The human back, to put it mildly, is a disaster. Sure, the ability to walk upright has treated us very well throughout history, but the basic architecture is far from an optimal design.
That’s why about 65 million Americans a year will report an incidence of significant back pain. And about 16 million of those, or 8% of all adults, will develop chronic back pain.
With so many of us afflicted with chronic pain, there have been a lot of solutions kicked around. And recently, using CBD for chronic back pain relief has become a popular treatment.
But how can CBD help? To find out, let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of back pain, and how CBD can relieve them.
Common Causes of Chronic Back Pain
Back pain can stem from a variety of causes, and so any two patients might experience it very differently.
Sometimes it comes in the form of a dull, persistent ache. Other times it manifests as a sharp debilitating pain. Sometimes it’s localized to one area, and sometimes it can radiate all the way down into the legs.
Certain symptoms can be pinned to specific causes. Here are some of the more common ones:
Muscle and Ligament Strain
One of the most common causes of back pain is strain on the back muscles or the ligaments that support them.
Commonly called a pulled-muscle, it happens when one or more muscles become overstretched or torn. Usually, this happens because of either overuse or improper use of a muscle. Think of lifting with your back instead of your knees as a good example.
Symptoms include sudden-onset pain, stiffness and tightness, swelling, and painful muscle spasms.
Oftentimes muscle strains go away on their own. However, they can sometimes become chronic, particularly in the case of those caused by repetitive motions or poor posture.
Setting aside pain caused by injuries, arthritis is probably the next most common cause of chronic back pain.
According to the CDC, about 23% of all Americans have some form of arthritis. Gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain inflammatory diseases like Lupus are all possible causes. But the most common form is osteoarthritis — the gradual wearing down of cartilage that occurs over time.
Osteoarthritis can develop in any joint in the body, including the spaces in between the vertebrae.
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes a patient’s bones to become brittle and weak. This happens because the body’s ability to produce new bone tissue slows down to the point that it can no longer keep up with the rate of bone loss.
This can cause a variety of issues throughout the body but can be especially harmful to the back. Because the spine carries so much weight, particularly around the lower back, bone loss can lead to painful fractures in the vertebrae.
How Can CBD Help?
Cannabidiol, or CBD as it’s informally known, is a naturally occurring chemical found in the cannabis sativa plant. You might recognize the name as a form of the marijuana plant, whose active ingredient is THC. Cannabidiol, however, is found not only in marijuana but in the non-psychoactive hemp-variety of the plant as well.
CBD nevertheless can affect our boy because of the way it interacts with our body’s naturally endocannabinoid system. This is a subsystem of our greater endocrine system and has an impact on nearly every area of the body.
The inflammatory response, for instance, is controlled in part by the endocannabinoid system. When we use CBD, it interacts with that inflammatory response, helping to soothe it and relieve the pain it causes. Inflammation is a major symptom of arthritis and muscle strain, so using CBD can help ease those symptoms.
As for osteoporosis, the endocannabinoid system also plays a role in the bone remodeling process. When this process slows, bone loss begins to occur, causing brittleness and oftentimes painful fractures.
According to a 2011 study, however, fatty acid amides like those found in CBD were shown to interact with the endocannabinoid system, potentially helping to stimulate the bone remodeling process.
Using CBD for Chronic Back Pain Relief
CBD comes in a variety of forms, including edibles, oils, and even bath bombs. But for treating back pain, the most direct method is using CBD Topicals.
Topicals are products that are applied directly to the skin over areas where pain persists. The product is then absorbed through the skin, providing localized relief. They take a variety of forms, including salves, serums, and even massage oils.
The benefit to using topicals is that they can be used to target specific areas of the body in ways that edibles or smokeable CBD can’t. And because CBD is slower to absorb through the skin, it can produce a longer-lasting effect compared to something like a CBD tincture, providing relief throughout the day or night.
Treating Back Pain the Natural Way
Using CBD for chronic back pain relief can be a safe and effective way to treat your symptoms naturally and without relying on prescription medication.
That said, you need to remember to consult your regular doctor before starting any new holistic treatments. This is especially true if you know that back surgery might be in your future, as cannabis products have the potential to interact with anesthesia.
But barring those caveats, CBD appears to show a great deal of promise in helping to relieve chronic pain and inflammation, improving its user’s quality of life.
And on the note of quality of life, always remember to keep up with all of our latest health and lifestyle news to help ensure that you can live your happiest, healthiest life.