have made my pain worse.

I can't explain this. Maybe the muscles around my super tight muscles are relaxing, making the tight muscles work even harder?


  • Muscle relaxers just cause an overall sedative effect. It relaxes all muscles the same, not just certain muscles. Also it does not actually relax the muscles. It tricks the brain into thinking the muscles are relaxed so hopefully they will.

    Muscle relaxers are not for everyone. Also there are more types you can try.

    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • What we can't forget is that no medication is meant to take our pain away...

    Everything we do and take is meant as a building block to lessen the pain.

    So, my regimen includes:

    daily exercising (30-45 minutes),
    daily stretching both in am/pm,
    acupuncture a few times a week when needed, injections with cortisone when needed to help inflammation or trigger point injections,
    aqua therapy to stay loose/limber,
    massage when needed to work out trigger points,
    moved to eating all Organic a year and a half ago to reduce inflammation and improve energy,
    Attended counseling when we knew this was going to be a chronic issue to help me emotinally adjust to all of this.

    Medicines I take are:

    MSContin 30mg twice a day and 15mg added when needed once/twice a day for long acting
    OxyIR 5mg as my breakthrough medication to take as needed
    Flexeril to take for muscle pain when needed
    Ambien one at night to help with sleep which is absolutely crucial in our muscle recovery and immune system repair and pain perception

    So...by just taking a muscle relaxer it will only put a small dent...It needs to be in conjunction with stretching/yoga and exercise to keep muscles strong and limber. (Along with other things I mentioned specifically for the muscles)

    Other things people can add are nerve pain medications. Antidepressants. TENS unit...

    Every one of the things I do or take help take down the pain a bit. One of them on their own would never work...

    I live with a 5-7 on the pain scale each day.

    Living with chronic pain is a new lifestyle...we have to adjust our mindset, adjust our activities, and do everything in our power with our Drs. to bring it down to manageable level.

    Ok...I probably gave you MUCH more than you were asking for...LOL...But with your other posts asking about Cymbalta and such...it "seems" like you are seeking that one thing that will help you...And unfortunately...it's not out there.
  • They could. Every person reacts differently to medication. Muscle relaxer probably won't make you hurt more but perhaps you feel better so you are doing more. Or, Perhaps your body is not compensating while using them so when they wear off, you hurt....who knows.

    But everyone reacts differently like I said so you have to find what works for you.

    I do like the idea of a holistic regimen - I stretch 3x/day and do core stabilizing exercises with them, I try to walk 5 days a week but will admit it is weather dependent. I need to start eating better too. Also, am going to PT which includes deep tissue trigger point based massage, stretching, stim/heat machine, and yes, I have tried trigger point injections (dry) recently and they've helped a little.

    Hope this gives you some insight.
  • Though no specifically pain, muscle relaxants sort of heighten the feeling of numbness on my leg. After wearing off I think my pain is higher for a time.

    Anyway, the one I best tolerate is thiocolchicoside.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,852
    All medications that are prescribed by our doctors have specific targets to resolve.

    Muscle relaxers are no different. They are intended to relieve us of muscle spasms, tightness, etc. Without them, our muscles could tighten, we could have more spasms, which could add to stress, which then could just add to overall negative impacts.

    I've tried almost every type of muscle relaxer over the years , some I think do better overall jobs, but most importantly they help when and where they are suppose to.

    I am very curious about your original thread stating that muscle relaxers seem to cause you more pain..
    Have you ever discussed that with your doctor?
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I agree with the multiple approach theory, though I have yet to receive that.

    I've mentioned this phenomenon to 3 doctors, and they all kind of shrug it off. It's not intuitive at all- why would the muscle relaxants make the pain worse- the spasms worse. I can feel them working, but in the areas where my muscles are already in spasm- they hurt more and are unaffected by the medication.

    I also can't live on these. I just go into a giant fog or comatose sleep and come out 10-14 hours later (with the exception of the Zanaflex). I've tried lower doses and cutting the pills in half.

