Do you suffer from back pain?
What if I told you that CBD creams can offer fast, effective and natural relief from back pain without any of the side effects of regular painkillers?
Read on to learn more about the benefits of CBD for back pain.
Back Pain: The World’s Leading Cause of Disability
According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), back pain is the single leading cause of disability in the world and one of the most common reasons people miss work.
In fact, the ACA claims that around 80% of people will experience back pain at one point in their life.
And, despite being so prevalent, properly diagnosing and treating back pain remains a challenge.
Below I’ll take a detailed look at back pain, it’s symptoms, some of its main causes, and more.
The Complexities of Pain
To better understand back pain, it helps to first look at how we experience pain in our body.
Pain is a tell-tale sign that something isn’t right.
And while it might seem like a simple mechanism, the way we feel pain is actually very complex.
Medical experts tend to recognize 3 main types of pain:
- Somatic pain, which originates in the skin, muscles, and bones. The pain you feel when you cut your finger, for example, is somatic. Somatic pain tends to be easier to diagnose and treat than visceral or neuropathic pain.
- Visceral pain is internal and originates in places like organs or blood vessels. The pain associated with IBD, for example, is considered visceral pain.
- Neuropathic or nerve pain is caused by damage to the nerves. Sciatica, for example, is often caused by a compressed sciatic nerve that sends sharp pain down one leg. Neuropathic pain can also be described as burning or tingling pain, or numbness.
Back pain is usually somatic or neuropathic, depending on the underlying cause.
The Challenge of Diagnosing and Treating Back Pain
Despite being so common, back pain can be extremely hard to diagnose and treat.
There’s a number of reasons for this, which I’ll briefly outline below:
1. Back Pain Can Have Many Different Causes
From bad posture to a herniated disc, there are many different causes of back pain.
This means your doctors usually have to work by eliminating causes until they find the root cause of your specific pain.
Some common causes of back pain include:
- Muscle or ligament strains, which can be caused by bad posture, heavy lifting, bad technique when exercising, sports injuries, and falls. Sudden awkward movements can also strain muscles or ligaments in your back.
- Bulging or herniated discs. The bones in the spine are separated by discs that provide cushioning and absorb shock. These discs can rupture or bulge and press on nearby nerves, causing pain.
- Degenerative disc disease. This condition is characterized by the wear-and-tear of the spinal discs. It causes chronic pain, numbness, and sharp pain that shoots down the arms. Degenerative disc disease tends to affect the lower back or neck.
- Arthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by the wear and tear of cartilage in the joints. It can commonly affect the lower back, causing pain and inflammation.
- Scoliosis is a condition characterized by a sidewards curve in the spine. It can cause pain, although most cases are mild and produce few symptoms.
- Osteoporosis can cause the bones in the spine to become brittle and fracture. These fractures can cause chronic as well as acute pain.
- Fibromyalgia. Patients with fibromyalgia experience chronic pain with severe “flare-ups.” The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but some sources suggest it could be caused by chronic endocannabinoid deficiency.
2. There’s No Single Test for Back Pain
Another reason back pain is so hard to diagnose is that there’s no single way of diagnosing it.
The back is a complex anatomical structure made up of bone, muscle, connective tissue, and more.
At the center of the back is the spine, a key part of our central nervous system that coordinates all of our motor movement, pain sensation, and much more.
That being the case, doctors have to rely on a number of different tests to diagnose the root cause of a person’s pain.
That’s often why you might get different diagnostics of back pain from different doctors/specialists.
Your doctor’s first step in diagnosing your pain will involve a physical exam.
Here, your doctor will examine your back and your ability to perform specific tasks like sit, stand, walk, and lift your legs.
Your doctor will also ask you some questions about the intensity of your pain and its effect on your day-to-day life.
Based on the results of this exam, your doctor might also use some of the following diagnostic tools:
- MRI/CT Scans
- Nerve studies
3. There are Many Different Ways to Treat Back Pain
Just like there’s a variety of diagnostic tests to diagnose back pain, there’s also a lot of different ways to treat it.
This means doctors usually have to use trial-and-error to find the right treatment for each patient.
Some common ways of treating back pain include:
- Medications: Some people find standard over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen, paracetamol or naproxen sodium can help relieve acute back pain. Others, however, may need stronger prescription painkillers to get relief. Other drugs that can help relieve back pain include muscle relaxants, narcotic painkillers, and cortisone injections. In some cases, antidepressants can also be used to relieve back pain.
- Physical Therapy: Physiotherapists can treat back pain using heat, electrical stimulation of the muscles, and specific exercises that promote flexibility, better mobility, and strengthen the tissue in your back.
- Chiropractic: Chiropractors specialize in treating conditions of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine. They use techniques like spinal manipulation to relieve pain, improve mobility, and more. Note that chiropractic manipulation can sometimes produce side effects.
- Surgery. Some rare cases of back pain may need to be treated with surgery. Surgery can help relieve compressed nerves or structural problems of the back
4. Chronic Pain is Extremely Subjective
This is one of the main reasons back pain is so hard to diagnose and treat.
While millions of people deal with back pain, it’s important to realize that everyone has their own experience with pain.
In an article for The Conversation, Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Robert Caudle talks about how there is no one clear-cut type of chronic pain.
The chronic back pain from arthritis, for example, is completely different than the pain from fibromyalgia.
Even people with the same condition may interpret and process pain differently.
Some people may experience back pain as sharp pains running from the lower back all the way down the leg.
Others might have deep muscle aches in the shoulders or lumbar region.
Some back pain might be persistent and constant, while some might only strike when bending, stretching, or during other specific movements.
