Lower Back Pain
Learn more about lower back pain symptoms and available back pain treatment options
Back pain can be a debilitating issue, causing both physical and emotional stress. Back pain itself refers to any pain in your spine, which starts at your neck and ends at your buttocks. It is estimated that 1 in 6 Australians are reported to have back issues, and 4 out of 5 experience it at some stage throughout their life.
Symptoms of back pain
Back pain is most commonly defined as pain anywhere from the neck to the buttocks. People can experience back pain differently, for example, some people may experience sharp pain, whereas others experience aches or spasms. Consistent back pain can also cause a range of secondary symptoms. A common example of this is sciatica, which is pain that can travel down one or both of your legs. Here are some of the most common back pain symptoms:
- Pain anywhere from the neck to the buttocks.
- Pain in one or both legs.
- Restricted mobility or back pain during tasks requiring bending, lifting, sitting and walking.
- Restricted or limited movement of your torso.
- Tenderness when pressure is applied to the spinal joints.
- Reduction of reflexes, strength, and sensation (which can be a sign of nerve compression).
Back pain can also cause secondary issues, such as fear of movement and activity. Additionally, the stress of living with back pain can also cause mood issues, such as anxiety, irritability, and depression.
What are the traditional back pain treatment options?
Back pain relief remedies can consist of one or several different treatments depending on your specific diagnosis. When it comes to the best treatment for lower back pain, everyone is different. For example, for severe back pain treatment, your GP may recommend an injection to numb the pain via an epidural injection. In some cases, a surgical procedure may be required for severe back pain treatment. Some of the more common back pain relief remedies include:
- Targeted training and exercise
- Keeping active
- Chiropractic and osteopathic treatment
Medicinal cannabis for lower back pain
If you’ve exhausted other back pain relief products and treatments and haven’t experienced any relief or improvement, it might be worth chatting to your doctor to see whether medicinal cannabis for lower back pain could be a suitable treatment option for you.
We spoke to Dr James Stewart, one of Australia’s leading minds in cannabis medicine who provided a medical view about using medicinal cannabis for chronic back pain and traditional treatments.
Dr Stewart is a true believer in focusing on overall health and always promotes a healthy lifestyle as the key. Click below to learn more about the use of medicinal cannabis for chronic back pain relief and traditional treatments you may wish to discuss with a Doctor.
Back Pain FAQs
The spine is a complex structure made up of 24 vertebrae that are small individual bones stacked on top of one another. Discs sit between each of these vertebrae that act as shock absorbers and help to give your spine the flexibility it requires to move. There are ligaments, facet joints, and muscles that hold the spine together and give structural support.
Given that the spine is such a complex part of the body, there are many causes of pain in this area. Back pain can originate from any of these components but most of the time back pain is not attributed to just one problem.
For most people back pain is caused by one or more of the following factors:
● Incorrect posture
● Stress, muscle spasm or strain
● Weakness in the back or abdominal muscles
● Unhealthy weight
● Pressure from sitting or standing for long periods
● Not enough physical activity
● Sudden and awkward movement
● Repetitive heavy lifting
Pre-existing conditions like sciatica, arthritis, spinal stenosis and osteoporosis can also be the cause of ongoing back pain. Luckily, there are plenty of helpful back pain treatment options in the form of medications and alternative therapies.
There are many ways to alleviate problems in your spine and deliver you lower back pain relief. Reaching out to a medical practitioner can help individuals to understand concerns and to plan the best treatment for lower back pain. Physiotherapists, GP, osteopaths, chiropractors and acupuncturists are just some of the health professionals that can assist with back pain treatment.
Some effective back pain relief remedies include:
● Physiotherapy — a qualified physiotherapist will be able to suggest some exercises for you to practice.
● Keep active — regular physical activity or targeted training programs can help with back pain treatment
● Acupuncture — this is a fantastic upper and lower back pain relief method but may not be an effective solution long term.
● Osteopathic or chiropractic back pain treatments — these types of practitioners can help with herniated disc treatment, bulging disc treatment or back injury treatment.
● Medications — the most common pain relief like paracetamol or ibuprofen, which can be given for lower back pain relief and can be the most effective for a short-term period.
Strong pain medication is not recommended for back pain treatment as it can provide little benefit long term and can cause dependence, sedation and drowsiness in the individual.
Back pain can be serious, especially if left untreated. When someone experiences a back injury or general back pain, they become very aware of how much they use their back for performing everyday tasks. Standing up, sitting down and the transition between the two, laughing, breathing and even brushing your hair are just some of the movements where people rely on their back to be in working order.
When there is strain on the spine, any movement can exacerbate the issue — so back pain and severe back pain treatment need to be taken very seriously. If an individual has not suffered back injury or pain before it can be unfamiliar and tricky to locate the pain.
The most common sign of acute back pain, herniated discs, bulging discs or another issue can be a shooting, aching or burning pain that comes on quite quickly with any type of movement. With chronic back pain, the symptoms can come on slowly and build over time, leaving the person with issues for months rather than weeks.
Consult a medical professional or head to the emergency department if the following occurs while you are experiencing back pain:
● High fever
● Loss of bladder control
● A sudden spike in weakness, numbness or discomfort
● Severe stomach pain
● If you have had an accident or blow to the spine
● Weight Loss
If you experience back pain, a doctor can help you to find the best back pain relief treatments and plan for your situation.
In short, yes you can use medicinal cannabis for back ache relief.
Cannabidiol is commonly known as CBD and is a great alternative to traditional medicines that are used to treat different types of back pain or injuries. Studies have suggested that medicinal cannabis for chronic back pain can help to reduce inflammation.
Medicinal cannabis can be consumed in many forms including topical creams, sprays and gels, orally in liquids or in tablets and capsules. For neck and back pain relief, topical CBD can be a fantastic option that gets to the area the quickest.
Research has indicated that medicinal cannabis for back ache pain relief could potentially work in the following ways:
● Relieving the anxiety that is associated with back pain
● Reduction in pain-inducing inflammation
● Helping with overall relaxation and sleep
Some studies suggest that medicinal cannabis can affect how an individual perceives pain, but more robust research is needed. Medicinal cannabis is generally considered a full-body treatment, which means that it does not target back pain specifically—except in the case of topical products—but contributes to an overall feeling of relaxation and pain relief.
Managing and preventing back pain can be done in several different ways and the efficacy of back pain treatments will vary from patient to patient. Engaging in a conversation with your chosen medical professional (doctor, physiotherapist, or other healthcare professional) will help you to address any concerns you have over the back pain relief you’re looking for. It’s important to know that seeking a second opinion or combining alternative medicine could be a good option.
If you’ve had problems with your back in the past and want to prevent it from occurring again, one of the best things to assist with this is staying physically strong. If you have a strong core and back, this will help to protect your back during daily activities or when you’re playing sports.
There are many other ways to prevent the onset of back pain including:
● Keeping a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise
● Hot and cold compress therapy after physical activity
● Getting rest when your body is indicating that it needs to slow down
● Standing and sitting straight
● Avoiding heavy lifting — if you need to, remember to keep your knees bent and your back straight
● Strengthen muscles through training with weights at least twice a week