    Ugh, frustration.
  • Yes, at least in my case. It does seem counterintuitive that they could make the pain worse and I've also had the same "shrug" problem, in which I keep being prescribed these medications, although I can't take them. Someone on another forum said he thought you should only take them "as needed", so only when you have spasms. I haven't tried this yet. I'm trying it tonight as I have spasms that have lasted the entire day today after taking two muscle relaxers last night. I was using them, more often, to sleep at night, as they are so sedating, making it impossible for me to take in the daytime and function. So, perhaps when used "as needed" they will work...I will keep you posted! (I am afraid to take them again, the pain was SO bad today...but if it works....)
    It's comforting to see that others have had this same frustrating, and confusing experience. I'm sorry you're going through this as well- it's terrible that the doctors don't seem to get it.
    raven r ray
  • I have tried skelaxin twice for muscle tightness and pain. Both times my neck muscles tightened up so much it felt like they were going to snap. I've done stretching and see a chiropractor weekly and even he is surprised at how tight they have become. Within a couple days of stopping the medicine, I can feel the tension start to release. Has anyone had success with other medications or options?
  • I have used flexeril many times over a 15 year period. When I use them I hurt other muscles. This has happened so many times. I was just prescribed them by a new doctor and reluctantly I started taking them. They make me tired, to the point I don't want to get out of bed. This is the first time I have taken the long acting version. So I go and do the things I normally do like cut the grass. Then there it goes again, during a 14 day period I hurt 3 muscles while taking this medication. The doctors just shrug it off like I am crazy but it has happened time and time again. When off of this medication I don't hurt muscles like this. Has anyone else ever had this experience?
    Thanks and good luck to everyone.
  • I've taken muscle relaxants on & off (mostly on) for 8 years. I've never experienced increased pain but I have with other meds, Savella (similar to Lyrica) was the worst. After a week of titration I had crippling shoulder & neck pain, as if I'd pulled all of the muscles around there. I researched this & found many who shared this experience. It's as if the med makes you so tense that the pain becomes ongoing.
    For me this side effect went after a couple of weeks of regular dosing as does the sleepiness, dizzy etc of muscle relaxants. Stopping & starting again prolonged the side effects.

    I usually give meds a couple of weeks, after I've titrated to full dose, to see how they're going to feel once my body gets used to them. Some meds are fine & some just make me feel so bad that it's just not worth taking them. In my opinion it's always worth giving a med a good try unless I have very serious side effects like heart palpitations etc.

    I know how you feel. I hate starting new meds & get sick & tired of the roller-coaster of pain management. Sadly, after 8 years I've realized that there's no magic bullet. Managing spine pain is often just management, finding the right blend of activities & medications that work for you. Do muscle relaxants give you some relief?
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • rebelgirl2828rrebelgirl2828 Posts: 1
    edited 10/03/2014 - 4:12 AM
    I am having a similar problem. Personally I think that the muscle relaxers help me sleep better, so I move around less at night and sleeping in the same position all night, makes my lower back hurt more. I take the muscle relaxers to help my neck, but since taking them, my lower back has been killing me. Its the only thing I can think of that would cause me to hurt more in a different place.
  •  Hello

    I've taken all sorts of muscle relaxer's and I find that when I take them I hurt other muscles. It has happened time and time again.  Another thing is after taking them I can feel pain in other places that I have hurt at previous times four instance a torn muscle in my back bothers me after taking muscle relaxers . I tell this to doctors and they look at me like I'm crazy .  So you're not alone .
  • Two things came to mind when I read this post:  Paradoxical medication reaction, and dosage.

    Maybe the posters here who have experienced the opposite reaction of what a muscle relaxer is supposed to do might be having a paradoxical reaction to the medications?  As counterintuitive as it seems, stimulants do WONDERS for people with conditions like ADHD/ADD.  I'm just thinking out loud that perhaps for some people, muscle relaxers may do the exact opposite!!

    Dosage:  In higher doses (and this is coming from one of my doctors), muscle relaxers can actually cause increased muscle rigidity and spasms!!  He (doctor) said he couldn't count the number of times people came to him with complaints about the worsening of muscle-related symptoms despite being on muscle relaxers only to discover the dose simply needed to be adjusted...  

    Englishgirl--Here you LOUD AND CLEAR about it boiling down to management...you said a mouthful, there!!
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 130
    XCSwimmer90 - My experience with muscle relaxants is like your experience, muscle relaxants only make the pain worse.  The only time I find muscle relaxant of value is for acute spasms and limit them to three days.  I've had doctors tell me I'm crazy, but I'm the one living in this body.
  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,140
    I had a time where I had a pretty bad spasm, took flexeril and very quickly it became worse.  Talked with Dr, who then prescribed Valium instead.  The change solved my problem in a day or two.

    Spine-health Moderator

    Read my story at Bruce - My Story
    ACDF C4-C5-C6-C7, and getting better every day
    It has been a process of healing, learning, exercising, and resting - and figuring out when to do which.

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