Are Muscle Relaxers an Effective Remedy for Arthritis Pain?

Muscle relaxers are commonly used for treating arthritis pain, but are they an effective remedy? Read on to find out.

Anju Mobin - Writer for Trim Down Club
By Anju Mobin
Nevena Radulović - Editor for Trim Down Club
Edited by Nevena Radulović

Updated May 15, 2023.

Woman holding her knee in pain

Although the early signs of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis may be subtle, joint pain and muscle spasms are common in patients with arthritis as the disease progresses. If you're experiencing spasms of muscle groups such as the spinal muscles, muscle relaxers can be helpful in relieving arthritis pain.

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What Kinds of Arthritis Do Muscle Relaxers Work For?

Muscle relaxers are generally prescribed to patients with osteoarthritis (OA), which is a type of arthritis that can even lead to immobility in severe cases. Muscle relaxers are also helpful for those with neck pain, lower back pain, or other musculoskeletal pain.

However, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients also use muscle relaxers to manage pain, although little information is available about the efficacy of muscle relaxants for RA.

These medications generally start working within 30 minutes of taking them, and their effects can last up to 6 hours.

Types of Muscle Relaxers

Although there are numerous types of muscle relaxers available, the ones most commonly used to manage arthritis symptoms include the following:

  • Carisoprodol
  • Cyclobenzaprine
  • Tizanidine
  • Diazepam
  • Metaxalone
  • Methocarbamol

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Risks and Side Effects of Using Muscle Relaxers

While taking muscle relaxers at bedtime reduces pain and improves sleep quality, daytime dosing should be considered with extra care due to possible sedation. The possible side effects of muscle relaxants include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Dry mouth

Make sure not to operate heavy machinery or drive after taking muscle relaxants. Combining muscle relaxants with alcohol is also dangerous, as it makes it much harder to think or function normally, which in turn significantly increases the risk of accidents.

Before taking any muscle relaxants, check with your doctor to ensure they're compatible with your usual arthritis medications.

Manage Arthritis Pain With Muscle Relaxers

Muscle relaxers can be used for treating patients with different types of arthritis, although it seems to be more effective for those with osteoarthritis than those with rheumatoid arthritis. You can also consider taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory supplements for arthritic pain relief or adjusting your diet to include foods good for knee lubrication and relieving joint pain.

Muscle relaxants tend to have serious side effects, so always consult your doctor before taking any.

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