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Old 12-23-2005, 06:21 PM   #1
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Any other muscle relaxers out there??

Short Version:
Can anyone tell my why Soma "isnt" really a muscle relaxer? Can someone point out another muscle relaxer thats not mentioned below that I might request.

Long Version:
My new PM Dr hates Soma as a muscle relaxer. He went so far to say that its not really a muscle relaxer at all. I cant remember how he termed it but he mentioned something about it being a mind altering psychotic or something like that and he didnt like the way it reacted with narcotics. Although I asked him to elaborate he really didnt say much other than its overused. I was pretty miffed because I have gone through many different muscle relaxers and Soma was by far the best. In fact its the only one that really works for me. I dont care HOW it works, I just know it made me feel better in terms of my neck, shoulder and lower back issues. He took me off Soma that my GP Dr had me on and put me on Baclofen. I pick my battles with Dr's and this was one, at the time, I wasnt willing to argue with because I had no facts.

6 weeks have gone by since then and I have noticed that I have gotten worse and all that has changed is the muscle relaxer switch. Soma just really seemed to be more beneficial when my pain was at its worst.

I plan to bring this up when I see him in a few weeks. If I can convince him to put me back on soma then great. If not, I need to find another muscle relaxer. Problem is I think I have tried every one out there and either had strong side effects or no benefit. Here is a list of the true muscle relazers I have used (brand name/generic):

Flexiril/Cyclobenzaprine......Intense nightmares, always groggy
Skelaxin/Metaxalone..........Ineffective, no noticeable effect
Robaxin/Methocarbamol.....Uncomfortable dizzyness, headaches
Zanaflex/Tizanidine...........Always falling asleep. No muscle relax help
Lioresal/Baclofen.............Nothing at all. No effects period.

Also, for extreme pain and spasms I take xanax which works quite well. Because of its dependency issues I cannot take it as an everyday med.

Thanks!
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2 Lumbar Lamies 93 (age 22); Cervical Fusion C4-C6 2004. Lumbar Fusion w/ hardware S1-L4 2007, DDD & stenosis entire spine. super low T. 30mg Methadone BID 10-20mg Norco 4 BT. 2mg Xanax PRN.

 
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Old 12-23-2005, 07:16 PM   #2
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Re: Any other muscle relaxers out there??

Dependancy is an issue with some of the muscle relaxers but not with Soma.

I took Soma for about 9 months and stopped abrubtly w/o any problem but my doc also dint speak too highly of it.
he called it a "dirty med" whatever that means.

i had a cervical sprain at the time and it did help but i could only take it at night as i always fell asleep with it

 
Old 12-23-2005, 08:22 PM   #3
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Re: Any other muscle relaxers out there??

I was given Soma by my GP a few years back after trying both Flexeril (puts me to sleep) and Skelaxin (does nothing). Aside from not needing it due to Morphine, I've never heard anything bad about it from anyone, even my PM and GP

 
Old 12-23-2005, 09:26 PM   #4
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Re: Any other muscle relaxers out there??

Dear BilboCameron,

I am not particularly well-versed in pharmacology, but I am aware that doctors (in a general sort of way) have become increasingly wary when it comes to the prescribing of Soma. I have used Soma in the past, and it was--by far--the most effective muscle relaxant I have ever used.

I live in Florida, and Soma was moved from a non-controlled substance to a Schedule IV (the same level as most benzodiazapines, like Xanax and Valium). Soma may have become a Schedule IV in all 50 states, but I don't want to say so when I am not completely sure. Maybe this is why some of the doctors have become more "careful" in Rx'ing Soma. In the Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR), it states that Soma "does not directly relax tense skeletal muscles in man". However, this statement has been there for at least a decade.

The only other muscle relaxant that provided relief for me was Norflex. It has been so long, I am not even sure that it is made any longer. But, it is worth looking into.

