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How Do I Choose the Best Over-the-Counter Muscle Relaxers?

Muscle relaxers can be found at stores that specialize in vitamins and herbal supplements.
Over-the-counter muscle relaxers.
Natural muscle relaxers like vervain are one alternative to prescription products.
Article Details
  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Muscle relaxers, or more specifically skeletal muscle relaxers, interact with the neuromuscular system to reduce tone and “relax” the muscles. Typically indicated for muscle spasm or hyper-flexion, common muscle relaxants include cyclobenzaprine and methocarbamol, among other drugs. Depending on where you live, muscle relaxers may be attainable only with a prescription. In the United States, a prescription is required for any muscle relaxant, though in Canada and the UK, over-the-counter muscle relaxers are available.

Though it is possible to obtain over-the-counter muscle relaxers in the United States through online ordering, ordering medication online is not advised since it is not only illegal to obtain prescription drugs without a prescription, the quality and contents of the medication are unknown and unregulated from many sources. If you live outside of the United States, over-the-counter muscle relaxers can be obtained at a pharmacy. They may also contain an analgesic for pain.

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In the United States, muscle relaxants can be obtained by prescription as indicated by your doctor. The alternative to prescription muscle relaxers is to try natural products that have muscle relaxant properties. These include rosemary, catnip, vervain, and kava root. These herbal products can typically be found at stores that specialize in vitamins and herbal supplements, but it is important to note that just because a product is “herbal” or “natural” does not mean it does not carry risks or drug interactions. You should consult a doctor, pharmacist or herbal specialist before self-dosing any herbal supplement.

Whether you are taking prescription or over-the-counter muscle relaxers it is important to understand how they work and what they are used for. Some muscle relaxants, even herbal ones, are very potent and may affect people differently. Sleepiness, dizziness, and sedation are common side effects of muscle relaxants and they can interfere with normal activity, especially driving a vehicle or operating machinery. Though effective even in small doses, make sure you know how the drug affects you before attempting to drive. Alcohol is also known to intensify the effects of muscle relaxants.

Though muscle relaxants are a fairly common prescription for a variety of chronic and acute conditions, if over-the-counter muscle relaxers are not available where you live, it is best to consult a doctor. In some cases, such as a strained or hyper-flexed muscle, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen along with ice and heat compresses may be just as effective in relieving the discomfort.

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