Do you suffer from middle back pain? While neck and lower back pain are more common due to the movement and flexing of the bones in those parts of the spine, middle back pain can be just as irritating and even excruciating, depending on the type of injury you have suffered.
This area is called the “thoracic spine.” If this part of your spine is injured or strained, there are many treatments available, including opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain management. Unfortunately, long-term use of NSAIDs can lead to serious gastrointestinal upset including ulcers and perforation of the stomach. Opioid abuse comes with even more sinister consequences including addiction and death.
In 2013, a study at the University of Colorado’s Spine Center concluded that in some patients…” marijuana worked. A total of 89% said it greatly or moderately relieved their pain, and 81% said it worked better than or equal to narcotic painkillers.”
Even though more clinical trials are needed, cannabis for pain treatment shows promise. In the U.S., long before it’s fall from grace in the 1950s, cannabis was used for the treatment of many ailments and its medicinal properties have been known throughout the world for at least 10,000 years.
Before exploring the use of cannabis as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory for middle back pain below is some information about the thoracic spine.
Twelve vertebrae, (labeled by T1 through T12) make up the thoracic spine. It contains vertebrae that are stable and that are designed to keep your body upright. These vertebrae also protect vital organs, such as your heart and lungs.
Other vertebrae in the spine, for example, the cervical spine that contains the vertebrae in the neck, and the lumbar spine, that contains vertebrae between the lower rib cage and pelvis, are designed for movement. These vertebrae are flexible and powerful. The vertebrae in your neck enable you to turn your head, while the vertebrae in the lower back allow you to lift heavy objects and to stretch and touch your toes.
Middle back injuries are often the result of poor posture. You can also hurt your middle back when you lift a heavy object incorrectly. An auto accident, such as a rear-end collision, can injure the neck and the middle back. These injuries occur, in part, because the middle back is not as flexible as the lower back.
In between each of the spinal vertebrae of your middle back are donut-shaped discs that cushion and absorb shock. Discs have a fascinating structure. Inside, they contain gelatinous mucoprotein. The outer layer of a disc is made of collagen fibers. If a disc is torn, it liquid insides can ooze out and irritate surrounding tissues, ligaments, and nerves—this is sometimes referred to as a herniated or prolapsed disc. If the disc flattens out, it may compress one or more spinal nerves.
If a herniated disc happens to be the issue, your initial symptom may be a pain on or near the disc. You may also feel a pain that radiates from your back to your chest. The symptoms can be puzzling. Any chest pain requires immediate medical intervention because the symptoms may mimic a heart attack. In rare instances, a herniated disc in the middle back can put pressure on the spinal cord. You may feel pain, numbness, and tingling in the lower extremities.
When trying to determine how serious your middle back injury may be, an orthopedist will ask for your complete health history. The doctor will also examine you and order diagnostic tests, such as X-rays or an MRI of the upper back, when necessary.
A herniated disc will not appear on an X-ray, but X-rays do show what is happening to the bones, or vertebrae, of the spine. The doctor can determine if your spine shows signs of wear and tear. Final diagnosis usually requires an MRI or even a CT scan.
Not all injuries, even a herniated disc, require surgery. The doctor may take a “watch and see” approach for a while to determine if further intervention is necessary. Treatment during the waiting period may include physical therapy, pain management, (NSAIDs and non-narcotics), exercise, and rest. In extreme cases, surgery may be the solution of last resort.
Cannabis has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It can also be a powerful painkiller. People who suffer from different types of back pain report that taking medical marijuana allows them to return to normal everyday activities. It also offers them pain-free nights. Better sleep at night reduces inflammation and provides the body with the time it needs to heal.
Furthermore, cannabis makes it possible for some patients to drop their pharmaceutical drugs. An animal study in 2014, concluded that cannabis prevented further damage to spinal discs. Both CBD and THC have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
If you decide to try cannabis for your middle back pain, there are several choices. Dominant CBD strains, like Harlequin, are soothing and can be taken during the day or night. Harlequin is a powerful painkiller and anti-inflammatory.
Another soothing choice is White Widow, an Indica strain. White Widow reduces pain and allows you to zone out by taking your mind away from your aching back. It is the perfect choice for patients who have chronic back pain and who need good sleep.
OG Kush is Indica strain that is high in THC. That means it has strong psychoactive properties that will make you feel energized but be careful. Because of OG Kush’s high THC content; it can make some people feel paranoid.
Don’t want to smoke marijuana? Salves that contain CBD and THC can be very effective in the fight against chronic back pain.