I'm one of those people who makes a distinction between dependency and addiction. I wholeheartedly believe that we become dependent on many of our pain medicines--as they allow us to live a normal life. Since I have to live regularly, I really don't find fault with dependence. Years ago, I worked in a Physician's office where an alarming amount of Adderall was Rx'd by one particular doctor. It always amazed me that so many patients "lost" their Adderall. Or, they had it "stolen". Or, this. Or, that. BEFORE ANYONE JUMPS ON ME--I REALIZE THINGS LIKE THIS HAPPEN. HOWEVER, IT JUST SEEMED TO OCCUR WAY, WAY TOO OFTEN TO THE SAME PEOPLE! In fact, less than a year ago, a relative (I'm 99% sure), stole my Actiq, Dilaudid, Duragesic, and Fioricet. So, I know things like this happen. I had a rather enjoyable month, by the way, and I am sure I was a thrill to live with! My poor family--they certainly earned some extra points in Heaven for living with me during that time.

I assume that you are going to Pain Management for the long haul, like most of us do. So, maybe you and/or your doctor shouldn't worry about the dependence issue. Frankly, the Xanax you mentioned is a Schedule IV--not the most potently addictive substance compared to the opiates many of us regularly consume! For instance, I use Duragesic 75 mcg, Actiq (made of fentanyl, also), and Dilaudid. Yes, I'm positive that I am dependent on these medications, which allow me to live a better and more comfortable life. Certainly, if I were to stop these medications immediately--I would go through some terrible withdrawal symptoms...some of the worst agony I can't comprehend, I'm sure.

So, am I an "addict"? Really, I don't think so. I don't go from doctor to doctor just to obtain medication in order to get "high". Am I dependent? I offer a resounding "YES!!" I don't mean to go off the subject too much, but I hope your doctor will see that the so-called "mind-altering psychotic" effects of Soma are the actions that help your muscles relax in a therpeutic manner!! And, I hope he realizes that you aren't using Soma to get high.

Your "short version" asked for suggestions of alternative muscle relaxants. My suggestion is Norflex (if it is still available). My other suggestion--if it is feasible--is to find a different doctor. I realize that this isn't always a possibility in the PM realm, but I thought I would bring it up anyway.

The two previous posts offer appropriate insight concerning this subject!

BilboCameron, we all wish you the best. Please keep us informed.

Sincerely,
Conductor (Jon)

Last edited by conductor; 12-23-2005 at 09:31 PM. Reason: To give credit to the other posts.

 
Old 12-23-2005, 10:12 PM   #5
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Re: Any other muscle relaxers out there??

You know, its funny because soma was a drug they used to throw at us by the handfuls in the 'olden days' of PM. It has gotten a reputation for being highly addictive, I think a largely undeserved one, like Jon said, dependancy yes, addiction no. Soma also worked very well for me for a long time, but almost no doctor will prescribe it anymore for long term use and it is even difficult to find a doctor willing to use it for short term. This is not the case in many other countries, some of which actually sell it as an OTC medication. I have no idea what doctors were told about soma to scare them off it, but it must have been a doozy. You can try to reason with your doctor if you think it will help or you could try something like atavan or valium, those are both muscle relaxers and it may be as simple as changing your xanex script to atavan. I was switched to baclofen too, and it does work for me, but I still think the soma worked better. maybe Shore or someone can let us know why and what the differences are, I would also like to know why soma went from being a favorite tool of most doctors to being almost reviled by them, if anyone knows. have a nice evening all! ~ Fabby

 
Old 12-24-2005, 04:37 AM   #6
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Re: Any other muscle relaxers out there??

Thanks Scotty and Fibbles for your replies. I thought one of my Dr's called it psychologically addictive. Maybe he was spouting BS.

Conductor, Im not sure my PM Dr was worried about Soma's dependency issues as I take 240mg of Avinza and up to 45mg of Morphine Sulphate....so dependency is not an issue. Furthermore, I could go days without taking Soma, often just using it when I really needed it and that seemed to work just fine. I stopped taking it several times cold and had zero problems that I know of. I simply this he is looking at the drug and how it works. I think I remember him talking about it in terms of Soma being like LSD in the way it behaves in the body. I could be wrong in how I am rememberin his disdane for. Aside from that, he takes eve
Right now my lower back is so messed up that right at my waste, my body, looking straight at me, angles about 15-20 degrees to the right. I have tried stretching, heat and tems but nothing is working. I wish I could post a pic. Its pretty bizarre looking.

