Do muscle relaxers help with sciatica pain?

muscle relaxers

This is my long journey and experience having severe and the most awful sciatica for 2 years which I am currently still dealing with in a lesser way because I do feel I’m on the road to recovery for sure, finally. I have seen positive results with different medications and therapies that I will include in this blog. The reason I have been wanting to put this information out there is because of my struggle to find any real solutions or recovery experiences. So here’s mine. Following are some questions I asked myself and you too might have wondered, in regards to muscle relaxers.

Do muscle relaxers help with sciatica pain?

       Yes and no. Yes for me they do help relax the muscles that are contracted and probably causing pain and chocking the nerve. However, with the relaxers alone, I did not feel a reduction in pain. In order to experience a little pain relief, I actually had to use muscle relaxers in combination with anti-inflammatories.

     After some trial and error, I would take a 1/4 tablet of Tizanidine every 4 hours and 400mg of ibuprofen every 6 hours to get to where I could function and not feel like I wanted to cut my leg off because of the excruciating pain I was dealing with. And by excruciating pain I mean I could not walk I could not sit I could not sleep my whole life had to completely change I couldn’t take my kids out I couldn’t drive at all I couldn’t get in the car I couldn’t get out of the car so I know what everyone is going through herniated disk is not an easy thing to go through so going to muscle relaxers helped a bit to get to where I am today.

      So for me, by relaxing the muscles, I truly felt that the muscle loosening allowed my therapy and stretches to be more effective.

Is Tizanidine a narcotic?

       It is my understanding that Tizanidine is not a narcotic. I am actually very allergic to narcotics, not allergic in the way that I would die or anything but made me FEEL like I was dying from all the nauseousness, vomiting, and just overall sickness and malice. Tizanidine did not do that to me. In fact, I remember when I had the tailbone surgery, which I will get into later on different post, that they gave me morphine and I was so sick I would just throw up constantly and no one knew what was wrong with me and they just let me go home like that. As soon as I got into the car and left, I completely recovered as if nothing had happened. Some people say that morphine stays in your body longer than that but that is exactly what happened to me. I think they took the IV out and I waited in the office a while since I was still feeling sick, and by the time I got into the car and headed home my “morphine sickness” went away.

       It would be wise to consult a physician and do more research on this or any drug you may be considering because of the potential side effects. Drugs can react differently with me than they would with you.

       Long story short but still long: narcotics make me barf.

Pill Bottle

Is it OK to take 8 mg of tizanidine?

       I personally was given 4 mg tablets of Tizanidine and my instructions were to take it three times a day. I never ventured past that or even close to that for that matter.

       Like I said, everyone is different and can react differently towards medications. 8mg seems excessive in my opinion but I’m not a doctor. If you are considering that, I would ask the doctor that prescribed it to you. I never took 8mg or 2 tablets of 4mg all at once.

Which muscle relaxer is strongest?

       I only used 2 types of muscle relaxers: Tizanidine and Baclofen. Baclofen was given to me as a second choice when I complained about the drowsiness of tizanidine. For example, tizanidine put me right to sleep if I were to take one tablet even half tablet and sometimes even a quarter tablet right in bed I went. Baclofen, I was told, was less potent by my primary doctor.  I did take it once in a while and I did feel some lighter effect but I didn’t like the side effects that I read on the Internet regarding Baclofen. After taking both at different times for sure I feel like Tizanidine was the strongest not only because it put me to bed but I actually felt the difference in relaxation of the muscles.

       Having said that, please make sure you’re not going to go to work or drive or operate some machinery while under the effects of the mediction, isn’t that what they always say “don’t drive or operate heavy machinery while using this?“ Because this stuff is strong. In my case, these drugs get me sleepy pretty quickly.

How long does it take for Tizanidine to kick in?

       I noticed right from the beginning that one whole tablet of Tizanidine 4mg made me not functional at all so I decided to start taking a whole tablet right before bed when I needed it most and I would feel drowsy around the 30-minute mark and I was asleep within 60-80 mins. Which was great because sleeping is the worst time for Sciatica for me.

       There is no good position. I toss and turn and have hundreds of pillows here and there. NO GOOD POSITION I tell you. Well, there is one but it’s not normal. See the photo for the saddest part of my sleeping reality. Picture here—-

Sleep Position

Is Tizanidine bad for your kidneys?

