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There are many prescription and over-the-counter medications that can help with muscle spasms and spasticity.

Muscle relaxers are used to treat muscle spasticity.

Muscle spasms or cramps are sudden, involuntary contractions of a muscle or group of muscles. They can be caused by too much muscle strain and lead to pain. They’re associated with conditions such as lower back pain, neck pain, and fibromyalgia.

Muscle spasticity, on the other hand, is a continuous muscle spasm that causes stiffness, rigidity, or tightness that can interfere with normal walking, talking, or movement.

Muscle spasticity is caused by injury to parts of the brain or spinal cord involved with movement. Conditions that can cause muscle spasticity include multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

There are prescription drugs that can help relieve muscle pain. Some over-the-counter medications can be used to treat muscle pains.

There are two groups of prescription drugs.

Antispasmodics and antispastics are used to treat muscle spasticity. Tizanidine can be used to treat spasticity. Antispastics should not be used to treat muscle spasms.

Antispasmodics: Centrally acting skeletal muscle relaxants (SMRs)

SMRs are used to relieve muscle spasms. They are thought to work by causing a sedative effect or by preventing your nerves from sending pain signals to your brain.

You should only use these muscle relaxants for up to 2 or 3 weeks. The safety of longer-term use is not yet known.

NSAIDs and acetaminophen have been shown to work better than antispasmodics in treating muscle spasms. They have more side effects than other drugs.

The more common side effects of centrally acting SMRs are:

You should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of these drugs.

There is a list of centrally acting SMRs.

Generic name Brand name Form Generic available
carisoprodol Soma tablet yes
carisoprodol/aspirin not available tablet yes
carisoprodol/aspirin/codeine not available tablet yes
chlorzoxazone Parafon Forte, Lorzone tablet yes
cyclobenzaprine Fexmid, Flexeril, Amrix tablet, extended-release capsule tablet only
metaxalone Skelaxin, Metaxall tablet yes
methocarbamol Robaxin tablet yes
orphenadrine Norflex extended-release tablet yes
tizanidine Zanaflex tablet, capsule yes

On March 21, 2022, Sandoz issued a voluntary recall of 13 lots of the drug orphenadrine citrate 100mg ER tablets due to the presence of nitrosamine. Nitrosamine, a known carcinogen with the potential to cause cancer, was found to exist in the drug at levels greater than the acceptable daily intake (ADI) as determined by the FDA. This recall is specific only to a handful of lot numbers and does not affect all orphenadrine tablets made by Sandoz. If you take orphenadrine citrate 100mg ER tablets, talk with your pharmacist or doctor and they will help you determine if your medication has been impacted by the recall.


Antispastics are used to treat muscle spasticity. They should not be used to treat muscle spasms. These drugs include:

Baclofen: Baclofen (Lioresal) is used to relieve spasticity caused by MS. It’s not fully understood how it works, but it seems to block nerve signals from the spinal cord that cause muscles to spasm. Side effects can include It is not good to be drowsiness., dizziness, weakness, and fatigue.

Dantrolene: Dantrolene (Dantrium) is used to treat muscle spasms caused by spinal cord injury, stroke, cerebral palsy, or MS. It works by acting directly on the skeletal muscle to relax the muscle spasm. Side effects can include It is not good to be drowsiness., dizziness, lightheadedness, and fatigue.

Diazepam: Diazepam (Valium) is a benzodiazepine used to relieve muscle spasms caused by inflammation, trauma, or muscle spasticity. It works by increasing the activity of a certain neurotransmitter to decrease the occurrence of muscle spasms. Diazepam is a sedative. Side effects can include It is not good to be drowsiness., fatigue, and muscle weakness.

There is a list of antispastics.

Generic name Brand name Form Generic available
baclofen Lioresal, Gablofen, Lioresal tablet, injection yes
dantrolene Dantrium tablet yes
diazepam Valium oral suspension, tablet, injection yes

Habit-forming can be achieved by the use of muscle relaxants. Take your medication the way your doctor prescribed it.

Muscle relaxants can also cause withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures or hallucinations (sensing things that aren’t real). Do not suddenly stop taking your medication, especially if you’ve been taking it for a long time.

The central nervous system is made hard to pay attention to by the effects of muscle relaxants. Taking a muscle relaxant should not be used to drive or use heavy machinery.

You should not take muscle relaxants.

If you use muscle relaxants, talk to your doctor about how to use them safely.

  • They are older than 65 years old.
  • Have a mental health problem.
  • Have any problems with the body.

Doctors can use certain medications to treat spasticity even when the drugs are not approved for that purpose by the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA). This is called off-label drug use. The following drugs are not actually muscle relaxants, but they can still help relieve symptoms of spasticity.


Benzodiazepines are sedatives that can help relax muscles. They work by increasing the effects of certain neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that relay messages between your brain cells.

There are examples of benzodiazepines.

Side effects of benzodiazepines can include It is not good to be drowsiness. and problems with balance and memory. These drugs can also be habit-forming.


Gabapentin (Neurontin) is an anticonvulsant drug typically used to relieve seizures. It may also help prevent pain responses associated with spasticity. Gabapentin is available in brand-name and generic versions.

OTC treatment is recommended as first-line therapy for muscle spasms caused by conditions such as acute lower back pain or tension There is a throbbing head.. This means you should try OTC treatments before prescription medications.

NSAIDs, or a combination of both, are OTC treatment options. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you choose.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs work by blocking your body from making certain substances that cause inflammation and pain. NSAIDs are available in generic and brand-name versions. They’re typically sold over the counter. Stronger versions are available by prescription.

NSAIDs come as oral tablets, capsules, or suspensions. They also come as chewable tablets for children. Side effects of these drugs can include upset stomach and dizziness.

Examples of NSAID are listed.


Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is thought to work by blocking your body from making certain substances that cause pain. Acetaminophen is available in generic and brand-name versions. It comes as immediate-release and extended release oral tablets and capsules, orally disintegrating tablets, chewable tablets, and oral solutions.

The more common side effects of acetaminophen can include nausea and upset stomach.

Studies show that certain compounds in cannabis could act as a muscle relaxant, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the substance responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana.

Cannabis is still not available in many areas, which limits research on its Medicinal properties.

More research is needed to understand if cannabis or the compounds it contains can help ease muscle spasticity.

You can often manage your spasticity symptoms on your own, but in some cases you need medical advice or care. If you do, be sure to call your doctor.

  • “Have spasticity for the first time and don’t know what it is.”
  • The spasticity is getting more severe, and it is making tasks more difficult.
  • Have a lot of muscle spasms.
  • The parts of your body that are affected by muscle spasms have a different shape.
  • Have side effects from your drug.
  • have a “frozen joint” due to contracture that decreases your range of motion or causes pressure sores
  • Have increasing pain.

It is important to treat spasticity and muscle spasms. If you have long-term spasticity, it can lead to muscle contracture, which can affect your range of motion or cause your joints to permanently bend. Muscle spasms can be a sign of an underlying medical problem, and they can be uncomfortable.

Rest, physical therapy, medications, or all of the above are possible remedies for muscle spasms or spasticity. If you work with your doctor, you can put together a care plan that will help you with your pain.

This article is in Spanish.