Soma is used for relieving discomfort and pain caused by muscle spasms. It is a short-term treatment for muscle spasms due to injury, overuse, or similar problems. Healthcare providers may also sometimes recommend off-label Soma uses, such as for relieving fibromyalgia pain. The muscle relaxant is approved for use in adults and children over age 16.
Soma® (carisoprodol) is a prescription medication classified as a muscle relaxant. As a muscle relaxant, it can help relieve the discomfort caused by muscle spasms.
A muscle spasm is an uncontrollable contraction of a muscle. Muscle spasms can cause pain, tenderness, and stiffness. Sometimes muscles spasms in the neck can cause headaches. Muscle spasms are a frequent cause of back pain.
Most often, muscle spasms are caused by injury, overuse, or similar problems (like sleeping in a strange position). Soma usually works well for these types of muscle spasms. It is intended to be used generally for a maximum of two to three weeks at a time. This should be enough time to allow any muscle injury or damage to heal. If you feel that the problem has not improved after two or three weeks, check with your healthcare provider. You may have an ongoing problem that needs to be treated differently.
Even though Soma is not a controlled substance, it has significant potential to be abused (see Soma Abuse). If you have problems with alcohol or drug abuse, Soma may not be a good choice for you. A different muscle relaxant with less abuse potential would be more appropriate.
It is not known exactly how Soma works to relieve muscle spasms. However, it is known that it works mostly in the brain stem and spinal cord and not directly on the muscles. Also, the liver metabolizes Soma into meprobamate, a barbiturate medication with anti-anxiety and sedative properties. It is thought that it is this metabolite that contributes to the abuse potential of Soma. Interestingly, although meprobamate is a controlled substance in the United States, Soma is not categorized as a controlled substance.