Muscle relaxers for menstrual cramps help with the discomfort associated with primary dysmenorrhea. Soma for menstrual cramps works in 30 minutes and alleviates the contraction of smooth muscles resulting in period pain.
Do muscle relaxers help with period cramps is probably one of the most prevalent questions women ask their physicians. Muscle relaxers are analgesics that assist in relieving muscular discomfort in the body. Soma for menstrual cramps is one of the most prescribed muscle relaxers owing to its high efficacy and safety profile. Carisoprodol is a centrally acting muscle relaxer retailed under the name Soma pill. The prescription use of the Soma muscle relaxer is for short-term acute pain.
Menstrual cramp, also known as dysmenorrhea, is throbbing pain in the lower abdomen. A study on the Prevalence of menstrual pain in young women indicates that 84.1% of women suffer from menstrual cramps, whereas 43.1% experience regular discomfort . Such cramps can affect your everyday activities and make that time of the month uncomfortable.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, about half of the women who menstruate suffer from cramping during the first few days . Often, menstrual pain can be managed on its own, but women who experience severe pain often require medical assistance for pain relief.
This blog seeks answers to questions like do muscle relaxers help with period cramps and determines the best prescription muscle relaxer for menstrual cramps.
Do Muscle Relaxers Help With Period Cramps?
YES, muscle relaxers do help with cramps. Doctor Jacqueline Thielen says that since the uterus is a muscle, anything that helps relax muscles can be beneficial for menstrual cramps . So, what better than muscle relaxers for menstrual cramps!!
Periods are idiosyncratic (a mode of behavior distinct to an individual); therefore, what works for one person may not show an effective result in another. However, people with periods share specific root causes (uterine muscle contraction) for their symptoms.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2 million Americans have been using muscle relaxers. So, how do muscle relaxers help with menstrual cramps? Muscle relaxers for menstrual cramps help people overcome period pain associated with primary dysmenorrhea. However, its usage cannot completely defy the discomfort arising from secondary dysmenorrhea. During the menstrual cycle, the uterus contracts to assist in removing its lining. In this course, the prostaglandins (hormone) elevate, resulting in inflammation, pain, and uterine muscle contractions.
Muscle relaxers decrease our muscle tone, act on the muscle fibers, and help them relax, thus inducing relief from pain. They also help by relaxing the smooth muscle, which results in cramps.
What Causes Menstrual Cramps?
“Dysmenorrhea” is the medical term for a painful period or menstrual cycle that is caused due to uterine contraction. When the chemical “Prostaglandin” makes the uterus contract, it causes pain. It further prevents the oxygen from reaching the uterus resulting in cramps.
The uterus is a muscular organ, thus making muscle relaxers an excellent treatment option for cramps and discomfort. In most cases, during the menstrual cycle, the strong contraction of the uterus can press against nearby blood vessels, thus cutting off the oxygen supply to the muscle tissue . These factors largely contribute to your period discomfort.
There are two subgroups of dysmenorrhea- primary and secondary. The proper understanding and knowledge of which type of dysmenorrhea you are struggling with are essential to help find the best muscle relaxer for period cramps.
Primary dysmenorrhea is period cramps due to “natural” or “normal” uterine muscle contraction alone. Prostaglandins trigger these contractions. Some people, during their menstrual cycle, overproduce prostaglandins, thus leading to worse cramping.
This condition results from other factors (other than typical uterine muscle contraction). Such cramps may arise due to polyps, fibroids, endometriosis (when the uterus cells grow in other body parts), and intrauterine devices (IUDs). The duration of the pain in secondary dysmenorrhea increases compared to chronic pain. It generally starts 2-3 days before the menstrual cycle, and gradually the pain elevates and continues till the end of the process.
Muscle relaxers for menstrual cramps are not effective for secondary dysmenorrhea. In such conditions, it is essential to consult a medical professional.
