Best muscle relaxer for Fibro?

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 511
   Posted 11/25/2012 2:46 PM (GMT -7)   

I'm fairly new here, and recently "officially" Dx. I have tried Flexiril, Robaxin and I currently take Zanaflex. The flexiril made me way too drowsy, even at 1/4 of a dose (I was slurring all day the next day), the Robaxin didn't help much and I seemed to have a slight reaction to it (I have this issue with several meds, unfortunately). The Zanaflex helps to an extent. However, when I wake up in the a.m. after taking half of one I seem to be even more stiff and in more pain than without. Does anyone have any suggestions for a different type of muscle relaxer that could help me with muscle spasms, sleep, and anxiety?

I know most aren't for anxiety but I know many have the relaxing property that helps with anxiety and sleep.

Thanks for any advice you might have!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 11/25/2012 3:07 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't think there is any such thing as a "best" medication...It's all just what works for you...

I had a lot of drowsiness with Flexeril when I used it years ago...this time I don't have a single issue in that regard.

There also really isn't a muscle relaxer that is meant for sleep or anxiety....It's not meant to be so sedating that it puts you to sleep for 8 hours....And it isn't a good idea to reach for a muscle relaxer if you are having issues with anxiety. I would suggest seeking out a counselor or other Dr. to see if there are natural ways you can help with that issue.

When I first get up...I do about 15 minutes of good yoga and stretching to get all the kinks out. Then I take a nice long hot shower.

Are you getting enough exercise during the day and not taking any naps? This can help with the stiffness as well as help our bodies prepare for a good night's sleep. Exercise is also good for our emotional well being as well.

It's also important to drink plenty of water each day as being dehydrated can cause cramping of muscles..I drink 12-14 glasses a day...As well as avoid any caffeine products after 1pm....

Keep in mind that any medication is just meant to put a dent in the pain we have...Obviously if the Zanaflex isn't working at all then there isn't any reason to be taking it...There is Amrix which is the same medication as what is in Flexeril but it is a once daily dosing and doesn't cause the same fatigue...

There is Baclofen or Skelaxin as two other ones to try. Most Drs. will ask that you stay on a med for at least a month as many side effects will abate by then. Not sure what your slight reaction to Robaxin was...but as mentioned...lots of those things will go away after a few weeks to a month or so...

The other things to help promote good sleep is not eating for at least 3 hours before going to bed. Make sure that you turn off ALL lights..including even the small ones from cell phones or laptop charging...Keep the bedroom at 68 degrees or cooler. I listen to an audiobook which helps me fall asleep since it's completely dark and my eyes are shut:)

So..if your worst time of soreness is in the am....then trying to set your alarm for about an hour or so before you need to get up...take the medication and then go back to sleep for a bit can be helpful.

Just some thoughts....I hope that you can speak with your Dr. about the other issues...especially if you are having issues with anxiety that are affecting your daily need to see the right type of Dr. to get the proper help for this...

Good luck..
SB (Snowbunny) and the pup that snores (my yellow lab:))

3, two-level, cervical fusions over the past 11 years. The last one was anterior and posterior with lots of fun titanium!
Still have active herniations along with knee problems and another Morton's neuroma in left foot.
I try to find joy in each day even with chronic pain:)

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 11/25/2012 4:52 PM (GMT -7)   
I have had reactions to every medication they have given me to try and relax the muscles. What we stumbled upon is using Xanax since it does calm the central nervous system. I have been using Xanax (.25) judiciously for nearly 8 years now and I am not addicted to it, have not had to up the dosage nor do I even run close to running out prior to the next time I can fill the script. To accomplish this I never take more than 1 mg a day unless it’s a horrible, horrible day and never use it for more than 3 days in a row. Am I pain free? No, but it does make a difference in how I feel.

Also, I was a 6 pack + Diet Coke drinker a day. I cut back to one per day per the neurologist’s instructions. I haven’t noticed a change from that, but health wise, it was a good move. I do find that when my muscles are over reacting, as in having active spasms or fasciculations, if I get up and move about, it helps to bring them under control. You will find your nitch and I bet you it will be unique to you and your body.
Keep smiling because crying does you no good

GERD, IBS, Degenerative Disc Disease, Cervical radiculopathy, Cervical spondylotic stenosis, Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis, Osteoarthritis, PTSD, Benign fasciculation syndrome (BFS), Myofacial Pain Syndrome and now Fibro as of 7/12

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 41841
   Posted 11/25/2012 5:08 PM (GMT -7)   
I use to take soma compound and I really liked it. Unfortunately the doctors do think of it as a buzz drug and don't like to prescribe it. I use to feel a little loopy for about 20 minutes and then it would go away. And if I ate food with it, it didn't effect me that way. I also agree with the xanax. It does relax you.

I now use heat. I have a bed buddy that I heat up and wrap in a towel and put around my neck. It helps a lot. The heat is moist and it penatrates.

Take care and I hope that you feel better.

I tried flexeril many times and it always gave me a hangover and made me very drowsy...

Hugs, Karen
Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 11/25/2012 5:15 PM (GMT -7)   
I take xanaflex and it's the best thing since sliced bread for me. So like other ladies have said, it's really all about what works for you. I took Soma and it didn't work at all for me. Flexeril was even worse. I took another one in between but it was so bad it wasn't even worth remembering that one's name! (LOL) I do find the best relief with the xanaflex and I do find that if I take my dosage with my painkiller (in my case percocet - for now) it works even more like a champ.

