- General Health
CBD Oil for Muscle Spasms
In recent times, CBD oil has been hitting the headlines for its use in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions. So what about using CBD oil for muscle spasms? Could it help to relieve the uncomfortable and painful symptoms associated with muscle spasms?
At some point in life, everybody will experience at least one muscle spasm. Usually, they are relatively harmless – although painful – and pass quickly. However, they can be a more serious issue, affecting certain people a lot more regularly. For these people, muscle spasms are a real issue due to the pain they cause, but also because they render the affected muscle unusable until the spasm passes.
Patients in pain are often quick to turn to prescription medication. Medications like Valium and Flexeril offer a quick fix to pain, soreness, muscle spasms, and tension. Unfortunately, these medications come with a list of adverse side effects and can be highly addictive, which may lead to more severe problems than muscle pain down the road.
Here’s where CBD oil for muscle pain (and other conditions) becomes so useful. CBD is demonstrating a lot of promise as an alternative to prescription medication. It’s non-toxic, safe, and can work as an effective muscle relaxant.
CBD-based treatments, like CBD oil and CBD muscle balm, are becoming an increasingly popular remedy for relieving muscle spasms. While CBD is certainly not a cure for the issue, it can be very beneficial for anyone who suffers from muscle spasms on a regular basis.
What Is a Muscle Spasm?
Muscle spasms are also often referred to as muscle cramps and charley horses. It’s a sudden, involuntary contraction of the muscle, which causes a very painful sensation. Whether due to a medical issue that causes symptomatic muscle spasticity, strenuous exercise, or long days sitting behind an office desk, muscle spasms can affect anybody.
The severity of muscle spasms can vary greatly – ranging from a mild twitch to acute or chronic muscle pain. Mild spasms can often be rubbed away or stretched, but more severe cases can be debilitating.
Most people will experience a muscle cramp at least once in their lifetime. However, in chronic cases, when muscle spasms become debilitating, medical attention is necessary. These cramps cause sudden muscle tightness and pain that might get in the way of everyday function. Athletes, overweight people, and seniors are at a higher risk of experiencing muscle spasms, but anybody can get one.
Spasms can affect various types of muscles in the body and lead to many different symptoms. Skeletal spasms are most common and often occur as a result of overuse and muscle fatigue, electrolyte irregularities, and dehydration. Most typically, muscle spasms occur in the leg muscles, especially the calf and thigh, hands, arms, abdomen, and foot arches.
What does a muscle spasm feel like? Well, it varies in intensity from mild twitches to severe pain. The spastic muscle often feels harder than normal to touch, and/or appear to be visibly distorted. It could show visible signs of twitching. Typically, spasms last from seconds to 15 minutes, and possibly longer. Furthermore, a spasm can recur multiple times before going away.
What Causes Muscle Spasms?
There are several causes of muscle spasm, and each depends on the part of the body involved as well as the environment that the body is in. Here are a number of causes of muscle spasms:
- Overuse of a Muscle: The most common reason for a muscle spasm is the type that most of us will have at some point in life. It may be brought on from exercise or even a routine activity, such as mowing the lawn.
- Dehydration: Muscles require water, potassium, magnesium, glucose, calcium, and sodium to function properly. An irregular supply of these can result in a muscle spasm.
- Diseases of the Nervous System: Certain nervous system diseases, like multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries, can cause muscle spasms.
- Restless Legs Syndrome/Nocturnal Leg Cramps: These leg spasms usually occur at night and cause sleep disturbance. This type becomes more common with age, and the exact cause is often never determined.
- Chronic Pain: When chronic pain happens in a large muscle group such as the back or neck, it can cause muscle cramps, like neck spasms and back spasms. It could be caused by an injury or the result of arthritic changes in the spine.
- An Underlying Condition: Multiple disorders can cause frequent spasms. These include diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, and more.
Muscle Spasm Treatment
Prevention is the key to stopping muscle spasms. There are various steps that can be taken to try and ensure that you stay spasm-free. Most importantly, one should keep hydrated and be sure to prepare muscles for an activity by stretching as part of a warm-up session. These practices are especially important for those partaking in exercise activities, but also when doing heavy labor things, like mowing the lawn.
