Why muscle relaxers are not the answer to your back or neck pain

This week I’ve had two patients ask for muscle relaxers to help them sleep.  They didn’t even request it to help calm a muscle spasm.  It’s not in the scope of practice for a chiropractor to prescribe a muscle relaxer.  But honestly, why would you ever want one? If your back hurts that bad, even after your chiropractic appointment, and you really need to take something…I would recommend an over-the-counter to help with some pain relief.  Or if you’re in the state of Colorado, go find a dispensary.

Why do muscles spasm? I like to refer to the analogy of the chicken and the egg.  Did the joint stop moving properly and cause the surrounding muscle to spasm, or did the muscle tighten up and cause the joint to lock up?  In either case, you want to treat both the joint and the muscular dysfunction.  Improper movement, poor posture, repetitive movements are all things that can cause dysfunction.   Doesn’t it make sense to spend the time addressing the real issue than attempt to get the muscle to relax with a pill?

Muscle relaxers cause all the muscles in your body to relax, including the ones that create stability along the spine.  Once you take away that stability, how can you ever expect those muscles to work properly and engage throughout your daily movements.

One of the worst things I see patient do when their back hurts is to take a muscle relaxer, rest on the couch (usually in a poor spinal position) and then try and get up hours later.  Quite frankly, they just can’t.   This is usually the moment that their spine gives out and they start calling the office because they cannot move.

Movement is medicine.  Movement is my prescription for every ailment the body may have.  Even when your back hurts, you should be able to go for a walk or do some basic core strengthening exercises.  If you want to find out the real reason your back hurts, then call us at Denver Sports and Family Chiropractic Center.  We promise not to just put a Band-Aid on the problem, but to keep it from coming back for good.