Muscle Relaxants for Neck Pain

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Muscle Relaxants for Neck Pain

Examples

Generic NameBrand Name
cyclobenzaprine 
diazepamValium
methocarbamolRobaxin

How It Works

Muscle relaxant medicines affect the communication between the brain and the spinal cord (central nervous system). They act as sedatives, which most likely causes their muscle-relaxing effects.

Why It Is Used

Muscle relaxants may be helpful when severe muscle spasms follow the beginning of neck pain.

How Well It Works

Muscle relaxants are commonly used to treat muscle spasms in neck pain. But there is little research on their use for neck pain.1

Side Effects

Side effects include:

  • Possible addiction or dependence.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Urinary retention.

These medicines are best taken at bedtime. If you use one during waking hours, strictly avoid driving, operating machinery, or doing similar activities that could be dangerous to you or others if you become drowsy.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Muscle relaxants are recommended only for initial, short-term treatment of neck pain.

Valium is not recommended for use by:

  • Pregnant women.
  • Older adults.
  • People who have depression or a history of drug or alcohol addiction.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

References

Citations

  1. Binder A (2008). Neck pain, search date May 2007. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Donald Sproule, MD, CM, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
Last Revised September 21, 2010

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.