I always pick the long weekends or holidays to end up like this.

Right now I am batteling a neck that has been fused at two levels, upper thoracic moderate buldging disks at F6-F8, intense stabbing and buring pain under the shoulder blade (they cant figure that one out. I also have chronic tendonitus in my right shoulder. Pain into the ribs that is insanely sensitive to the touch. I have an Annular tear at L3-L4, Annular Bulging at L4-5, Broad-based left paracentral disk protrusion at L5-S1.

Oh, and I just found out this week that I have a "serious" Inguinal hernia on my left side that hurts all the time. I have no doubt it was caused my constapation from the high levels of narcotics and favoring the lower back and neck and shoulder when getting up off the floor, out of the car and up of the toilet. I am a big guy at 6'5" and 275lbs. I used to be 225lbs before all of this but I gained a serious spare tired and actually lost weght in my arms and legs.
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2 Lumbar Lamies 93 (age 22); Cervical Fusion C4-C6 2004. Lumbar Fusion w/ hardware S1-L4 2007, DDD & stenosis entire spine. super low T. 30mg Methadone BID 10-20mg Norco 4 BT. 2mg Xanax PRN.

 
Old 12-24-2005, 04:44 AM   #7
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Re: Any other muscle relaxers out there??

Excellent point fabby. I would like to know also. My GP will prescribe it without hesitation. 350mg up to 4 times a day. However, since I signed a contract with the PM Dr, I dont think it would br wise to switch back through my GP. I didnt get a copy of the contract so I dont know if it pertains to just narcotics or all meds he prescribes.

While having Soma will not save me from all my issues, it will do a lot more than the useless crud I take now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabrashamx
You know, its funny because soma was a drug they used to throw at us by the handfuls in the 'olden days' of PM. It has gotten a reputation for being highly addictive, I think a largely undeserved one, like Jon said, dependancy yes, addiction no. Soma also worked very well for me for a long time, but almost no doctor will prescribe it anymore for long term use and it is even difficult to find a doctor willing to use it for short term. This is not the case in many other countries, some of which actually sell it as an OTC medication. I have no idea what doctors were told about soma to scare them off it, but it must have been a doozy. You can try to reason with your doctor if you think it will help or you could try something like atavan or valium, those are both muscle relaxers and it may be as simple as changing your xanex script to atavan. I was switched to baclofen too, and it does work for me, but I still think the soma worked better. maybe Shore or someone can let us know why and what the differences are, I would also like to know why soma went from being a favorite tool of most doctors to being almost reviled by them, if anyone knows. have a nice evening all! ~ Fabby
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2 Lumbar Lamies 93 (age 22); Cervical Fusion C4-C6 2004. Lumbar Fusion w/ hardware S1-L4 2007, DDD & stenosis entire spine. super low T. 30mg Methadone BID 10-20mg Norco 4 BT. 2mg Xanax PRN.

 
Old 12-24-2005, 06:02 AM   #8
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Re: Any other muscle relaxers out there??

I believe that my contract just states narcotics as I do take other meds that are Rxed by my primary as well as the CIIs that are from my PM.but if your pm stated he did not want you on it,it could be a problem?don't know.my primary rxes my lexapro my robaxin and my valium.I suppose you could concievably have your primary Rx it for you and not mention anything to your PM,but that could also come back to haunt you in some way too.But the way my situation is,I can go to my primary and pretty much ask for what I think I may need,we discuss it and if he agrees,it is done.i don't talk to my PM clinic at all about anything before i am Rxed something from my primary.i think as long as it is not an actual narcotic of any sort it isn't any sort of an issue,at least in my case anyway.i mean really,my PM is not my main healthcare provider,they are just treating my pain.you do have the right to have other meds Rxed that have no connection to your PM doc,ya know what I mean?The only problem that I can really see here in your particular case is that your PM stated he did not want you on it.maybe if you sat down and spoke with your primary about this and just see what his thoughts are on this and how he would feel about Rxing it for you despite what the PM told you.he IS your primary doc afterall.if your primary feels that you should be on this,this would be HIS call,you know what I mean?i doubt that your PM could really say anything about it if your primry feels that this med would be in your best interest.then this would be a situation between your two docs and not you.Just a thought.only 'we' really know just what works the best for us and our pain.if this med truely works that well for you,then i would think that you have every right to be able to stay on it thru your primary if he agrees.good luck,marcia
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Old 12-24-2005, 06:45 AM   #9
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Re: Any other muscle relaxers out there??

