There is some evidence in the medical literature for the effectiveness of muscle relaxants when used for short-term acute back or neck pain (up to 2 or 3 weeks). They can promote recovery by blocking the sensation of pain, so that people can rest as much as they need to heal. Muscle relaxants such as Soma (Carisoprodol), Flexeril (Cyclobenzaprine), and Valium (Diazepam) are sometimes used to treat neck pain. They are also sometimes combined with another medication, such as in Norgesic, which combines orphenadrine with aspirin and caffeine.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Tylenol, or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve), can help relieve mild neck muscle pain. Prescription medications, such as muscle relaxants, may be recommended to relieve muscle spasms. In some cases, antidepressants may be prescribed to treat neck pain by blocking pain messages to the brain. Cyclobenzaprine has been the most studied drug, with consistently proven efficacy, 17,18 It was shown to improve pain, muscle spasms, functional status and overall evaluation against diazepam (Valium) in two good quality studies, 23,24 In contrast, two other studies of regular quality and poor quality did not revealed any significant difference between cyclobenzaprine and diazepam, 25,26 A meta-analysis evaluated 14 studies comparing cyclobenzaprine with placebo for back and neck pain, 27 The included trials lasted less than 14 days.
Cyclobenzaprine was found to be moderately more effective than placebo, but had more adverse effects on the central nervous system. The authors also described several limitations of the meta-analysis, such as inadequate masking, heterogeneity between studies and the presence of publication bias27. In general, studies seem to be consistent, since cyclobenzaprine has the greatest benefit within the first few days of treatment, rather than in one to two weeks, 18,27. Studies also show that acupuncture relieves neck pain just as effectively as other treatments (1) A soft neck collar worn only a few hours at a time (so as not to weaken the neck muscles) can also help relieve pain (. While having a neck strain may be normal, it doesn't have to be suffering pain and stiffness in the neck for a long time. General, nonspecific neck strain, often the result of poor posture or previous injury, can also cause a neck strain.
When neck pain is due to rheumatoid arthritis (RA), there may be a variety of treatment options available to you. Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments may be used to treat neck pain caused by a tumor. Special Considerations Muscle relaxants for acute back or neck pain are usually prescribed for short-term muscle pain relief, and some may be habit-forming. However, although these medications may help general pain and inflammation, pain related to muscle spasms may not respond to these medications.
As a first course of medical treatment, your healthcare provider will likely recommend a combination of responses to combat neck pain and stiffness. Some tricyclic antidepressants can treat neck and back pain, so if you experience back and neck pain simultaneously, talk to your doctor about the possible effects of using these pain medications (20). Recent studies have shown that a type of skeletal muscle relaxants (SMR), called antispasmodics, outperform anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, in relieving severe pain associated with conditions such as acute back pain. A CT or MRI scan may be needed to give your healthcare provider the clearest picture possible while looking for the source of your neck pain and stiffness.
Muscle relaxants for acute back or neck pain are usually prescribed for short-term muscle pain relief, and some may be habit-forming. .