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A herniated disc is undoubtedly one of the most common causes of back pain. It is very common in working-age people and also largely due to work-related reasons such as sedentary work or strain. CBD is a cannabinoid obtained from hemp, whose positive effect has also been noticed in the treatment of neuropathic back pain. In this article, we will explore whether CBD oil could be helpful in alleviating the symptoms of a herniated disc.
What is a disc bulge / herniated disc?
Intervertebral discs are like small pillows that are located between the vertebrae of the spine, cushioning the load on the spine. Their purpose is to keep the vertebrae separate from each other and they consist of two parts; of a gelatinous interior and a solid outer shell with nerve fiber endings. (1)
Disc bulging is caused by degeneration of the disc. It is also a natural wear and tear associated with aging, which is not necessarily associated with greater pain. Promoted by stress or sitting, the degeneration often affects only one or a few discs, allowing the core of the disc to enter the spinal canal. The disc presses on the spinal nerve or causes local irritation, from which pain arises. (2)
Symptoms of a herniated disc
A herniated disc usually causes sudden pain, even if it has developed slowly. The actual pain point is in the lumbar spine, but the pain often radiates below the knee as well. Symptoms also include numbness, tingling and muscle weakness. (2,3)
Sometimes the bulge gets so big that it requires immediate surgical treatment. In this case, in addition to pain, the symptoms include challenges in holding stool and urine and significant muscle weakness in the leg. (2,3)
Bulging disc treatment
A herniated disc is treated with the help of painkillers, physiotherapy, rest, focus on ergonomics and light movement. Usually, the symptoms subside within a couple of months, but if they continue or worsen, it is necessary to talk to the doctor and reevaluate the treatment. A herniated disc is also treated with surgery, but it is only considered if the above-mentioned methods do not help. (3)
How to treat a bulging / herniated disc at home?
The aim is to focus the treatment of disc herniation at home and on taking ergonomics into account in everyday life. Usually, the bulge is treated with home remedies and physiotherapy, but approx. 15% of all cases require surgery. (2,3)
Usually, the physiotherapist gives instructions for movement and light stretching, but a good general guideline can be to take a regular, leisurely walk. Special attention must be paid to ergonomics when the hernia occurs acutely, but also afterwards, in order to avoid recurrence of the hernia. (2,3)
The degeneration of the diaphragm cannot actually be prevented, but its progress can be influenced by ergonomics and good lifestyles. Most of the time, a bulging disc in working-age people is caused by either sitting or one-sided strain, so it is important to pay attention to work-related ergonomics. It is even more important that these ergonomic instructions are actually followed, because often they are known, but not used. (2,3)
The condition of the intervertebral discs can be maintained with gentle movement, diet and not smoking (2). Sports where there is tackling or where the movement is always similar like in golf, there are higher risks of sudden and slowly developing disc herniation.
The symptoms of a herniated disc radiate to the leg
A herniated disc usually radiates to the leg, below the knee, and it is one of the clearest signs by which the causes of back pain can be identified as a herniated disc. You don’t always have this feeling of radiation in your leg, but it is very common.
Does the herniated disc reflect in the neck?
A herniated disc manifesting in the lumbar spine does not actually affect the neck, but various pain conditions also occur in the neck area, some of which are associated with degeneration of the discs. These diseases are rather classified as diseases of the cervical spine, but they have the same type of symptoms and root causes. Usually, hernias in the back do not actually radiate to the neck, but there is also degeneration in the cervical spine and its disc pads, which causes pain. The discs in the cervical spine also naturally degenerate as a result of aging, which can cause stiffness in the neck and sometimes even a tilt of the head. (4)
How does CBD oil affect the symptoms of a herniated disc?
CBD is an anti-inflammatory cannabinoid whose therapeutic effects are widely studied and recognized. It is a gentle, safe and effective supplement to support the treatment of many diseases, but its effect on disc herniation has only been studied a little, and the mechanism of action is not yet known. However, it has been noticed that somehow it has an effect and the topic would definitely be worth further research. The mechanisms of action have mostly been estimated and are related to CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects, slowing down the absorption of the endocannabinoid anandamide, and CBD’s muscle-relaxing properties in general. (5)
Chronic back pain in particular is often accompanied by anxiety and depression due to pain conditions that make life difficult. CBD has been studied to have a positive effect on both of these. CBD also affects the quality of sleep, which often suffers due to symptoms caused by herniated discs and back pain. Read more On the effect of CBD oil on insomnia .
Back pain relief with CBD oil?
The effect of CBD on back pain has not yet been studied very extensively, but because back pain is often caused by neuropathic or nerve pain and inflammation, in the light of user experiences and research, CBD oil is potentially good for relieving back pain. (5)
Disc herniation and the effect of CBD oil on it have been studied very little. However, we do know that CBD is cannabinoid , which has a lot of properties that have a positive effect on health, some of which could also be well suited for the symptoms related to the bulging of the diaphragm.
- Structure and function of the back. Spinal canal. https://selkakanava.fi/selkakipu/selan-rakenne-ja-toiminta. Referred on 10/22/2022.
- Saarelma O.. 2022. Health Library Duodecim. Sciatica, herniated disc, bulging disc. https://www.terveyskirjasto.fi/dlk00236. Referred on 10/22/2022
- Symptoms and treatment of a bulging disc. Mehiläinen. https://www.mehilainen.fi/ortopedia/valilevynpullistuma. Referred on 10/22/2022.
- Saarelma O.. Health Library Duodecim. Diseases of the cervical spine. https://www.terveyskirjasto.fi/dlk00272. Referred on 10/22/2022
- Silveira JW, Issy AC, Castania VA, Salmon CEG, Noguiera-Barbosa MH, Guimaraes F., Defino HLA and Del Bel E.. 2014. Protective Effects of Cannabidiol on Lesion-Induced Intervertebral Disc Degeneration. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25517414/. Referred on 10/22/2022