How does Methocarbamol work for back pain?

methocarbamol for back pain
Medically reviewed by Dr. Mehvish Khan

Key Takeaways

  • Methocarbamol, a muscle relaxant, acts on the central nervous system to alleviate back and neck pain by inhibiting nerve impulses that cause pain. It’s effective in treating acute musculoskeletal pain.
  • Methocarbamol typically starts working within 30 minutes to an hour after ingestion, providing relief lasting around 4 to 6 hours. Its dosage varies based on the severity of the condition and muscle spasms, with an initial dose range of 500mg to 750mg.
  • Methocarbamol focuses on musculoskeletal pain by relaxing muscles, while Gabapentin targets neuropathic pain arising from nerve compression or injury, signifying different classes of medications for distinct pain origins. Consulting a healthcare provider for accurate diagnosis and personalized prescription is essential to avoid adverse effects and ensure appropriate treatment.


Methocarbamol (Robaxin) is a muscle relaxant used for acute musculoskeletal pain, easing discomfort by calming nerves. It starts working within 30 minutes, providing relief for about 4-6 hours. The dosage varies based on severity, typically ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 mg per day for adults.

For back pain, it’s one of several options like Tizanidine and Cyclobenzaprine. However, choosing the right one depends on individual responses and the nature of the pain. It’s crucial to note that methocarbamol is different from gabapentin, targeting muscle pain, unlike gabapentin’s focus on nerve pain.

Potential side effects like dizziness and drowsiness can occur, especially in older individuals. Avoiding activities requiring focus is advisable. It’s important not to combine methocarbamol with other muscle relaxants without consulting your healthcare provider.

Is Methocarbamol good for back pain?

Methocarbamol (Robaxin) is the centrally-acting skeletal muscle relaxant (SMR) class approved for treating acute musculoskeletal pain. This medication can be available over the counter in some countries but most of the time requires a prescription. Musculoskeletal pain affects bones, joints, muscles, tendons, or ligaments. An injury such as a fracture may cause sudden, severe pain. It can affect some parts of the body or the full body and can get worse with time. Your healthcare provider’s physical examination can lead to the proper diagnosis and treatment regimen. 

Back pain can be of extreme discomfort, consult a healthcare professional now!

What does Methocarbamol do for back pain?

Methocarbamol works on the central nervous system and relaxes muscles by suppressing the transmission of nerve impulses that cause pain. Back and neck pain can be effectively treated by methocarbamol.
One of the most prescribed brands of methocarbamol is Robaxin which a healthcare provider prescribes. The initial dose for methocarbamol starts from 500mg to 750 mg depending on the age and severity of the pain. 

How quickly does Methocarbamol work?

Methocarbamol typically starts working within 30 minutes to an hour after taking it. 

Its effects will typically last from 4 to 6 hours and symptoms will start to decrease eventually leading to complete relief of the back pain says Dr Richard Honekar

The typical dosing regimen for methocarbamol starts with the severity of the medical condition and muscle spasms. 

For adults, the dose of methocarbamol starts from 1,500 to 2,000 mg orally (total), usually divided into 3-4 doses per day. The dose and dosing frequency for the maintenance will change from 4,000 to 4,500 mg orally per day. 

Consult your healthcare provider now for your personalized dose and dosage regimen!

What is the strongest muscle relaxer for your back?

The strongest muscle relaxers that work best for back pain depend on various factors including one’s response, the underlying cause of back pain, and the potential side effects of different medications. 

Some of the commonly prescribed muscle relaxers for back and neck pain as as follows: 

  1. Tizanidine (Zanaflex): 

Tizanidine is known for its muscle-relaxant properties and is often used for muscle spasms and chronic back pain.

  1. Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril): 

This is another commonly prescribed muscle relaxant that can help with muscle spasms associated with back pain.

  1. Methocarbamol (Robaxin): 

            It’s often used for short-term relief of muscle spasms and discomfort. It started showing

            it takes 15-20 minutes and it lasts from 4 to 5 hours. 

  1. Baclofen

Typically used to treat muscle spasms caused by conditions such as multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries.

Not any one specific muscle relaxer can be termed as the strongest as it depends on other factors. One muscle relaxer can be best for pain that originates from one part of the body while other muscle relaxers can prove to be effective for any other body pain. 

Is Methocarbamol similar to Gabapentin?

It is often misunderstood that gabapentin is similar to methocarbamol as if it is also taken and prescribed widely for pain yet both are different medications, They both belong to different classes of medications and treat pain that originates from different causes. 

Methocarbamol is classified as a muscle relaxant for musculoskeletal pain and treats spasms and discomfort associated with musculoskeletal conditions. It affects on central nervous system and leads to the relaxation of muscles. 

Gabapentin is classified as a medication that treats neuropathic pain (Nerve pain). Nerve pain is pain due to compression or pitching of any nerve for any reason. It is not recommended to treat muscle pain and spasms. 

Only healthcare professionals can help you determine the best medicine and medicine  alternatives! Get connected now. 

Consult a doctor

Consult your healthcare provider for an effective diagnosis and prescription along with the personalized dose and dosage regimen. It’s important to get a consultation to avoid toxicity and adverse side effects of medication like methocarbamol if taken more than prescribed. 

FAQs about Methocarbamol for back pain

Will methocarbamol put you to sleep?

Methocarmabol affects your concentration leading to slight dizziness and often sleep. It worksby affecting the brain (central nervous system) which leads to sleepy and drowsy feelings when on medication.
It’s beneficial to avoid any activity that requires alertness. This effect is most likely to occur in elderly people more than 60 years of age.

When should you not take methocarbamol?

One should not take methocarbamol if any other medication is prescribed for the management of muscle spasms and pain. Avoid taking this medication more or less than it is prescribed for effective treatment.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Friedman, Benjamin W., et al. “A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of naproxen with or without orphenadrine or methocarbamol for acute low back pain.” Annals of emergency medicine 71.3 (2018): 348-356.
  • Samsamshariat, Shiva, et al. “Efficacy of the combination of indomethacin and methocarbamol versus indomethacin alone in patients with acute low back pain: A double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Journal of Research in Pharmacy Practice 10.2 (2021): 96.
  • Sharifi, Meisam, et al. “Methocarbamol versus diazepam in acute low back pain in the emergency department: a randomised double-blind clinical trial.” Emergency Medicine Journal 40.7 (2023): 493-498.
  • Jung, Hyungjin, and H-K. Chae. “The safety and efficacy of methocarbamol as a muscle relaxant with analgesic action: analysis of current data.” (2019).

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