Muscle Pain Treatments
Though many patients who experience back pain for the first time think that there is something seriously wrong with their backs, in fact the majority of cases involve a strain of the back muscles. Finding out that the cause of your pain is due to a muscle strain is actually good news because the muscles and bones of your body have an intrinsic ability to regenerate in a relatively short period of time. Both the bones and muscles of your body have a rich supply of blood vessels, which enable them to quickly absorb nutrients required for tissue regeneration, in the event of an injury.
That being said, pain related to muscle tension and back spasms can be severely painful, to the point of being incapacitating. Muscle spasms may occur as the muscles become overstretched or overloaded to heavy lifting, or awkward lifting. Back spasms may occur when we lift heavy objects while twisting or using bad body mechanics. While lifting, our backs should be straight. There may also be more subtle injuries related to repeated use of the back muscles or ligament while using bad body mechanics. For a variety of reasons, injuries to the muscles or the structures attached to these muscles may result in inflammation around the muscles. Due to this inflammation, the muscles may become tense to limit that area of the body to prevent a further injury. While this tensing up of that part of the body may be an adaptive response to avoid a more serious injury, it may also involve severe pain and other changes that involve the development of chronic pain. For example, muscle spasms may cause you to become bedridden for a long period of time - scaring you into doing anything that will re-aggravate your old injury. While at the time, it may seem wise to limit your body movements, it may result in a weakening of the muscles, further destabilizing your spine.
To treat the condition associated with your muscle pain, you are going to have to do a couple of things. First you must allow a short period of time to rest the injured muscles so that the healing process may begin. Next, you must do something to get the muscles moving again so that they don't atrophy or become deprived of the blood flow that they need to get better. All the while, you may use various holistic and medical treatments to reduce the inflammation around the injured muscles so that they are not too painful to use to begin getting them moving again. Here we will analyze various muscle pain treatments, including pain medication, anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxants, massage, chiropractic, heat therapy, and hot or cold packs.
Pain medication: Various pain medications available over the counter or by prescription may treat inflammation, pain itself, or both. Pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) disrupt the transmission of pain signals from reaching the brain. While medications such as Tylenol doesn't specifically work to reduce inflammation, it may provide you enough relief to be able to get up out of the bed and out of the house so that the muscles of your back don't begin to atrophy.
Anti-inflammatory Medications: In many cases, it is the inflammation around the muscles that causes the muscle spasms or continued muscle tightness. In order for the tightness in the muscles to begin to recede, the inflammation around the muscles must be brought under control. Anti-inflammatory medications such as NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may be sufficient at getting the inflammation around your muscles under control to begin to break up some of the tightness. Most NSAIDs are available over the counter, though there are some anti-inflammatories available only by prescription. Prescription only available medications include Carisoprodol (Soma), Baclofen (Lioresal), Tizanidine (Zanaflex), Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril). There are also natural substances that have anti-inflammatory properties available from plant and animal products. The active ingredient of St. John's Wort - hyperforin - has been found to have effects up to 18 times that of aspirin.
Muscle Relaxants: Muscle relaxants have an overall sedative effect on the body, including the affected muscles of the back. Because of the overall sedative effects of muscle relaxants, they are prescribed to be used at particular times, such as at home when you do not plan on leaving the house. Some common muscle relaxants which are used to treat back spasms include carisoprodol (Soma), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeri), diazepam (Valium), metaxalone (Skelaxin) and methocarbamol (Robaxin).
Massage: Massage therapy may be used to break up tightness in the muscles, increase circulation in the muscles, and trigger the release of endorphins in and around the muscles. Endorphins are the body's natural pain killers, and are also involved in the feeling of euphoria you get from intense workouts (runner's high) and narcotics. Massage therapy will provide that part of the body with an improved range of motion, and it will increase circulation to accelerate the recovery process.