       I have read a lot about many different medications and I noticed one common theme: long term use can cause several problems. Of course, please do your due diligence and consult your doctor for your specific case.

       I’m terrified of medications. I was never one to go running to the medicine cabinet for any little ache or pain. I used to just take it. But reality hit me when I got sciatica, everything had to change but took this took many months of pain and suffering to find the right combination to get a little bit of relief.

How long did I personally use Tizanidine for?

       In my case and my particular problem, I used it for 3 weeks. Here’s why: I went to so many chiropractors, osteopaths, homeopaths, general practitioners, neurosurgeon, neurologist and after seeing my 4th Chiropractor, he actually got to a point that he just had to say you need to have some kind of pain relief steroid injection or medication so I can be more effective and get you better relief and to recover already.

       So after many months of severe sciatica and many therapies to go along with it I finally had someone that was pushing me to do something out of my comfort zone so back to my General practitioner I went and asked her to give me something and that’s when she gave me the muscle relaxers and even then I only used it for a little while scared again of medications.

       Now only using ibuprofen or Tylenol at this point I went to see my friend who is a trigger point therapist and he gave me the last push I needed: he said to me “get your muscle relaxers and start taking them all the time so I can actually get to the muscle that’s hurting you because your muscles are so tight there is no way I could get in there and do any pain relieving techniques for you.”

       That was my point of a turnaround, when my friend that knows me well told me that to get going with my recovery I would have to take muscle relaxers and some pain relief medicines. That’s when I started with muscle relaxers and pain relief medication on a consistent every day 24 hours a day ritual.

       That’s when my three weeks of constant muscle relaxers started. After the three week mark, I started feeling less inflammation and I actually started feeling my back clicking and cracking as of the muscles have let go and in some way, I was starting to feel like the road to recovery had started for me.

       But I was not done now I had to get down to therapy, stretching, going to the right places and speaking to the right doctors to get on my way to stop this monster and just be completely done and finished with it already!!

When and Why I stopped using the muscle relaxer Tizanidine.

       As you know by now at the three-week mark I decided to stop using tizanidine. I decided to do this cold turkey which was a complete disaster and a big mistake which is why I feel strongly like I should’ve tapered myself off of it. Later on, I read that that’s what you have to do. Please consult your doctor never try to stop this medication without consulting your doctor first.

       In my experience, I got heart palpitations shortness of breath, headaches and just felt very sick and not realizing it had anything to do with stopping muscle relaxers so abruptly. So again please read about any drugs that you start or stop using don’t go through what I went through it would’ve been better to just taper off of it slowly instead of going “cold turkey”. Very dangerous!

       Here is the way I decide to stop all muscle relaxers: I actually started feeling a bit better. It’s true I was able to do my core exercises and physical therapy a bit better I was able to start driving I was able to walk further distances I was able to walk around the house. But remember to leave the house cleaning so the others in your house because you don’t want to re-injure yourself and start feeling worse than what you did. You have to think to yourself this is recovery mode no one will stop me from getting out of this pain you need to tell this to the people around you-you need to say it to yourself. Usually, I would push myself and do the cleaning, the washing, the cooking for the kids the whole thing but not this time, it was the worst I have ever felt in my life and I have given birth twice that tells you a lot.

       Give your body a chance to recover to get back to where you were or you will be on this hamster wheel of pain for longer than you have to.

Have I recovered from Sciatic nerve pain?

       Not 100%, but I am on the road there, I can feel it so please follow along with me so you don’t have to take so many steps and waste so much time on things that might not work. I’m still on that recovery track. But I see glimmers of light when I recently could walk around my yard and walk down the street without having to use my husband’s arm as a crutch.

       I have been truly blessed to have health insurance throughout this journey but I have been without insurance many times in my life before and I would love to use this information to help those people too. Of course, I cannot help everyone not every person is going to react the same to medication or therapies so please always keep that in mind and consult a doctor first.

       But if you are like me I was willing to try anything to get rid of this horrible throbbing pain that I felt would never go away.

       Please see my other blog posts regarding the therapies that I used and equipment that I purchased to get better or at least to this point in my recovery. Which means being able to walk upright and sit like a normal person!

       Hope this blog will help anyone out there searching for ideas to deal with sciatic nerve pain.

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