10:24 pm - 12/16/2011

Muscle Relaxers for cramps?

I get extremely bad menstrual cramps: I throw up, get dizzy, black out, and am pretty much confined to the bed for the first day of my period. After that, I'm fine. I was put on birth control for a while, first Yaz and then I switched to Loestrin 24-Fe. The Loestrin 24-Fe took care of the majority of my cramps, but due to other issues on it, I went off of it a few months ago. The bad cramps are back, and last month's cramps were the worst I'd had since I was 16, before I ever tried anything for them. >:|

When I had Vicodin (for killing the pain of bartholin gland abscess), I did use one for my cramps. Just one, once a month. It helped immensely, better than the birth control even. However, I no longer have any. I now have muscle relaxers (I sprained my back last month while moving, doctor prescribed them to me and I only took one). Tizanidine, to be specific.

Have any of you treated menstrual cramps with muscle relaxers? Do they work at all? I'm expecting my period soon and NOTHING else works. I'm already dreading the pain and if I can use my muscle relaxers that are prescribed to me, I will be so happy. 
somniumdraconae 17th-Dec-2011 04:32 am (UTC)
Yup, they work great for me. Cramps are typically caused by uterine muscle contractions. So it pretty much makes sense that muscle relaxers would do a little something.

It won't hurt you to try, assuming you are aware of the side effects of the drug (drowsiness, in particular). The best time to take the pill is about 2 hours before you go to bed. It should last the whole next day, depending how strong a dose you have. If you DO take one in the morning/daytime, avoid driving, don't drink, etc.

Good luck, hope it helps!
xx_socold_xx 17th-Dec-2011 08:14 am (UTC)
Awesome, thank you! I'm due to start in the next few days, and luckily I just finished school yesterday and am jobless, so I have nowhere important to be. :)
six_dollar_baby 17th-Dec-2011 05:39 am (UTC)
strong muscle relaxers do some good for me, though of course they come with drowsiness as a side effect. great for sitting around at home, not so great for going to work. make sure you know your drug interactions- if you have to take other medications, you don't want them interacting with the muscle relaxers.

Here is a list of the drugs that interact badly with Tizanidine: http://www.rxlist.com/zanaflex-drug.htm (Zanaflex is the brand-name version of Tizanidine.)
xx_socold_xx 17th-Dec-2011 08:16 am (UTC)
Thanks! This is one time that I am thankful to have nothing to do anytime soon (just finished for the semester and currently jobless) so I don't have to worry about taking it before work or driving or anything. And no other meds for me, so I should be good!

I know that last time I took one, I just laid on the couch and watched Netflix till I dozed off. Hopefully it'll be just like that with my cramps!
kelsietrpt 17th-Dec-2011 06:13 am (UTC)
Flexeril works amazingly on my cramps. Too bad doctors refuse to prescribe prescription pain meds to me for cramps. :( I got the Flexeril from my boyfriend after he hurt his back.
xx_socold_xx 17th-Dec-2011 08:17 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad to hear that muscle relaxers are actually pretty effective. I wasn't sure if it was the right type of muscle or something, you know?

And I'm sorry :( Will they even prescribe you Naproxen Sodium? I was prescribed that before I ever tried HBC but it didn't do much for me.
ponta1anime 17th-Dec-2011 04:54 pm (UTC)
Just an FYI about the Naproxen Sodium, that's actually the ingredient in the OTC painkiller Aleve (and several generic equivalents) here in the states. Interesting they would write a Rx for it.
somniumdraconae 17th-Dec-2011 05:33 pm (UTC)
If you want a stronger dose than the OTC usage you technically need a prescription. Or, you could just have a doc advise you to take three pills instead of two. :P
withinmywill 17th-Dec-2011 09:47 pm (UTC)
Exactly. I take a prescription dose of Naproxen Sodium (550 milligrams for this 135 pound girl). While it is just Aleve, it works miracles for me, and I have very similar issues.
frolicnaked 18th-Dec-2011 05:32 am (UTC)
Yep, yep. Because of store brands for OTC meds, it's cheaper for me to take a prescription dose of an OTC formulation than it is to fill a scrip for prescription strength.
xx_socold_xx 18th-Dec-2011 01:47 am (UTC)
Yeah, I know Naproxen Sodium is an ingredient in Aleve but I guess it was a much stronger dose, I'm not too sure. That was ~5 years ago, don't remember :P
latechgrad26 17th-Dec-2011 11:37 am (UTC)
I've been prescribed Vioxx and a whole lot of other meds for my cramps. I'v used Vicodin and it worked beautifully for my cramps. I just hated it when I ran out because my doctor wouldn't prescribe muscle relaxers for cramps either. She just told me to take Ibuprofren which did nothing =/
kaberett 17th-Dec-2011 01:00 pm (UTC)
How well muscle relaxants work is probably related to the cause of the pain. Have you been investigated for any underlying/invisible condition that could be contributing to you hurting that badly? Because, to reassure you, that is not normal pain levels: I've got severe endometriosis, which is bad enough that I receive some disability benefits, but it's extremely rare for me to get near blacking out. Unfortunately getting any kind of gynaecological disorder diagnosed can be a very long struggle (6 years for me, & I was lucky).

