Estimates suggest that lower back pain affects almost 90% of the American population at some point in their life. As per various report, United States spends approximately $ 50 billion each year on the management of back pain problems. Use of over the counter (OTC) medications and muscle relaxants contribute to a major factor in the management of back pain.
Muscle relaxants are medications that help relieve pain, swelling and other forms of discomfort in the muscles caused by rigorous activity. These medicines are generally prescribed by doctors but there are OTC muscle relaxants that are readily available to the public. They’ve become an indispensable part of medicine cabinets as they provide temporary relief from painful joints and muscles.
OTC Muscle Relaxants for Back Pain
- Acetaminophen is a multi-purpose antipyretic medicine that reduces fever and eases pain. Also referred to as paracetamol; acetaminophen has limited side effects and hence can be used safely. However proper guidance is always required and overdose of the drug is often associated with liver disorders, skin and allergic rash along with abdominal pain.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID is another over-the-counter relaxant for muscles. These drugs are considered to have a significant action in alleviating muscle pain and joint pain including pain associated with arthritis, back pain and trauma. Ibuprofen is one of the most commonly available over the counter NSAID. Naproxen is another NSAID which provides relief to back pain and severe inflammation. However prolonged use of NSAIDs is closely linked with gastro-intestinal distress like heartburns, diarrhea and nausea. Prolonged use of NSAIDs is also linked with peptic and duodenal ulcers.
Natural Muscle Relaxants as Alternate Pain Relief
The various limitations are risks associated with the use of OTC have resulted in a need to identify natural muscle relaxants which can provide sustained pain relief. Here are certain natural products that can be beneficial,
- Rosemary oil can alleviate pain from muscle cramps and spasms when mixed in a warm bath. Massaging the affected part with rosemary oil can provide sustained relief. Chamomile Essential Oil is also considered to have similar effect and helps in management of muscle spasms, pain and joint aches.
- Herb Catnip has a tranquilizing effect that can help reduce inflamed or swollen joints.
- Homeopathic remedies are yet another famous pain relievers with treatments like Calcarea phosphorica, Arnica and Kali carb. These remedies need to be taken in low dosage and should be repeated over several times in a day.
- Add a pinch of turmeric and a spoon of raw honey to a glass of warm milk and drink it twice a day. Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory properties while honey helps in reducing inflammatory response. Milk is considered to be a mood food and helps reduce anxiety and irritability associated with the muscular pain.
- Magnesium and calcium supplements play a pivotal role in reducing muscular pain and muscle spasms.