The main symptom associated with syringomyelia is chronic pain. The condition causes a fluid-filled cyst (syrinx) to develop in the spinal cord, which can cause excruciating pain. However, the spinal cord is the primary pathway by which the brain communicates with the nervous system. Because of this, other complications and symptoms can develop.
Syringomyelia can be caused by a medical condition or damage to the spine. Sometimes the cysts go away after the underlying condition is treated. But oftentimes, surgery is needed to address both the syrinx and any underlying damage to the spinal cord.
When the condition is minor, doctors usually try to avoid surgery to minimize the risks associated with the operation, like spinal cord injury or infection. This means doctors must work out a treatment and pain management plan with their patients.
Medical marijuana is known for its incredible pain-relieving properties. But more than that, it’s able to manage a range of different symptoms. For this reason, cannabis is the perfect treatment option for patients with syringomyelia — it can help patients attain a higher quality of life while living with the condition.
Symptoms Caused by Syringomyelia
Pain is the common characteristic shared by syringomyelia cases. This pain often leads to sleep problems and keeps patients from living their lives to the fullest. Pain can be caused by the development of inflammation, or it could be caused by the location of the cyst and pressure on the spinal cord. Different types of pain can develop, including:
- Nerve pain
- Pain in the neck, arms and back
As the syrinx fills with spinal fluid, this causes an increase in pressure to the spinal cord. When that happens, depending on the location of the cyst, other symptoms start to arise:
- Muscle weakness or spasms
- Loss of reflexes
- Loss of sensation, such as to pain or temperature
- Muscle stiffness and spasticity, especially in the legs, arms, back and shoulders
- Bowel or bladder issues
- Curvature of the spine or scoliosis
Treating Syringomyelia Symptoms with Cannabis
Many doctors prescribe prescription pain medications to manage the painful symptoms associated with syringomyelia. However, these drugs have dangerous side effects and can lead to a life of dependence or addiction.
Medical marijuana is a natural way to treat the disorder, and it helps patients safely manage syringomyelia symptoms. The medicinal properties of cannabis come from chemical compounds called cannabinoids, the most common being THC and CBD.
Cannabinoids work with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a system of receptors that helps to regulate many bodily functions from pain management to emotional health to digestion. Basically, the primary job of the ECS is to bring balance. Disease and disorders cause an imbalance to occur. Because marijuana’s cannabinoids can bind to ECS receptors, they can positively impact many different areas, including:
- Pain: The primary reason syringomyelia patients use cannabis is to help manage their pain without turning to prescription meds and opioids. Whereas some medications only help with a single type of pain, both CBD and THC can treat all kinds, from neuropathic to headaches.
- Muscle Stiffness, Spasms and Spasticity: Cannabinoids in marijuana have the amazing ability to help muscles relax. So, whether there are spasms or spasticity, the antispasmodic properties of cannabis can ease this issue.
- Sleep Issues: Because of pain, patients often find it hard to sleep. Indica strains of marijuana are known for causing deep relaxation and inducing sleep, allowing patients to rest pain-free.
Contact a Certified Medical Marijuana Doctor
If you’d like to pursue medical marijuana treatments for your syringomyelia, the first step is contacting your doctor. The information we present shouldn’t their advice, as they will know the specifics of your condition. So, for more information about cannabis and its potential for treating syringomyelia, contact a medical marijuana-certified doctor near you or visit a local medical marijuana dispensary and speak to a budtender.