If a spasm happens in a large skeletal muscle, like the calf, initially, you can treat it by massaging or stretching out the affected muscle. For instance, put your weight on the cramped leg and slightly bend your knee. If you can’t stand, sit on a chair or on the floor with your leg extended. Try pulling the top of the foot toward your head while keeping your leg straight – this is a great stretch.
Applying heat or cold are also great home remedies. Use a heating pad or warm towel on tight or tense muscles. Taking a warm bath or applying a stream of hot water onto the cramped muscle may also help. Alternatively, you can massage the cramped muscle with ice to relieve pain.
Treatment beyond this would be focussed on treating the underlying cause of the spasms. Strained or damaged muscles can be treated using pain relief medication, like anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants.
Alternative medicine options involve taking Vitamin B complex supplements to help relieve leg cramps. But, more research is needed to confirm this. Of course, CBD oil for muscle spasms is also an alternative option.
CBD Oil for Muscle Spasms
CBD oil is widely believed to be one of the best muscle relaxants for human consumption. The unique chemical properties of CBD make it one of the safest and most efficient solutions for various muscle problems. CBD provides the same benefits as most muscle relaxants – it relieves muscle tension, thereby reducing pain in the region.
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is in charge of the body’s homeostasis. When the CBD enters the bloodstream, it begins to affect how the body runs in our neurological and immune systems. CBD can help to reduce one’s sensitivity to pain, and thus may help to relieve muscle spasms. It also reduces inflammation that causes the muscles to contract.
Inflammation is the immune system’s way to protect the body from any perceived danger. Essentially, spasms are an inflammatory response. An inflamed muscle is angry and irritated and may spasm to draw attention to the fact that something is wrong. Researchers have found that CBD works with CB2 receptors – which form part of the ECS – and play a vital role in inflammation regulation. By increasing your CBD intake, you can relieve inflammation, thus helping to relieve spasms.
Another way that CBD can help with spasms is by reducing pain. It also interacts with CB1 receptors in the ECS. In this case, CBD increases the amount of an endocannabinoid known as anandamide, which helps to reduce the pain sensation. If you apply a topical, like CBD muscle balm, directly to the affected muscle, it could help to lessen the pain further.
One of the greatest reasons to use CBD for muscle pain is because it can help relieve a variety of symptoms, from sudden cramps to seizures. Without the need to introduce dangerous opioids into the body.
Findings: Effects of CBD Oil for Muscle Spasms
For a long time, there has been a significant barrier to scientists looking to research the health benefits of cannabinoids like CBD, due to the legal status surrounding cannabis. However, with the world becoming increasingly aware of the potential health benefits of cannabinoids, things are starting to change.
The main focus of research studies thus far has been to determine how cannabinoids may reduce spasticity. The results have been promising. Here’s an overview of a few of these studies:
- A 2014 study was the largest multinational clinical trial to explore the effects of cannabis in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). For the study, one group was given cannabis that contained CBD for 12 weeks, and another group received a placebo. After only four weeks, they found that the cannabis group reported a significant improvement in their spasticity. By the end of the 12 week trial, the spasticity severity had significantly reduced in the cannabis group when compared to the placebo group.
- A 2010 study published in the journal Neurological Research investigated how effective Sativex (a cannabis-based medication) was at reducing spasticity in patients over 15 weeks. The results were exceptionally positive as they discovered that spasms reduced significantly over just four weeks of treatment with Sativex.
- A 2008 review paper published in the Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment journal reviewed studies that looked at cannabinoid drugs as an MS treatment. They concluded that there is an ever-increasing body of findings that suggest cannabinoids may have a positive effect on pain relief and muscle spasticity in MS patients. This backs up the belief that CBD may be able to treat muscle spasms.
Ultimately, more and more people are turning towards CBD for muscle pain. CBD muscle relaxants are often recommended and prescribed by medical professionals.
Final Thoughts on CBD oil for Muscle Spasms
Thousands of people are switching over from prescription medications (like benzodiazepines and carisoprodol) to CBD oil for muscle spasms. This has a lot to do with the dangerous side effects and high cost of the former.
That said, it’s important to note that CBD oil for muscle pain won’t work for everyone. If you’re thinking about using it for your own condition, do your research and be sure to use a high-quality product.