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Muscle Relaxants for Neck Pain


Generic NameBrand Name
carisoprodolSoma, Flexeril, Valium, Skelaxin, Robaxin
cyclobenzaprineSoma, Flexeril, Valium, Skelaxin, Robaxin
diazepamSoma, Flexeril, Valium, Skelaxin, Robaxin
metaxaloneSoma, Flexeril, Valium, Skelaxin, Robaxin
methocarbamolSoma, Flexeril, Valium, Skelaxin, Robaxin

How It Works

Muscle relaxant medicines affect the communication between the brain and the spinal cord (central nervous system). They act as sedatives, which most likely causes their muscle-relaxing effects.

Why It Is Used

Muscle relaxants may be helpful when severe muscle spasms follow the beginning of neck pain.

How Well It Works

Muscle relaxants are commonly used to treat muscle spasms in neck pain. But there is little research on their use for neck pain.1

Side Effects

Side effects include:

  • Possible addiction or dependence.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Urinary retention.

These medicines are best taken at bedtime. If you use one during waking hours, strictly avoid driving, operating machinery, or doing similar activities that could be dangerous to you or others if you become drowsy.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Muscle relaxants are recommended only for initial, short-term treatment of neck pain.

Valium and Soma are not recommended for use by:

  • Pregnant women.
  • Older adults.
  • People who have depression or a history of drug or alcohol addiction.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)Click here to view a form.(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.



  1. Binder A (2008). Neck pain, search date May 2007. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence:


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRobert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
Last RevisedAugust 2, 2010

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