This has to do with the fact that chronic pain has the tendency to be more diffuse and generalized than the acute pain we experience from an injury.
When you stub your toe, for example, pain signals run from the nerves in the toe to the spinal cord and finally to the brain.
Here, your body is able to process the pain clearly and trace it back to a very localized area.
Chronic pain, on the other hand, isn’t as localized, and the body tends to intensify chronic pain signals in an attempt to get you to treat the source of the pain more urgently.
“To increase the urgency of the pain signal, the sensory-discriminative dimension of pain becomes less distinct, leading to a more diffuse, less localized, pain,” writes Caudle.
“If there is a threat to survival, the increasing intensity and unpleasantness of pain serve a purpose. But if the pain signal persists from, let’s say, arthritis or an old injury, the increased intensity and unpleasantness is unwarranted.”
In his article, Caudle also touches on the very important psychological aspect of chronic pain.
People with chronic pain often suffer from depression, for example.
Again, this has to do with the multifaceted aspect of chronic pain, which causes psychological stress, sleep issues, and many other problems that can affect a person’s mental health.
CBD: Nature’s #1 Pain Killer
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already heard about the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD.
Well, it’s true:
CBD is a powerful painkiller and anti-inflammatory that can effectively fight a variety of pain, including chronic back pain.
CBD works by activating the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which recent research shows plays a key role in managing how we process pain signals.
Unlike other cannabinoids, however, CBD doesn’t actually attach to cannabinoid receptors in the body.
Instead, it seems to activate other secondary receptors and nerve channels that indirectly stimulate the ECS.
When it comes to pain and inflammation, for example, CBD seems to inhibit COX enzymes just like NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen).
These enzymes are responsible for producing prostaglandins that stimulate inflammatory processes.
By inhibiting their activity, CBD blocks the enzymes’ ability to produce these prostaglandins and thereby reduces inflammation.
This is great news for people suffering from back pain caused by inflammation, such as arthritis, or degenerative disc disease (which can cause inflammation around the discs of the spine).
Besides helping fight inflammation, CBD also seems to have clear analgesic effects.
How exactly CBD works to reduce our perception of pain isn’t clear.
However, studies show that it can effectively treat somatic, visceral, and neuropathic pain linked to a variety of different conditions.
In 2014, for example, researchers from the Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, tested the analgesic effects of CBD on a rodent model of chemotherapy.
Chemo is an invasive and highly toxic treatment that often causes severe chronic pain and neurotoxicity.
The study found that CBD helped greatly reduce neuropathic pain in the animals treated with chemo.
The researchers claim it did so by acting on 5-HT1A serotonin receptors.
The study also mentioned that CBD helped reduce pain without interfering with the efficiency of the chemotherapy treatment and produced no unwanted side effects.
In 2007, a study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology looked into the effects of CBD on chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain.
This study was conducted on lab rats, some of which suffered from a compressed sciatic nerve, while the others were given an injection to promote inflammation.
The rats were observed for 14 days.
From days 7-14, the animals received daily doses of CBD.
The researchers noted that CBD helped reduce the animal’s pain sensitivity.
In the rats with inflammation, CBD also helped reduce prostaglandins and lowered inflammation.
Based on these results, the researchers concluded that CBD can serve as an effective and well-tolerated treatment for chronic neuropathic and inflammatory pain.
Several other studies have looked at cannabinoids and their role in treating chronic pain.
While I can’t cover all of this research in this article, feel free to check out some of the studies below for more info:
- Oromucosal Delta9-THC/CBD For Neuropathic Pain Associated With Multiple Sclerosis (Clinical Therapuetics, 2007)
- Cannabinoids In The Management of Difficult to Treat Pain (Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, 2008)
- Role of The Cannabinoid System in Pain Control (Current Nueropharmacology, 2006)
The Benefits of CBD Creams for Back Pain
CBD can be taken in a variety of different ways.
However, for back pain, I highly recommend using topicals like the creams and ointments I review on my website.
That’s because CBD creams offer fast and localized pain relief.
By directly activating the endocannabinoid system in the skin, CBD creams can start fighting pain and inflammation almost immediately.
CBD oil and gummies, on the other hand, need to be absorbed and then carried to the affected area via the blood, meaning they take longer to take effect.
That’s why CBD creams are becoming ever more popular among patients suffering from different kinds of chronic pain.
My Dad, for example, uses CBD creams to treat chronic pain and inflammation.
Dad was first diagnosed with arthritis only a few years ago after complaining about constant pain and swelling in his knee.
At first, he was able to manage his symptoms using standard OTC medications.
However, Dad’s pain and inflammation got worse as his joint continued degenerating.
Eventually, his doctor’s suggested using stronger prescription medication.
As I started looking for alternative ways to treat Dad’s symptoms, I stumbled upon CBD.
And I’m so glad I did.
Even today, Dad uses a combination of CBD products like creams and ointments to control his pain.
My husband, Tyler, also uses CBD.
While he doesn’t suffer from chronic pain, Tyler regularly has sore muscles from training as a triathlete.
With CBD creams, however, he is able to get fast relief from his pain and get back to the gym faster.
Find the Best CBD Creams for Your Back Pain Today
If you suffer from back pain, I highly recommend you look into CBD creams like those I review on my website.
By fighting inflammation and stimulating your endocannabinoid system, CBD creams can offer fast, effective relief from a wide variety of pain.
Best of all, they produce virtually no side effects.
For more information, make sure to keep reading my blog and check out my homepage for in-depth reviews of specific CBD creams, ointments, lotions, and more.