What are the best drugs for muscle pain?

Sore and aching muscles are common. They can occur as a result of injury, overuse, or an underlying disease. While muscle pain usually goes away on its own, people can take medication to help reduce symptoms.

Muscle pain, also called myalgia, can occur in any part of the body that has muscles. The discomfort caused by muscle pain can range from mild to severe, depending on the cause. Many different medications are available to help treat and relieve muscle pain.

This article discusses the different medications that can help treat muscle pain.

A doctor may prescribe medications, such as muscle relaxants, for people with muscle pain and spasms. These drug groups refer to drugs that help relieve muscle pain and tension by reducing muscle contraction.

A study 2020 adds that the use of muscle relaxants is increasing. Although these medications are beneficial for short-term use, they may not be right for everyone. Evidence also indicates that they can have adverse effects, and it is not advised for long-term use. An older source notes that muscle relaxants are available in two classes: antispasmodics and antispastics.


Antispasmodics decrease muscle spasms by altering conduction in the central nervous system. There are two types of antispasmodics: benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines work by blocking certain chemicals in the brain, while non-benzodiazepines work on the spinal cord and brain.

Here are some examples of antispasmodics:

Potential side effects of antispasmodics usually involve drowsiness, dizziness, and headache. For example, the possible side effects of cyclobenzaprine may include:

People taking medications that affect serotonin should not take antispasmodics, as they may be at risk for serotonin syndrome. Some muscle relaxers can also be addictive, and people are advised to use them only for the short term.


These drugs work on muscle cells and the spinal cord to improve muscle tension and relieve spasms. They work by inhibiting the transmission of neurons in the brain. A doctor can prescribe antispastic medications for conditions that cause muscle spasms, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy.

Here are some examples of antispastics:

Some side effects vary with different antispastics, but generally include muscle weakness and drowsiness. For example, the most common side effects of baclofen to understand:

In some cases, doctors may prescribe medications that do not primarily treat muscle pain, but may help relieve pain or spasms. These treatments may include:


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) endorses the use of benzodiazepines for:

However, a doctor can prescribe them off-label to relieve muscle pain. These drugs do not relieve pain, but may help relieve muscle spasms if a person takes them for a short period. They work by enhancing the effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a neurotransmitter that may have sedative properties.

The following are examples of benzodiazepines:

Common Side Effects of Benzodiazepines may include drowsiness, confusion and difficulty breathing. These drugs can also be habit-forming.


This drug is an anticonvulsant, and doctors usually prescribe it to treat seizures, relieve nerve pain, and treat restless leg syndrome. It works by altering electrical activity in the brain and influencing neurotransmitters, which can alter the way the body senses pain.

Common Gabapentin Side Effects May include dizziness, fatigue and headache.

A person can use over-the-counter pain relievers for mild to moderate muscle pain. These may include:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs are drugs that help treat or relieve pain by reducing inflammation.

These drugs slow down training of prostaglandins, which the body produces after injury or illness. They also block an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX), which helps create prostaglandins.

Examples of over-the-counter NSAIDs include:

Potential side effects of over-the-counter NSAIDs can include:

  • gastrointestinal problems, such as indigestion
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness


Also known as paracetamol, this medication can treat mild to moderate pain and fever. It is both an analgesic or analgesic and an antipyretic or antipyretic. Similar to NSAIDs, so does acetaminophen works by inhibiting the COX pathway.

If a person uses acetaminophen too often or for too long, they are risk severe liver damage. The drug can also cause skin reactions, such as:

  • redness
  • eruption
  • blisters
  • the top layer of skin peels off

Natural options can help relieve muscle pain. However, more research is needed to determine their effectiveness. Some natural options may include:

  • Fruits: some fruit, such as cherries, strawberries, avocados, grapes, and watermelon may have anti-inflammatory properties, which could help relieve sore muscles.
  • Massage: massage techniques can help to relieve muscle pain. This may be due to tissue relaxation and improved circulation. A person can self-massage or consult a professional.
  • CBD: Although more research is needed, evidence suggests that CBD may radiation pain signaling pathways. A study 2020 on athletes suggests that CBD can modulate inflammation and aid muscle recovery.

Learn more about buying CBD products here.

Muscle pain that doesn’t go away or gets worse could mean an underlying condition that needs medical treatment.

If a person has an ineffective prescription for pain relief, they should discuss it with a doctor. If over-the-counter options do not help reduce symptoms, it is advisable to see a doctor. A medical professional can diagnose the underlying cause and suggest treatment options.

Muscle pain is usually nothing to worry about and usually goes away on its own. However, severe or prolonged pain may indicate an underlying disease.

A person can treat their pain with short-term medication. A doctor can prescribe medications, including muscle relaxants or off-label options. A doctor may also recommend using over-the-counter options, such as NSAIDs. All of these drugs carry the risk of side effects, and some can be habit-forming. A person should not take painkillers for long periods of time and should see a doctor if the pain is recurrent or severe.

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