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Muscle relaxants are prescribed drugs used to control muscle spasms. A spasm is a painful and involuntary contraction of the muscle.

How do they work?
Muscle relaxants act on the body to decrease muscle tone and relieve stiffness. These drugs can also block pain messages from going to your brain. They have a calming effect on the central nervous system.

Why should I take them?
Your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant to help alleviate the painful effects of muscle spasms. As your symptoms subside, you will be able to rest easier and participate in prescribed exercises as you heal.

What are the side effects?
Common side effects related to muscle relaxants use include blurred vision, double vision, dizziness, discolored urine, light-headedness, and drowsiness. Less frequently, some patients may experience clumsiness, confusion, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, restlessness, stomach cramps, and trembling.

What are the precautions?
Muscle relaxants have serious side effects with some medical conditions, such as liver and kidney disease. These drugs should not be taken if you use alcohol, take antidepressants, are pregnant or breast-feeding. Certain allergies can be aggravated by the use of muscle relaxants. Always consult with your doctor before taking muscle relaxants with any other medication.