Back pain is one of the most prevalent and persistent physical problems facing adults today. At any given time, 31 million Americans are suffering from back pain, and up to 80% will experience it within their lifetime. Worse yet, 20% of individuals who suffer from back pain will develop chronic back pain, defined as pain lasting three months or longer. Worldwide, back pain is reported to be the most common cause of physical disability for adults.
Causes of Back Pain: It’s BIG Business
There are a number of possible causes for back pain, including trauma and disease. Many people get their back pain from working, and back pain is the second-most common reason that people miss work. While you may expect back injuries to come from physically demanding jobs, in fact, many of the complaints come from people who are forced to sit all day, including office workers and truck drivers.
Back pain is big business, too. Americans who suffer from back pain spend over $50 million each year attempting to treat it. Unfortunately, these treatments often fail, leaving back pain sufferers frustrated and despondent. Over-the-counter pain medication may provide short-term relief, but it soon wears off and does nothing to treat the cause of the pain. Prescription medication may be more effective at first, but it can cause serious side effects and even debilitating addiction.
A Powerful Natural Solution You May Not Have Considered
Cannabidiol, or CBD, offers an alternative for people who are experiencing back pain. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that’s often derived from the hemp plant. CBD has been used to treat multiple physical and mental disorders, from anxiety to seizures, but it’s especially promising as a treatment for back pain.
Primarily, back pain sufferers can use CBD as an analgesic. This use treats the pain itself, without the many deleterious side effects and dependency that come with conventional pain medications. A 2008 study that looked at the use of cannabinoids for pain management found that they were effective for treating severe, chronic pain caused by a number of conditions. In contrast with traditional opioid painkillers, the cannabinoid-based treatments did not cause withdrawal effects or other negative symptoms. Researchers concluded that “the future for cannabinoid therapeutics appears very bright, indeed.”
Some back pain is caused by chronic, treatment-resistant neuropathic damage. A 2009 review of studies found that “neuropathic pain patients derive benefits from cannabinoid treatment” such as CBD. This means that cannabidiol may help patients who have tried other back pain therapies, such as medication or chiropractic adjustments, with little success.
CBD Can Go Beyond Back Pain
But CBD doesn’t only work to fight pain. It also has proven anti-inflammatory properties, which means it may treat the source of the pain itself. For many patients, their back pain is not caused by an acute injury, but by the inflammation that occurs afterward. Evidence, including an extensive 2009 study, suggests that cannabidiol may effectively treat both the pain and the inflammation that causes it. For example, a 2015 study looked at the use of transdermal cannabidiol for arthritis patients and found that “that topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours and inflammation without evident side-effects.” There is good reason to believe that a similar mechanism will provide relief for people with inflammation-related back pain.
For the millions of people who suffer from back pain, that relief can’t come soon enough. Most have already tried medication, physical therapy, or visits to a chiropractor, but less than 60% say that any of these treatments have worked for them. CBD offers a new path for healing and a possible solution for this common disability.