How Cannabis Can Relieve Chronic Back and Neck Pain
Did you know that there are more than twenty-five million people in the United States struggling with some form of chronic pain? Any type of chronic pain can be difficult to deal with.
However, chronic back and neck pain can be particularly painful. This is because our spinal cord is linked to movement. So, any time you move you’ll experience a little pain.
Since long-term painkillers usually aren’t a viable option many people are turning to alternative forms of pain management. And, with the rise of medicinally and recreationally legal weed in the United States, many people have found that solution in cannabis. But can this natural plant relieve your chronic back and neck pain? In this article, we’ll explore this question, as well as others related to chronic pain. Let’s get started!
What Is Chronic Pain?
Before we explore how cannabis can help chronic pain it’s important that we first understand exactly what it is. Everyone experiences pain now and then. When we’re injured we’ll typically experience pain that goes away.
However, chronic pain is different from this type of everyday pain. Chronic pain sticks around for months or even years after the injury or condition that caused it. Most doctors define it as pain that lasts for six months or longer. So what causes chronic pain to stick around? Most of the time it’s related to nerve damage. When this happens it can make the pain both last longer and more intense.
It’s also important to remember that some people experience chronic pain without an injury that caused it. This is usually related to a different underlying condition, like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
What Conditions Cause Chronic Back and Neck Pain?
There are a variety of things that can cause chronic back and neck pain. Sometimes it can be as simple as repeated strenuous activity. However, more often than not it’s related to a specific type of condition or damage that is done. Here are some of the popular types of causes of chronic back and neck pain:
- Fractures, trauma, and other injuries
- Poor muscle tone
- Tumors, bone spurs, and other abnormal growths
- Muscle tension and spasm
- The natural degeneration of the vertebrae
- Arthritis and other joint problems
- Herniated disk
- Pinched nerve
- Muscle tears
- Abdominal issues
How Can Cannabis Help With Back and Neck Pain?
Cannabis helps with back and neck pain thanks to the existence of endocannabinoids. These are neurotransmitters that our bodies produce naturally without the help of cannabis.
They’re responsible for reducing inflammation and the sensation of pain. For these neurotransmitters to be effective they need to bind either to our CB1 or CB2 receptors. Luckily, our natural endocannabinoids aren’t the only thing that binds to these receptors. The chemical compounds found in cannabis, known as cannabinoids, also bind to these receptors. These receptors are present across our entire central nervous system.
And, when cannabinoids bind to them, studies have proven that they’re effective at reducing pain. In particular, cannabis is great at dealing with pain related to nerve damage or conditions.
Since the spine is inextricably linked to our nervous system, it makes sense that cannabis can relieve chronic pain related to these conditions.
How Do You Get Access to Cannabis For Your Condition?
The good news is that widespread legislation means that legalized cannabis is accessible to a greater number of people than ever before. Medical marijuana, which you can get with a chronic back and neck condition, is legal in thirty-six states.
And, an increasing number of them are also making it legal recreationally. If medical marijuana is legal in your state, then just visit your state website and find out the necessary steps to apply for a medical card.
This will allow you to purchase from dispensaries. However, what can you do if cannabis is illegal in your state? The good news is that you can likely still take advantage of CBD.
This cannabinoid is hemp-derived and contains little to no THC. However, it does provide a lot of the same pain relief that comes with cannabis. Plus, it’s legal in almost every state in the U.S.
What Solutions Should You Consider Before Trying Cannabis?
It’s important to remember that cannabis isn’t going to get rid of your chronic back and neck pain. It’s just going to make it a little easier to deal with. As such, you shouldn’t try to fully rely on the substance to deal with your condition.
Instead, you should use it in combination with other medical treatments that are proven to help against chronic pain. This can include things like other types of medication, physical therapy, relaxation therapy (like aromatherapy), and acupuncture. You should also make changes in your lifestyle to notice a difference.
For example, quitting smoking and getting enough sleep can reduce some of the pain. In some cases, your neck or back injury might be treatable through surgery.
As such, we recommend visiting a spine specialist if you’re able to. These professionals will try a variety of non-surgical options to see if they reduce pain. Then, if surgery is the right option they’ll walk you through the procedure.
Want More Content? Keep Exploring
We hope this article helped you learn more about how cannabis can relieve certain types of chronic pain. However, as we mentioned before, weed won’t make your back and neck pain go away, it will just help you deal with it a little better.
And even then, there’s no guarantee that it will make all the pain go away. As such, it helps to be as proactive as possible in terms of physical therapy or other options that can aid in improving your condition.
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