While many suffer in silence, back pain is one of the main causes for long-term unemployment. However, some of those suffering from daily back pain have found relief in an all-natural solution: CBD oil.
Back pain: Its common causes and repercussions
It is increasingly common for doctors to see patients with chronic back pains. The weight of modern society and its expectations have increased the cases of chronic back pain significantly.
This is putting an extra load on our society, reflected in the economy: In the UK, it is estimated that the indirect cost of back pain to be £100 billion (due to missed work productivity), while the treatment of back pain has been estimated to cost the British National Health Service (NHS) £1 billion per year. Moreover, musculoskeletal complaints such as back pain accounts for ca. 20% of benefit recipients in the UK.
These numbers are staggering and thus, it is no wonder that the leading cause of physical handicap is back pain. Back pain is therefore a condition which affects our society as a whole, highlighting the importance of a continued fight against pain. People often ignore back pain, because it is considered a minor nuisance rather than recognised as a condition that can affect us all.
Today, the most common solution to back pain is OTC medicines and those with severe or chronic back pains are often prescribed opioid-based medicines. But does CBD represent a better option?
The problems related to opioids
To get through a day of chronic pain, most people do two things: they try to just ignore the pain until it become unbearable, and then they turn to prescription medicines by seeking professional help.
When looking at medicines prescribed in recent years, there emerges a clear trend of so-called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) being used for the management of several types of pain. Though these medicines are most commonly used in palliative care, it is now considered a standard within the treatment of back pain. This situation has led to a rise in cases of addiction to these medicines, which in the United States has led to a media-declared opioid epidemic, as nearly 2 million people have become addicted to prescriptions pain medications. And the US is not alone; this detrimental health situation has also reached UK media and political discussions.
The reason for the concern is not the amount of prescriptions, but rather the number of deaths associated with them. It is estimated that almost 900 Britons died due to opioid medications in 2011; a number that has continued to rise. For many years, doctors have even prescribed medicines without knowing their most serious side effect. Though the patients using NSAIDs never intended to take an overdose, the possibility of becoming tolerant the medicines (which then requires more of the medicine to provide a desired effect) and the level of pain itself most likely clouded their judgement. Furthermore, as doctors have been unaware of the side effects, so have patients.
However, even when doctors cancel a prescription due to the risk or a suspicion of addiction, patients do not necessarily stop taking the medicines. In desperation, they may turn to the streets to buy their opioid medicines, which is a tendency that has forced many into a life of crime due to their need for pain relief.
In the light of this development, CBD for back pain has more relevance than ever as an accepted alternative to traditional treatments.
The research behind CBD oil for back pain
As an alternative to opioid medicines for chronic pain, CBD (cannabidiol) has been thoroughly researched in recent years. Currently, most studies are in the preliminary stages of research, but though the human trials may be few, early results show great promise for CBD as a therapeutic option for pain management.
Although we could provide a lengthy review of all the research done on CBD for pain management, we will limit this article to discuss a few of the most relevant studies to back pain. Through this, we will see that scientific research does demonstrate that CBD could be a very viable alternative to the conventional treatment of back pain.
In a study published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Health in the United States, CBD was shown to significantly reduce chronic inflammation and neuropathic pain in rats. These results were achieved without the rats developing any signs of tolerance.
A review published in 2014 determined that CBD is still a viable alternative to modern-day pain management and treatment. Specifically neuropathic pain was mentioned, which often occurs when the initial cause (or injury) is gone, but the pain persists. This pain is due to the fact that the affected nerves still emit pain signals to the brain. Hydrocodone is often prescribed in such situations, but US researchers found that patients were less likely to ask for such a prescription if they were using CBD. This could suggest that CBD has strong indications as a pain reliever and with similar effect as opioid medicines. However, more research needs to be done in order to fully understand these effects.
In Europe, synthetic cannabinoids has been used for many years, among these the popular brand Sativex. Research have shown that, when compared to a placebo, Sativex can provide a relief from pain and that this effect was achievable without increasing the dosage over a 52-week period. These results are significant, when compared to the need for gradually increasing the dose of opioid-based medicines during treatment.
How to dose CBD oil for back pain
One of the main differences noted between the use of CBD and prescription medicines for back pain is the risk of addiction. While opioids generally carry a high risk of abuse and addiction, several research studies have found there to be no such risk related to the use of CBD for long-term pain management. Moreover, CBD has an extremely low risk of adverse side effects.
Therefore, there is no reason to worry about using CBD oil for back pain.
The general procedure to find the perfect dose of CBD for your back pain is:
Our Dosing Guide
If you have just set out on your CBD journey, it is always important to start low. After all, why waste valuable drops of CBD, if you start with too high a dose? The perfect dose varies from person to person. Remember, we are all different.
If you feel the need to increase you dose, be sure to go slow. This is once more in order to ensure that the product lasts for as long as possible and that every drop is used efficiently. We recommend that you maintain the same dose for a few days, before you decide whether to go higher.
Most importantly, you need to be patient. This is another way that prescription medicines and CBD differ; while opioid pills might work quickly and the effects are somewhat short-lived, CBD represents a slow process towards a long-term pain management regimen. CBD is not an overnight cure for all pain, so let it work its way into your system and just allow your body time to adjust. Once the CBD starts to take effect, your body will find its natural balance and then the pain is more likely to be manageable, even at low doses.
A good dose to start with when using CBD for back pain is 2.5mg per day. It is safe to increase the dose all the way to 20mg per day, but remember to go slow and be sure to stop once you feel your symptoms or pain levels subside. This can take up to a month for some, while others may feel the full benefits of CBD sooner.
Even though research has not yet found any adverse side effects to the use of CBD, it is recommended to talk with your GP before starting a CBD regimen. This is especially important for those who may want to limit their use of prescription medicines, as CBD can interfere with the effects of these and other medicines.
The potential of CBD as a natural option for pain management is very much a possibility for the many that suffer from back pain.