Diclofenac is a Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory drug mainly used for pain relief. These are non-selective COX inhibitors that inhibit the synthesis of some chemicals that produce pain. Diclofenac is a first choice for the acute and chronic treatment of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.

It is used in pain management of other conditions, i.e., primary dysmenorrhea. It has fast onset with a long duration of action, effective in most situations. Diclofenac has several administration forms, i.e., oral, rectal, and intramuscular injection.

A Close Look At Muscle Relaxer

Muscle relaxers divide into two types. An antispasmodic is used to decrease the muscle spasm via the central nervous system and inhibits the transmission of neurons in the brain. At the same time, anti-spastic affects the spinal cord to improve tightness and muscle spasms. Anti spastic divide into benzodiazepines and non benzodiazepines.

Benzodiazepines (diazepam) block certain chemicals in the brain at risk of severe drowsiness and sedation effects. At the same time, nonbenzodiazepines (Carisoprodol) act on the brain and spinal cord and are used to treat extreme pain conditions. These have frequent adverse reactions, but drowsiness is the common adverse reaction of all muscle relaxers. 

Muscle relaxer is a broad term for a wide range of medicines. SMR (skeletal muscle relaxants) are prescribed medication by doctors for muscular pain. These are used to relieve muscle spasms and are the most effective treatment for low back pain. Muscle relaxers are primarily effective in short-term symptomatic relief in chronic patients.

Is Diclofenac Muscle Relaxer Or NSAID?

Diclofenac is NSAID not a muscle relaxer, and the anti-inflammatory action of diclofenac inhibits the synthesis of prostaglandins. This inhibition of prostaglandins synthesis causes inhibition of other chemicals like prostacyclin and thromboxane products. These are the products that produce pain. 

During treatment with diclofenac, there is a decreased concentration of prostaglandins in urine, gastric mucosa, and synovial fluid, causing pain-relieving effects. 

It does not relax muscles but only reduces the intensity of pain and inflammation of joints, specifically in arthritis. Hence being called a muscle relaxer should be called as muscle pain reliever.

Can An NSAID Help In Muscle Relaxation?

NSAIDs have a high analgesic property and are used to relieve muscular pain, specifically in arthritis, synovitis, and capsulitis also used in back pain, because they decrease the concentration of prostaglandins in joints and reduce pain and swelling. NSAIDs decrease muscle or joint pain and swelling but can not relax the muscles in stiffness or spasm.

Difference Between An NSAID And A Muscle Relaxer

The main difference between muscle relaxers and NSAIDs is their mechanism of action. Both have entirely different activities. A muscle relaxer works by blocking the contraction of muscles and decreasing the skeletal muscle tone. They relax the muscle tissue by sedating the central nervous system and relieving acute muscular pain. They are sedatives because they depress polysynaptic reflexes and act centrally, hence it is called muscle relaxer can make you sleepy.

NSAIDs have entirely different actions as they inhibit the pain hormones that lead to the inhibition of the synthesis of prostaglandins that produce pain. These prostaglandins are found in nearly all body cells, and less concentration helps regulate the contraction of skeletal muscles. So they also have a small amount of muscle relaxation. (FDA, Diclofenac)

NSAID vs. Muscle Relaxers In Pain Relieving

Studies show muscle relaxants are more effective in chronic pain, compared with NSAIDs, but these have more sedative adverse effects. They should be used according to the doctor's prescription. NSAIDs are pain relievers that directly reduce pain and inflammation, but muscle relaxers relax the muscles, and the pain fades due to the relaxing effect. In some conditions, pain is due to muscle contraction, spasm, or shortening.

In this condition, only muscle relaxers reduce the symptoms, thus decreasing pain. In general, NSAIDs are used in acute conditions to decrease their adverse reaction of gastrointestinal issues, so muscle relaxants are used for chronic diseases that makes them safe to use, but the use of muscle relaxants is according to the proper dosage prescribed by a doctor to reduce the sedative effect caused by this.


NSAIDs and muscle relaxers are used to decrease muscular pain, but NSAIDS are more specific in stopping pain elements, and muscle relaxers are typical to relax the muscles. Diclofenac is an NSAID that treats inflammatory conditions of joints and reduces pain. A combination effectively treats most chronic diseases, NSAIDs and muscle relaxers. Such treatment should be started with the guidelines of a medical practitioner.


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