Sciatica isn’t just your ordinary low-back pain. If you’ve had it you know that. If you haven’t, I hope you never need to deal with it.
What is sciatica?
The sciatic nerve runs through your body starting in the lower back and moving down the hips and buttocks through the back of your leg. This nerve is about the thickness of your pinky finger and when it lights up with pain, you know it.
Sciatica occurs when the nerve is compressed because of a herniated disk, bone spurs or narrowing of the spine. The resulting inflammation and pain can radiate down your leg. In severe cases, you may lose leg strength or bowel or bladder control. In those instances surgery may be necessary.
CBD or prescription medication?
As I’ve often repeated in this blog, CBD is an anti-inflammatory and inflammation is the root of sciatica. Most often, rather than turn to CBD, doctors prescribe paracetemol or ibuprofen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, they often fall short of being effective, at which point the big guns—Pregabalin, Gabapentin, Naproxen or Codeine—are called in. But, even though some relief can be realized with them, it comes at a cost. Side effects from these products can include fatigue, visual issues, memory loss and depression to name a few. Other medications prescribed are opioids, which are addictive, as we well know from the crisis that seems to have exploded in this country the past few years.
CBD does not cure sciatica, but it can help relieve the symptoms caused by inflammation, because: anti-inflammatory. A 2016 research report in FASEB Journal claims, “Cannabinoids apparently act on inflammation through mechanisms different from those of agents such as NSAIDs. As a class, the cannabinoids are generally free from the adverse effects associated with NSAIDs.”
How does CBD help sciatica?
Every human being has an endocannabinoid system (ECS), complete with CB1 and CB2 receptors sprinkled throughout the body. This system is responsible to maintain homeostasis or balance within your body. Injury or illness can cause the system to lose some of that balance. CBD taken internally or applied externally seeks out and finds the CB receptors. This interaction boosts the ECS’s ability to restore balance and alleviate pain. Plus, CBD does this without side effects. In addition to relieving pain, CBD has been shown to be a relaxant, which eases the tension that tends to exacerbate pain.
How to use CBD for sciatica
CBD comes in several forms, but as always, I’ll caution you to know the quality and source of the CBD in whichever form you choose to use.
· Vapes – Vaping, or inhaling, CBD can provide immediate, systemic effects.
· Topicals – This format can provide more targeted pain relief, which can be effective for sciatica sufferers.
· Tinctures – Placed under the tongue, CBD tinctures can provide quick relief while bypassing the digestive system.
· Edibles – CBD edibles can come in the form of gum, gummy bears and other treats.
· Capsules – These are perfect for those who are just starting to take CBD for the first time, and they make dosing easy.
· Oils – This is the most potent, purest and most concentrated form of CBD.
CBD and you
If you have pain and are thinking of trying CBD, know that it is not a quick fix. You will need to do your research, experiment, and most of all, pay attention to your body. Everyone is different and because more research needs to be done to provide more sophisticated dosing methods, trial and error is on you. Fortunately, CBD rarely, if ever, causes side effects and is not addictive. Plus, you have options for use. Find what works for you and be sure to tell your doctor if you plan to go the CBD route.