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Medical Marijuana and Back Pain

What Is Back Pain?

Almost everyone has experienced back pain at one time or another. The pain can range from mild discomfort to debilitating, excruciating pain that can rob you of your quality of life. Many people use medical cannabis for back pain and are able to enjoy fulfilling lives. The following is some information on the causes of and treatments for back pain, as well as how many people use cannabis to combat this frustrating condition.

Causes of Back Pain

Back pain can happen to anyone at any time. You could suffer a back injury after extensive physical exertion, or you could simply twist the wrong way when picking up a child’s toy. These are a few of the more common reasons back pain occurs:

    • Spine problems — Back pain is sometimes caused by an issue related to your spine. It could be a problem with one of your discs, a muscle or a nerve. Herniated discs, for example, are quite common. They occur when some of the soft tissue between your discs bulges from the space between joints, usually because of wear and tear.
    • Accidents — If you have suffered a muscle strain or sprain, a fracture in your back or something similar, there’s a good chance it was caused by something like a fall or a car accident. Many times, however, people hurt their backs when they try to lift something heavy and twist at the same time.
    • Lifestyle factors — Many lifestyle triggers can lead to back pain — not exercising on a regular basis, slouching when you sit at your desk, obesity, wearing heels that are too high and many others.

Medicines Used to Treat Back Pain

Severe back pain is often treated with opioid narcotics, such as Vicodin and Percocet, and analgesics, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Opiates and narcotics are effective in relieving severe pain but they are highly addictive and have significant harmful side effects.

Analgesics are not addictive, but are usually inadequate in reducing or eliminating pain. Additionally, long-term use of analgesics can develop serious side effects including stomach bleeding, liver damage, and kidney damage. Those who opt to not take these drugs are often forced into long-term bed rest, which can be harmful by making recovery slower and potentially causing new problems.

Here are a few of the specific medications used to treat back pain and their potential side effects.

    • Anti-inflammatories — Most people will first try an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory such as Advil or Aleve. Although side effects are usually mild, they can be quite serious if people take them in large enough doses. Possible side effects include ulcers, gastrointestinal issues and even kidney damage.
    • Muscle relaxants — Your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxer if you don’t find relief from an anti-inflammatory medication. Common drugs include Lioresal, Flexeril, Soma and Zanaflex, and are usually designed to treat an acute injury, such as when you hurt your back playing golf or lifting something. The most common side effect is extreme drowsiness, which can be dangerous if you’re driving or operating heavy machinery.
    • Opioids — In some instances, a person’s back pain is so severe that his or her doctor will prescribe an opioid such as hydrocodone. Opioids are extremely risky, and side effects range from drowsiness and constipation to severe allergic reactions and a risk of dependency. If too many are taken at one time, the results can be fatal.
    • Corticosteroids — Corticosteroids can be taken orally or delivered via an injection into the area of the back that is causing discomfort. They are extremely powerful anti-inflammatories. Injections are only recommended up to three times a year in most instances, and they can lead to weight gain as well as a loss of bone density.

Medical Marijuana and Back Pain

Back pain is such a common complaint that almost everyone in the United States will experience it at least once during their lives. However, many people have such debilitating back pain that it significantly interferes with their day-to-day lives. In the United States, an estimated 140 million work days are lost each year because of back pain.

Medical Marijuana is an affordable, effective and natural alternative that lacks the side effects found in the medicines traditionally used to treat back pain. In 1975, researchers found that THC was an effective pain reliever for cancer patients and found that it lacked the significant or toxic side effects found in traditional medicines. Since then, countless other studies have shown that marijuana safely and effectively treats various types of chronic pain with little to no side effects or risk of dependency.

If you are suffering from debilitating back pain and would like to know more about medical cannabis and back pain, book an appointment with a qualified physician through today. Let us help improve your quality of life!

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