Sounds like we have the exact same setup. My GP scripts me Lexapro, Ambien CR and 1mg Xanax. As long as it not narcotic then he will do it. My PM Dr saw Soma on the list of meds I wrote down on my chech-in paperwork. He stopped right there and suggested I should take something else and then went on to tell me how its not a muscle relaxer. I didnt realize how well it worked until it was gone. I always pick my battles to build rapport and trust so when I ask for a bump up in BT meds I dont look like someone who wants it all. Its a strategy that seems to have worked so far.

Since my GP Rx'd it before and the PM Dr "asked" me to switch I am really thinking that there shouldnt be a problem just asking my GP to auth it. Im going to call into the Pharmacy and ask for a refill which will prompt them to send a request to my GP. His PA usually handles all of it anyway. Its just a slight risk and one that is easy to justify my actions. After all, the agreement was for the PM to Rx the narcotics and my GP does the rest.

I could ask my PM for Soma but since he seems to be so against it he would probably say no. At that point, if I went and got it from my GP, then that would look pretty bad. When my PM Rx'd the baclophen he didnt say "no more soma" and prior to that is was understood that my GP would Rx everything but the narcotics.

Thanks for your insight.



Quote:
Originally Posted by feelbad
I believe that my contract just states narcotics as I do take other meds that are Rxed by my primary as well as the CIIs that are from my PM.but if your pm stated he did not want you on it,it could be a problem?don't know.my primary rxes my lexapro my robaxin and my valium.I suppose you could concievably have your primary Rx it for you and not mention anything to your PM,but that could also come back to haunt you in some way too.But the way my situation is,I can go to my primary and pretty much ask for what I think I may need,we discuss it and if he agrees,it is done.i don't talk to my PM clinic at all about anything before i am Rxed something from my primary.i think as long as it is not an actual narcotic of any sort it isn't any sort of an issue,at least in my case anyway.i mean really,my PM is not my main healthcare provider,they are just treating my pain.you do have the right to have other meds Rxed that have no connection to your PM doc,ya know what I mean?The only problem that I can really see here in your particular case is that your PM stated he did not want you on it.maybe if you sat down and spoke with your primary about this and just see what his thoughts are on this and how he would feel about Rxing it for you despite what the PM told you.he IS your primary doc afterall.if your primary feels that you should be on this,this would be HIS call,you know what I mean?i doubt that your PM could really say anything about it if your primry feels that this med would be in your best interest.then this would be a situation between your two docs and not you.Just a thought.only 'we' really know just what works the best for us and our pain.if this med truely works that well for you,then i would think that you have every right to be able to stay on it thru your primary if he agrees.good luck,marcia
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2 Lumbar Lamies 93 (age 22); Cervical Fusion C4-C6 2004. Lumbar Fusion w/ hardware S1-L4 2007, DDD & stenosis entire spine. super low T. 30mg Methadone BID 10-20mg Norco 4 BT. 2mg Xanax PRN.

 
Old 12-24-2005, 09:25 AM   #10
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Re: Any other muscle relaxers out there??

I have been taking soma now for about 2 years. I have severe tmj and suffered terrible muscle spasms in my face, neck, upper back and temples. Soma is the only med that got that totally under control. My gosh, when I tried things like Flexeril and those types I was so drugged I couldn't function. Soma has been a God-send for me. I don't know what I would do if my dentist took me off of it. I take it and I also take the soma compound, that too is a wonderful med. It has the soma, aspirin and condeine in it. It can really attack those awful, painful muscle spasms. I wonder why dr's think it is NOT a muscle relaxer? I mean it is the only med I have ever tried that stopped my muscle spasms. For me it worked better than valium!