I'm in the UK. I'm aware it can be difficult to get hold of opiate painkillers in the US. But honestly, in your position I would be going back to my doctor and saying "my pain prevents me doing THESE things and has THIS impact on my life, and when I was being treated for bartholin cysts I found that a single Vicodin made me functional again."

You'll probably need input from people managing chronic pain in the USA in order to gauge how likely that would be to work, though - in my context, I could go to my GP and say "30mg neat codeine tablets work" and I'd get a prescription. :-/
xx_socold_xx 18th-Dec-2011 01:49 am (UTC)
I had an ultrasound about 6 years ago when I first when to the gynecologist; she found a cyst on my left ovary and put me on HBC to get rid of it (and it did indeed go away). But I still had the cramps, though they weren't *as* bad.

She didn't really check for endometriosis other than asking if my mom had it/had problems, and checking the ultrasound. Not sure how much that would tell her.
kaberett 18th-Dec-2011 02:58 am (UTC)
That tells her absolutely nothing, I'm afraid. There's no proven hereditary link, as yet, and I had no family history but... see above. Ultrasounds do (as you know :-) show up cysts, but unfortunately show absolutely nothing of... pretty much any other endometriosis that's present. As I said, I've got severe endo, and... my ultrasounds are routinely completely clear.

Unfortunately the only way to diagnose endo is to have laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery. I don't know how feasible that would be for you, costwise, but even if you can afford it it's likely to take you quite a while to persuade anyone it's necessary - if that's even a route you want to go down.
polylizzy 17th-Dec-2011 04:47 pm (UTC)
I had horrific cramps fr the first 24 hours of my periods when I was a teen. I ha a dr. give me Anaprox. the rx version of what is now aleve.

He said it was a muscle relaxer and anti inflammatory but it usually worked like a charm.

My issues turned out to be a "tilted uterus"? The dr. explained that it is kind of folded over and when it contracts (from the cramps) that it squished itself which made it contract more. I was 14 at the time and my MOM was freaking out that I would never be able to have kids so I ended up getting tests and what not (I don't remember all of it, was half my lifetime ago)

While not a viable solution for everyone, it was a self correcting problem. Once I had a baby, everything ended up where it was supposed to. I haven't had debilitating cramps since.
xx_socold_xx 18th-Dec-2011 01:50 am (UTC)
Hmm, that is quite interesting. I've heard of a tilted uterus before but wasn't aware it could cause cramping like that. Thanks!
theonlymeyouget 17th-Dec-2011 05:48 pm (UTC)
I don't know if they help, and I don't want to scare you, but be mindful of Tizanidine. Some people love it and it's a godsend and they have no problems. Others... not so much.

Myself and a girl I work with both had MAJOR problems with it. When I took it, it actually GAVE me restless legs type symptoms, so I got out of bed and tried to walk it off.

Sometime between then and when I woke up on the floor 3 hours later with my cat licking my face raw, I had a 25 minute conversation with a friend I have no memory of, and then blacked/passed out.

I live alone. I could have hit my head and died.

A girl I worked with also took it - she was RX'd it by a different doc for a different reason, I didn't give her any of mine - got into a PHYSICAL FIGHT with her boyfriend during which she broke his nose and also has no memory of it happening. She remembers them arguing, then she snapped back to reality in the police station and Nick was in the hospital.