Best Prescription Muscle Relaxer For Menstrual Cramps
The three most prominent muscle relaxers for menstrual cramps are the Soma pill, Baclofen, and Flexeril. Their usage is approved by the FDA and is not advisable for long-term use.
Soma for menstrual cramps
The Soma pain medication is an FDA-approved Schedule IV analgesic that has paved its way into the pharmaceutical world for its effectiveness and invincible potency. The action of the analgesic begins within 30 minutes of intake, and its action lasts approximately 6 hours.
A study demonstrated that physicians recommend Carisoprodol brands for tension headaches, lower back pain, and period pain .
The usual adult dose of the Soma pill is 350mg (also known as Dan 5513) for beginners, which can be escalated to 500mg throughout the treatment. Women who order Soma online for their menstrual cramps should not use it for more than three continuous weeks. If you are a lactating mother, you should administer the muscle relaxer after consulting a doctor.
Flexeril for menstrual cramps
Flexeril, also known as cyclobenzaprine, is often taken with rest and physical therapy to manage acute pain effectively. The adult dose of cyclobenzaprine is 10 mg 3 times a day. Cyclobenzaprine menstrual cramps relief begins within 1 hour of administration .
Flexeril for menstrual cramps works on the central nervous system to relieve cramps.
Baclofen for menstrual cramps
Baclofen is an effective solution for relaxing the muscle. Its use can help relieve muscle cramping, spasm, and tightness. The use of an anti-spasmodic muscle relaxer such as Baclofen is effective for treating menstrual and abdominal cramps. However, the use of Baclofen for menstrual cramps must be done under the supervision of a physician.
When choosing the best muscle relaxer for period cramps, ensure you do not confuse it with uterine muscle relaxers. They are commonly used to stop premature labor and give the fetal lungs time to mature. These muscle relaxers are safe during pregnancy and are, however, not prescribed for menstrual cramps.
When Should You Talk To A Doctor About Period Pain?
Any signs and symptoms here can be a sign of severe or chronic menstrual cramps. If you are dealing with any of the following conditions, you should consult a doctor.
If the cramp lasts for more than 3 to 5 days.
In case you experience it in the later part of your life.
When usual pain medications fail to relieve cramps and period pain.
If the pain moves to your legs and back.
Clinicians Advise A Muscle Relaxer For Period Cramps
Now that we have a brief understanding of using muscle relaxers for menstrual cramps let us see what medical professionals have to say. Two eminent physicians on the website HealthTap states that using muscle relaxers for menstrual cramps is a second line of treatment .
Muscle relaxers for period pain are often prescribed when the generic medications fail to show effective results.
Muscle Relaxers For Menstrual Cramps Related Lower Back Pain
Most women on their periods must have experienced lower back pain, one of the common symptoms of Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Such lower back pain can range from subtle discomfort to debilitating pain. This pain is often along the center portion of the lower back.
But knowing that more than half of all women experience period cramps and back pain isn't enough to help you feel better. So, here's what you can do to stop it.
Back pain in most women begins a few days before their cycle and usually subsides after the completion of the period. Such pain is primarily muscular and arises due to hormonal changes during those days of the month.
A study determines the efficacy of muscle relaxers in diminishing the severity of back pain during dysmenorrhea . Muscle relaxers for menstrual pain help relieve acute skeletomuscular pain by acting on the body's central nervous system.
Soma pill prevents the pain stimulation from traveling to the GABA receptor of the brain. Thus, it is an effective solution for treating lower back pain. A study assessing the efficacy of Carisoprodol found it to be a promising treatment for lower back pain .
Limitations Of Muscle Relaxers For Menstrual Cramps
Soma pill is a safe medication with a low possibility for abuse and addiction. Even though using muscle relaxers has shown exemplary results in managing cramps and body pain, they still have certain limitations.
Using muscle relaxers such as the Soma pill is ineffective in managing several premenstrual syndromes in women. These analgesics do not improve conditions such as irritability, mood swings, fatigue, and depression.
