Which Muscle Relaxers are Effective for Neck and Backpain?

Updated on September 18, 2021

Have you ever experienced a muscle spasm? It may be excruciating & could also restrict mobility, but fortunately, many things could ease the pain in this situation!

Muscle spasms are a widespread occurrence and can happen for many different reasons. Some of the most common causes include injury, illness, or fever – but it’s also possible that you just inherited your parentís cramps!

Spasming muscles, tension are often the underlying cause of neck and back pain. If the pain is chronic or severe & is not responding to over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. In such a situation, the healthcare physician often prescribes muscle relaxants like methocarbamol, cyclobenzaprine, and metaxalone.

Recent studies have shown that combining a muscle relaxant with an NSAID or acetaminophen is more effective than taking either medication alone. Here is the list of effective and reliable prescription drugs for getting relief from the ongoing pain: 

  • Methocarbamol (Robaxin)
  • Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
  • Carisoprodol (Soma)
  • Metaxalone (Skelaxin)
  • Tizanidine (Zanaflex)
  • Baclofen

Methocarbamol (Robaxin)

Methocarbamol, sold under the brand name Robaxin, helps ease muscle spasms, back pain, & occasionally tetanus spasms. It is used along with other physical therapy helping to relax the muscles. The drug was approved by FDA for medical use in 1957 in the US. 

It can be administered orally in up to 1500mg doses or intravenously in 10ml of 1000mg.  Usually, the dosing is higher in the first 48 to 72 hours & it is gradually decreased. Robaxin injections have a beneficial effect in the control of tetanus-induced spasms.

Patients may experience common side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision while at intravenous doses – reactions at the injection site. The FDA has rated methocarbamol as being safe for pregnant women to use, with a C rating. 

However, methocarbamol is less sedative, compared to other muscle relaxants. It is not recommended to patients with renal diseases or failure or a prior history of allergic reaction to the medication.

Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) 

Cyclobenzaprine, sold under the brand name Flexeril, helps ease stiffness, pain, and discomfort caused by injuries or muscle cramps, also known as muscle spasms. The drug was approved by FDA for medical use in 1977 in the US. 

The muscle relaxants can be administered orally and are available in immediate-release tablets of 5mg, 7.5mg, & 10mg, while the extended-release capsules come in the strength of 15mg & 30mg. The maximum recommended dose of Flexeril per day is 30 mg. The drug is not intended for long-term use (more than 3 weeks).

Patients may experience common side effects like drowsiness or dizziness, nausea, blurred vision & dry mouth. The FDA has rated Cyclobenzaprine, making it one of the safest muscle relaxants to use while pregnant, with B rating. 

Flexeril is not recommended for those with heart problems, overactive thyroid, or liver diseases.

Carisoprodol (Soma)

Carisoprodol, sold under the brand name Soma, is generally used to treat pain associated with acute musculoskeletal conditions. It relaxes the muscle and eases pain & stiffness often caused by an injury. The drug was approved by FDA for medical use in 1959 in the US.

Carisoprodol is one of the most prescribed muscle relaxers for muscle spasms, and you may buy Soma online with prescription from a verified pharmacy. It is available in combination with aspirin or aspirin and codeine & it can be administered orally in 250-350mg doses thrice a day for up to three weeks. 

It works by targeting the central nervous system to intercept neurotransmitters being relayed between nerves and the brain. Patients may experience common side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, & headaches. The FDA has rated Carisoprodol with C ratings in its pregnancy safety rankings, the lowest risk category for medications.

Carisoprodol can be habit-forming if taken along with alcohol or other drugs that have a sedative effect. It is a schedule IV drug & has the potential of being abused. People with blood disorders, liver or kidney disease & seizures are advised to avoid Carisoprodol.  

Metaxalone (Skelaxin)

Metaxalone, sold under the brand name Skelaxin, a muscle relaxant helps ease pain and discomfort caused by strains, sprains, or any injury. The drug was approved by FDA for medical use in 2002.

Skelaxin is used along with rest, physical therapy & other measures for the relief of ongoing pain associated with any injury or muscle spasms. It is available in tablets & injections, and it delivers effectiveness with a relatively low rate of side effects. 

The recommended dose of Skelaxin is 800mg twice or thrice daily for adults & children over 12 years of age. It acts on the central nervous system and may cause dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, & irritability, but it has fewer sedative effects than the alternatives.

Metaxalone should be avoided in people with kidney or liver disease. It may also affect the blood sugar tests for diabetic individuals, so it is best to consult your healthcare physician before taking the medications. The FDA has not rated Metaxalone for safety during pregnancy.  

Tizanidine (Zanaflex)

Tizanidine, sold under the brand name Zanaflex, is a prescription medication that helps ease the symptoms of muscle stiffness associated with conditions like Cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis. FDA approved the drug for the treatment of muscle spasticity in 2002.

The recommended starting dose of Zanaflex is 2mg. The dosage can gradually be increased by 2 to 4mg at each dose, with 1 to 4 days between dosage increases. The total daily dose of Zanaflex should not exceed 36mg.  It is available in capsule & tablet forms.

Tizanidine shows fewer side effects which include dry mouth, weakness, tiredness & dizziness. Avoid taking this medication if you are taking fluvoxamine or ciprofloxacin or those diagnosed with liver disease. 

Tizanidine (Zanaflex) is rated with C ratings for its safety during pregnancy.


Baclofen, sold under the brand name Lioresal, is primarily used to treat spasticity caused by muscle sclerosis or spinal cord injury. The drug was approved by FDA for medical use in 2003. 

It acts on the spinal cord nerves to produce its muscle relaxant effects thereby decreasing the severity of muscle spasms. The drug improves muscle movement and relieves pain. 

Baclofen can be injected into the spinal theca (intrathecally) or can be administered orally. It is prescribed on a schedule that the dosages should gradually increase after every three days. The drug is available in the form of a tablet and can be taken by children above 12 years. 

Common side effects include nausea & vomiting, sleepiness, dizziness, hypotension, convulsions, and muscle weakness. Baclofen is rated with C ratings, in pregnancy safety rankings, the lowest risk category for medications.


Medications are just one part of pain relief. These medications are intended to be an element on a short-term basis, usually working in conjunction with other strategies such as rest, stretching, physical therapy ad exercises for the best possible recovery results.

Each muscle relaxer has its pros and cons depending on the patient’s health condition, medical history; hence, it is always recommended to consult your healthcare professional before taking any medications.

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