Even in today's "everyone is an opiate addict" climate, I don't see how a doctor would have a problem giving you 5 or 10 Vicodin once a month just to get you through the worst of it.
misspaigeb 17th-Dec-2011 08:46 pm (UTC)
In my experience it's been very very hard to get any kind of prescription med for my cramps.
theonlymeyouget 17th-Dec-2011 08:59 pm (UTC)
Do you know about the herb/plant kratom? I have fibromyalgia and have the same experience with doctors (can't any treatment that works) and have found it to be a lifesaver. Everyone has to make their own choices about their health, and I'm not in a position to outright recommend it of course, but do a few Google searches and see if you think it's something that could help you or not.
xx_socold_xx 18th-Dec-2011 01:52 am (UTC)
Wow! I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. :( Were you on any other medication at the time?

I've only taken it once before, about a month ago, and I felt no different other than a little sleepy/drowsy and obviously relaxed. So hopefully it won't react with me strangely if I take it again.

And while I would love to get more Vicodin just for my cramping problem, it is very hard to find a doctor who will actually listen about how Vicodin helps you and not assume that you're drug-seeking. I talked to my doctor (GP) once about my extreme anxiety and he told me he couldn't prescribe me anything for it (even after I told him it was RUINING my life) because at my age (22), I'd destroy my life if I got on anti-anxiety meds. :|
atalanta0jess 18th-Dec-2011 04:18 am (UTC)
I hope you found a new doctor. My experience has been that it's pretty easy to get prescribed anti-anxiety drugs. And while yes, some of them are a bit tricky to get off of, they aren't all like valium in the sense that you can get hooked. Some of them are still 'addictive' in the sense that you will have withdrawal symptoms, but not in the sense that they give you any kind of emotional experience that you'll crave. You just have to step down off of them.

Anyway, I hope you have access to a doctor who is a bit more helpful.
xx_socold_xx 18th-Dec-2011 06:33 am (UTC)
Thank you. I have pretty much stopped going to that doctor and am actually in the process of switching doctors this coming week!
frolicnaked 18th-Dec-2011 05:45 am (UTC)
Even in today's "everyone is an opiate addict" climate, I don't see how a doctor would have a problem giving you 5 or 10 Vicodin once a month just to get you through the worst of it.

For whatever it's worth, I've literally looked for a decade and a half for a health care provider who made menstrual pain management a priority. Currently, I'm able to get 6-10 pills (where a dose is considered 2 pills) of Tylenol 3 per period. Regardless of whether it's justified, in practical terms, in can still be quite difficult to get anything other than HBC or prescription NSAIDs for menstrual pain relief.
crazy_heva 17th-Dec-2011 10:08 pm (UTC)
Given the effects i had on my mums dihydrocodeine I am wary of opiates. Spent 3 hours at work trying to read my emails and couldn't remember what was at the start of a sentence by the time I go to the end. I only took it once since, for my iud insertion when the spaced out effect was greatly appreciated.

When i went for my consultation before my IUD insertion the Dr recommended buscopan, from what I beleive it's an antispasmodic for ibs available over the counter in the uk. she said it would help better than paracetemol. Personally I always go for ibuprofen lysine (feminax in the uk and supermarket generics are available). It really is fantastic.

hope this helps someone
ready2please 18th-Dec-2011 06:31 am (UTC)
My doctor tried multiple things for my extreme, rolling into a fetal position cramps. The only thing that worked was Celebrex and she was willing to prescribe that for cramps though its more common usage is for arthritis inflammation. If you can talk to your doctor about it, I would try that. I only had to take it for the first few days of my period, but what a difference. It takes about 4 hours for full relief, but then I keep taking them as prescribed for the next few days.

Good luck. Extremely debilitating menstrual cramps are horrible.
murphtang 18th-Dec-2011 12:02 pm (UTC)
Ive actually been prescribed muscle relaxants for my period cramps. They seem to have helped so far :)

And I hear you on the super strong pain killers...when I snapped a tendon in my foot, I was taking codeine, and ma lord, no period pains ^^ Twas lovely!
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