Long-term use of the muscle relaxer can cause adverse effects in the user, thus resulting in drowsiness, agitation, palpitations, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and stomach issues. The Soma pill is also unsafe for women who are lactating, pregnant or planning to get pregnant. Also, women with a history of heart, kidney, and liver disorders should refrain from ingesting the analgesic without consulting a doctor.
Home Remedies For Faster Pain Relief
Along with using muscle relaxers, several home remedies can be incorporated into your routine to manage the signs of period pain. Muscle relaxers for period cramps can be used in conjunction with these therapies for faster results.
Applying heat- Using heating pads on your abdomen and lower back can help relieve period pain. A study in 2018 indicates the effectiveness of heat therapy in treating menstrual pain. It was seen to show similar benefits as NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) .
Using essential oils- Messaging for 15 to 20 minutes with your favorite essential oil can help. Massage therapy for period cramps involves rubbing the oil on the abdomen and back and pressing on specific points. Myeong Soo Lee et al. found that aromatherapy and massage therapy can help reduce menstrual cramps and pain . Some effective essential oils that may help are rose, fennel, lavender, and peppermint.
Avoiding certain food items- During the menstrual cycle, avoiding food that can cause water retention and bloat is best. Some food to avoid during those times is alcohol, fatty food, salty food, caffeine, and carbonated beverages.
Adding herbs to your diet- Several herbs with antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties can reduce muscle contraction and pain associated with the menstrual cycle .
Incorporate cinnamon into your food or tea or take about 840mg of capsule three times a day.
In 2015, a woman who took cinnamon in her diet reported lesser pain, nausea, and Vomiting.
Try to sip two cups of chamomile tea a few days before your period.
According to a study report, using chamomile tea increases the urinary level of glycine, effectively relieving muscle spasms in users.
You can grate the ginger and add it to your warm water or tea.
A study on students indicates that 250mg of ginger powder four times a day can help with the pain. The same study also concludes that the effectiveness of ginger is similar to ibuprofen.
You can take 30mg of fennel extracts for three days during your period.
A study on fennel seeds against placebo showed that women between the ages of 15 to 24 showed relief from pain with fennel extracts.
Nutrition-Backed Solutions For Period Pain
A growing body of medical science indicates that certain nutrients can alleviate or eliminate menstrual cramps. Some of your best options are-
Vitamin B1- It is one of the well-studied nutrients for cramps. Clinical analysis of over 100 women with dysmenorrhea showed that using Vitamin B1 supplements could lower the severity of cramps by half .
Zinc- A study by Eby in 2007 suggests that using zinc can increase the blood supply to the uterus. The same research reveals that an intake of 31mg of zinc thrice daily has the best outcome for pain relief. This can help in preventing uterine cramps .
Magnesium- Several studies specify the association between muscle and back pain with lower magnesium intake. A daily dose of magnesium helps to prevent dysmenorrhea in some people. It functions by relaxing the smooth muscle of the uterus, thus further reducing the prostaglandins which cause period pain .
Vitamin B6- Numerous body enzymatic processes, including the menstrual cycle, involve using Vitamin B6. It helps regulate the hormone and inflammation, easing several menstrual symptoms .
Does Muscle Relaxers Help With Period Cramps- Our Final Verdict
I am sure you have a better insight into whether muscle relaxers help with menstrual cramps, so let us summarize our findings.
“YES” muscle relaxers for menstrual cramp works but each of us has different physiology; thus, what might work for me may not be effective for someone else.
A website, “menstrual-matters,” have taken a precise approach to assessing the level of pain caused during the menstrual cycle.
They state that most women experience pain between “5 to 8” during their menstrual cycle. Now, take a moment to think of all the things you can do if your pain does not limit you.
With muscle relaxers such as the Soma pill, period pain can be a thing of the past. But, to the causes mentioned above of period pain, Carisoprodol may have specific limitations. The Soma pill is a tool for relieving the excruciating pain from your cramps; however, it cannot treat them entirely. If the pain does not diminish with time, it is best to visit a gynecologist.