Are you looking for a muscle relaxer medicine? The over-the-counter (OTC) drug market is worth about $143 billion (2018). You can find several muscle relaxant drugs over the counter. However, the issue is that some work better than others. The key benefit of these OTC medicines is they can relax muscles without a doctor’s prescription. However, you’ll still want to pick a product that’s as effective as possible. The fact that non-prescription medicines don’t require a doctor’s order doesn’t mean they’re automatically better versus prescription medicines. It’s really about issues like whether or not they can help relax muscles effectively. If they can do that then you’re on the right track.
Some people require muscle relaxants because they have a central nervous system (CNS) condition that causes muscle spasms. In this situation, you’ll need to take some sort of medicine to calm the muscles. The main types are prescription and OTC. There’s no question that prescription drugs can work. However, the main drawback is they can also cause unwanted side-effects. That’s due to the strong chemicals contained in the drugs. While they can make the medicines more powerful they can also trigger unwanted side-effects that can make muscle spasms tougher to deal with.
What Exactly Are Muscle Spasms and Muscle Relaxants?
This is the condition that muscle relaxants/relaxers are used to treat. Some people have certain health conditions that affect their central nervous system (CNS). This, in turn, can cause muscle spasms, which require treatments to calm muscles and reduce the patient’s symptoms.
Spasms, in general, are a symptom that can cause various muscles throughout the body. It causes people to experience various kinds of symptoms. Some of the main causes are:
- Muscle fatigue
- Muscle overuse
- Electrolyte (salt) problems
The spasm happens quickly and is painful. There are various ways to treat the condition naturally including gentle muscle stretching. However, sometimes medicines including prescription/OTC are needed to deal with severe pain.
“Muscle Relaxants” are drugs that can help to relax muscles required for movement in the human body. There are different types and applications used with these medicines. They include ones like “neuromuscular-blocking” drugs.
In the US drugs specifically designed to reduce pain/spasms can only be secured through prescriptions. However, other OTC drugs might help with the various symptoms of muscle spasms. It’s important to learn about whether or not your country has approved OTC medicines for treating muscle spasms.
Other kinds of OTC medicines can help to reduce blood pressure, anxiety, and so on. These products might help to treat muscle spasms. However, it’s important to do your research about their safety/effectiveness to make sure you’re not using medicines that are likely to cause unwanted side-effects or are ineffective for treating muscle spasms.
It’s worth noting that prescription drugs can cause a high risk of various side-effects. They include discomfort, addiction, and withdrawal. Meanwhile, OTC treatments take a more holistic (whole-body) approach that uses natural/mild ingredients that don’t require a prescription. This is certainly an issue to consider if you’re already dealing with muscle spasms.
Muscle Relaxant Drugs: Over the Counter
MOTRIN IB (IBUPROFEN)
There are multiple brand names made with ibuprofen. If you’re taking this product make sure not to take Advil and vice-versa. That’s because they’re the same drug and you might experience over-dose and the possible side-effects.
This is one of the various NSAIDs you can take and easily one of the most well-known since Bayer has been selling it since 1899. Aspirin has been proven to be effective for various functions including lowering the risk of blood clots, heart attack, and strokes.
This is a cabinet staple that can also be used to treat muscle spasms without a prescription. This works like Ibuprofen in several ways. Another feature is it’s an NSAID (anti-inflammation). This drug can help to treat headaches, muscle pain, osteoarthritis, migraines, cramps, and so on.
A big difference between this drug and ibuprofen is the dosage. Patients can take naproxen every 8 to 12 hours. This differs from every 4 to 6 hours for ibuprofen.
This is a different kind of drug than NSAIDs. This one is formulated to treat pain instead of inflammation. It can be used to treat various kinds of pain including:
- Muscle Aches
- Back/Neck Pain
However, one of the drawbacks is if swelling/inflammation is the main cause of the muscle spasms then Tylenol is less effective than NSAIDs. However, Tylenol also provides several benefits. It’s easy to find, has many uses, and few side-effects.
This is a popular OTC anti-inflammatory medicine that’s widely used throughout the world. You also get a pain reliever so it’s a 2-in-1 medicine. You can also use Advil for various pain-causing conditions like:
- Back Pain
These are some of the various conditions you can treat with Advil.
Top Natural Treatments for Muscle Spasms
Mild exercise can help to fight off cramps at nighttime. Fun Fact: Up to 60% of adults experience night cramps. You can do a little light exercise at bedtime. Make sure not to overdo it since a higher blood pressure could prevent you from dozing off. Some options include walking in place, climbing up/downstairs, and exercise bike.
It might be surprising but simply drinking more water can help to reduce spasms. Make sure to stay hydrated if you’re dealing with muscle spasms. This is especially important during hot weather and if you’re doing physical exercise.
There’s some debate about how much water to drink. If you want the most health benefits go with 12 glasses (3 liters) per day.
These are some old-school yet effective methods for dealing with pain/spasms. You can go with ice or heat to deal with symptoms. For example, an ice pack (15-25 min.) is a good option for continuous spasms. Make sure to wrap up ice in a towel/cloth to prevent direct contact with the skin.
Another option is a heating pad (15-15 min). It’s important to use an ice pack afterward. The reason is although heat can treat pain it could also worsen inflammation, which is the body’s natural method for launching the healing process. You can reduce inflammation with ice.
This treatment can provide a wide range of benefits, including muscle spasms/cramps. It can help to reduce physical pain and increase relaxation. These are both important goals when treating muscle spasms. It’s highly recommended that you find a certified massage therapist to get the best results.
It is one of the most effective holistic treatments for muscle spasms. It can help to reduce/stop the muscle spasm like muscle relaxant drugs over the counter.