What Is a Non-Prescription Muscle Relaxer?

The pharmaceutical industry does not make muscle relaxants available without a prescription. A doctor must prescribe muscle relaxants, such as cyclobenzaprine or diazepam. Everyday Health explains that patients may use Tylenol, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids, analgesics or narcotic painkillers to combat pain, usually in the lower back, that calls for muscle relaxants.

Drugs.com defines muscle relaxant as a drug that has the capacity to reduce muscle tone. These drugs may produce blockade at the neuromuscular junction or exert their effects within the brain and spinal cord to diminish muscle tone. WebMD explains that doctors may prescribe muscle relaxants when over-the-counter medications or prescription NSAIDs do not relieve lower back pain. In addition to cyclobenzaprine or diazepam, doctors may prescribe tizanidine, baclofen or carisoprodo to relieve the muscle spasms that cause back pain.

Dr. Jae Jung tells WebMD that muscle relaxants typically work well for acute injuries, such as back strain. However, muscle relaxants may come with side effects, particularly drowsiness. Drugs.com also notes that a muscle relaxant, like cyclobenzaprine, combined with rest and physical therapy can be used to treat skeletal muscle conditions, such as pain or injury; however, diazepam treats anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms or muscle spasms. Doctors may also combine diazepam with other medications to treat seizures.