When and how are you taking it? That may be a little of the issue, maybe?

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17501
   Posted 11/25/2012 5:17 PM (GMT -7)   
We are all so different and what works for one doesn't necessarily work for another. Case in point....I started taking Robaxin last winter for fibro and ankylosing spondylitis. This drug has given me such relief but yet it didn't help you at all. It's just trial and error when it comes to meds. You will eventually find what helps you the most.

Forum Moderator/Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Glaucoma, Scoliosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 511
   Posted 11/25/2012 5:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for your replies!

I wanted to mention that my Rheumatologist suggested that a muscle relaxant might help not only with the muscle spasms, but also for anxiety and to help me sleep (since my anxiety is related to insomnia and pain). He also knows that I like to take as little medication as possible, so we try to find medications that have benefits for multiple symptoms whenever possible. I wasn't trying to use my medication for other symptoms without the advice of my doctor. :)

I was taking it 3 times a day as needed, 1/4 of one during the day, 1/2 at night. My doctor said the less I take it the more it will help me sleep at night. The problem is that when I wake up I'm more stiff, and I think it's because the muscle relaxer helps me sleep so I'm laying in the same position all night. The other problem is that if I don't take it I toss and turn all night due to pain.

I was also prescribed Tramadol for pain, 2 a day as needed. I have to save these for the daytime because I have an 18 month old son to care for. My rheumatologist emailed me over the weekend to say he was going to prescribe Lortab as well since I've told him I'm still in a lot of pain and not able to function as needed. He hasn't called it in for me yet so I'm not sure about how/when I'll be taking that.

I am not able to exercise right now due to neck, lower and upper back
Pain that is sometimes rather severe. I am going to see a Lyme specialist in February as Lyme Disease is suspected as an underlying cause for Fibro in my case.

SnowBunny21, I have heard of Baclofen and heard it is very helpful to some people. I will also ask about the Amrix. I took the Robaxin for about 6 weeks (but not daily, only as needed as this was before my pain was every day, all day like it is now). My Rheumy thinks I could be allergic because it made my eyes very red and dry so he suggested I stop taking it.

Yrsilly- I have also heard of Xanax but would have never thought to ask about this for muscle spasms/pain. This might be something worth mentioning at my next appointment.

getting by- I did try Soma once, I'd forgotten about that one. It definitely wasn't something I'd take for fun, but then again I've heard that the effects of medications when you don't actually need them (recreational), can be much different than for those of us who use it for a legitimate reason.

Ari216- I'm so glad Zanaflex works for you! I usually take a dose on its own, but perhaps I could try it with Tramadol (or Lortab if I switch). That might make all of the difference! My Rheumy said its fine to take the tramadol and zanaflex together. I'll be sure to ask him about taking it with Lortab.

Thank you all so much for the advice. I feel more prepared for my next doctor's visit, and if I do decide to switch from the Zanaflex I now have a few other options to discuss with my doctor.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 511
   Posted 11/25/2012 5:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Sherrine- I'm glad that Robaxin works for you! It's funny how differently we each react to medications, isn't it? I'm glad you've found some relief. It did help somewhat, but the side effects unfortunately keep me from taking it now (my Rheumy suspects I could be allergic, so best to avoid it just in case).
Thanks for your input! :)

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 11/25/2012 6:23 PM (GMT -7)   
I take paxil for my anxiety. A side effect of it is my pains are lessen some. But you have to be careful taking tramadol with it.
Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Glaucoma, Asthma, Hypothyriodism, Sleep Apnea, Degenerative Disk and Facet Disease, and Allergies

When life throws you lemons....
Pick them up and throw them right back at them! :))

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 511
   Posted 11/25/2012 6:42 PM (GMT -7)   
couch tater- I have read about the interactions between anti depressants as Tramadal. Unfortunately, I am unable to tolerate Anti-depressants. I've tried many, many forms and they all cause the same reaction for me. I've never made it past two weeks with any if them because the side effects were so extreme. My doctors and I decided it just wasn't worth it for me to keep trying. This is disappointing to me because I've heard antidepressants are very helpful for some people with chronic pain, anxiety, etc. I'm glad the Paxil helps and provides you with pain relief, what a blessing!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 2656
   Posted 11/26/2012 5:29 AM (GMT -7)   
I really dislike taking any medication.  Still, I think there are times we need them, such as when at our worst.  Right now I'm just beginning to research natural alternatives to the Flexeril and Neurontin I take.  I'm currently doing a search on 'natural alternative to (name of medication)' or 'herbal alternative for....'  Just starting this, so I can't comment yet on how it's going.  Of course, it's something I'll also check out with my doctor, if/when I find an alternative. 
 I'll keep you posted! :-)

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 41841
   Posted 11/26/2012 6:07 AM (GMT -7)   
I think that the lortab will work well for you. It is hydrocodone and some tylenol. It has more tylenol than others. at least 350mg. But I know people who take it and they like it a lot. It may seem strong to you at first. But you will get use to it, and I think you will get pain relief. Let us know how that goes. But like Sherrine said, different meds work differently for different people. I took norco, it is like lortab. But less tylenol. I call it tylenol because I can't spell acetaminiphen. I know that is wrong. I would eat with this med too if I were you. But talk to your doc and see what they say. Good luck!!!

Hugs, Karen
Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 41841
   Posted 11/27/2012 8:53 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you for sharing about the topicals. It is a good alternative...

Hugs, Karen
Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies
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