Karen

 
Old 12-24-2005, 09:45 AM   #11
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Re: Any other muscle relaxers out there??

Hi Karen, may I ask, are you in Canada? I have friends up there and they say soma is still regularly prescribed there, and I believe a form of it is avalible OTC but I may be wrong on that. Good luck with the TMJ, That is no fun at all, I had surgery for mine about 17 years ago and am much improved although I still sleep with a night bite guard. Happy Holidays!

 
Old 12-24-2005, 06:34 PM   #12
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Re: Any other muscle relaxers out there??

Dear BilboCameron,

Thank you for your response. Again, I will say that Soma (when I took it in the past) was THE superior muscle relaxant!

With the various suggestions in this thread, I hope you will find a way to get it. From what you've said, Soma helps you the most. I just don't understand why so many doctors are bad-mouthing something so helpful to so many people.

The one item I do know is that Soma is available OTC in Mexico. I am not sure of your location, but you might find the Mexico venue helpful! Of course, I am not suggesting that you obtain Soma in a "secretive" manner (sounds spooky, doesn't it?). But, Bilbo...you are the single person who knows what helps you the most. It seems that a doctor should listen to YOU!!

Thank you for keeping us updated on this subject. I wish you well. I don't mean to OVERstate this, but I would appreciate you keeping us updated since this is such an important item of interest.

Sincerely,
Conductor (Jon)

 
Old 12-24-2005, 07:01 PM   #13
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Re: Any other muscle relaxers out there??

Fab,
No. I am in the US. I have had no problems getting soma from any of my dr's. My dentist put me on it long term and said most of his tmj patients find it far more successful in controlling tmj than any of the other ones.

Karen

 
Old 12-25-2005, 10:35 AM   #14
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Re: Any other muscle relaxers out there??

Holiday Greetings to you all

(the most PC way I could say it )




Thanks guys. I have to see my GP between holidays so my Wife and I are going to demand Soma. I am going to show him a time line of when I stopped taking it and how it corresponds to a 2-3 point jump in my pain (0-10 pain scale).

If he doesnt comply we will hold him hostage.....just kidding...seriously! Just kidding. Its Christmas and despite all the medical problems I am in a pretty good mood. We had to cancle all of our Christmas plans because my lower back went out bad. We should be in a 20 room Cabin very close to Crater Lake, Oregon. Just me and my Wife today..and thats all I need.

For those who are keeping score....in the next month or so I will be:

1) Seeing a Surgeon to repair a Inguinal Hernia that showed up on my recent CT Scan. Caused my not being able to use arm and shoulder. Relied on back and stomach muscles to lift everything or get up off the floor...etc.

2) Seeing another Orthopedic Surgeon to get the Xth opinion on my shoulder.

3) Seeing another Surgeon about some nasty lumbar problems that have come about recently. See #1. You can see my MRI report on this HealthBoard post located here [url]www.healthboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=348874[/url]

Cut and paste the link as this boards URL system either is disabled or I am an idiot. Its the only one on the net that I cannot get to work. They must have bungled it.

 
Old 12-25-2005, 12:36 PM   #15
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Re: Any other muscle relaxers out there??

I too take Soma and find it to be the most effective muscle relaxer I have tried, and I have tried most of them. Your doctor probably does not like it because it has a high street value and is one of those drugs that is abused quite a bit. He is just being overly cautious if you ask me, and you are paying the price. Someone else mentioned Norflex, and I also take that with the Soma, and find it works very well combined with Soma. I would ask about the Norflex if your doc is absolutely opposed to the Soma. I only need to take it twice daily as it has a long half life, about 14 hours. With the exception of dry mouth, I have had no side effects from it. Good luck with your doctor. And Soma is a MUSCLE relaxer, no matter how you slice it.

VA-gal

 
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