As sciatica sufferers know, the pain caused by the condition can be disruptive at best and unbearable at worst. The sciatic nerve runs from the hips to the feet, and when irritated it can cause pain, tingling, or a numbing sensation in the back, legs, feet, or toes — symptoms that are worsened when moving, sneezing, or coughing.
Traditional treatment methods for sciatica have focused on prescription drugs to relieve the pain and discomfort. This article will explore natural remedies, specifically the use of CBD oil to relieve sciatica symptoms.
Natural Ways to Alleviate Sciatica Pain
In many cases, sciatica improves by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and performing gentle stretching exercises. Some recommended ways to reduce sciatica pain include:
- Maintaining activity levels and continuing with daily tasks as much as possible
- Working out regularly, focusing on areas around the back with low-impact exercises
- Gently stretching both the lower and upper back daily
- Using heat packs (but not hot water bottles) to soothe pain
- Avoiding sitting for long periods of time
Research also continues into whether cannabidiol, known often as simply CBD, is an effective way to manage the pain associated with sciatica. While researchers still need to dig deeper into the effects of CBD on pain in humans, early trials show promising results.
The Effects of CBD on Pain
While painkillers are abundant in drug stores everywhere, natural alternatives that work are more difficult to find. Studies examining the effect of CBD on pain have found that low doses may help alleviate pain and anxiety, which often accompanies long-term pain.
The lead author of one study out of McGill University, Dr. Gobbi, sees the study results as advancement for the evidence-based application of CBD as an alternative to THC and opioids for chronic pain, including sciatica. Furthermore, a 2011 study published in Neuroscience Letters noted that CBD appeared to affect the way that pain receptors respond to stimuli in rats, helping to reduce inflammatory pain. Studies suggest that CBD may be helpful for addressing insomnia, which is a common side effect for those suffering from sciatica and other chronic pain.
It’s important to note that the majority of research conducted into CBD and pain has been done using rats, and far more research is needed to confirm whether humans experience the same pain-relieving effects. With that said, if CBD affects receptors in the way that researchers believe, it shows a lot of promise for helping manage chronic pain.
How to Use CBD Oil for Sciatica
As studies have shown, CBD oil has the potential to alleviate the pain associated with sciatica. There are several different methods to use it: topicals, tinctures, and vaping. Be sure to consult your physician before using any alternative forms of medication.
CBD oil is one of the main ingredients in CBD topicals, which often include other oils or ingredients to form a lotion or salve. These are rubbed onto the affected part of the body and can provide temporary pain relief. The pain-relieving effect can last several hours, depending on the severity of it. Some CBD topicals contain higher concentrations of CBD oil, which may make them more effective and longer-lasting for severe cases of sciatica.
Before using any topicals, it’s important to read the instructions carefully and wash your hands thoroughly. After use, make sure you do not touch any sensitive areas on your body (such as your groin or eyes) and clean your hands once again.
CBD tinctures are oils that are placed under the tongue, allowing it to enter the bloodstream and potentially providing longer-lasting pain relief compared to topicals. The oil is held under the tongue for about a minute before it is swallowed and allowed to enter the digestive tract and pass into the bloodstream.
Do keep in mind that CBD can affect people differently and it’s critical to start with a small dosage first. For managing sciatica pain, start with half a dropper of 1000mg product and adjust your dosage as necessary from there. CBD tinctures can provide the longest lasting relief if used correctly.
While vaping is a common method for using CBD oil, it requires a vaping device that supports it. Alternatively, it’s possible to use an elaborate set of apparatus to vape the oil. The CBD vaping market is largely unregulated and there have been links between CBD oil and serious health issues in the U.S. For this reason, it’s important to ensure you only use unadulterated CBD oils with a high quality vaporizer.
Full Spectrum vs Isolate CBD Oil
The two main forms of CBD on the market are full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate.
Full spectrum CBD oils refer to those that contain other components besides CBD. This can include THC, terpenes, flavonoids, and many other cannabinoids.
CBD isolate refers to a product that contains CBD oil and nothing else. This is the recommended CBD product for pain due to its purity. CBD isolate does not create the ‘high’ often associated with cannabinoids and is the ideal choice for achieving pain relief for sciatica.
While more research into how CBD interacts with pain receptors, animal studies and preliminary research suggests that it could be an effective natural method of pain relief for people suffering from chronic pain, such as sciatica. Anyone considering trying CBD to manage sciatica pain should speak to their doctor ahead of time to ensure it’s safe.
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