Anyone who’s sprained their ankle, had a headache, or suffered from sciatica knows that pain comes in many shapes and sizes, and what works in addressing one form may not work for the other. Acute pain, like from a sprain, strain or a migraine, might be mild and last just a moment, or it might be severe and last for weeks or months, finally disappearing when the underlying cause of pain has been treated or has healed. Chronic pain, on the other hand, is pain lasting longer than three months or past the time of normal tissue healing. Over 50 million Americans currently suffer from some form of chronic pain that leads them to seek medical help.
For the chronic pain sufferer, the main courses of treatment involve the use of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), or opiates, and occasionally a combination of the two approaches. The issue with these treatments is primarily one of unintended effects, and diminishing value over time. Repeated use of NSAIDS, like ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen, can damage the gut lining, cause allergic reactions or in extreme cases damage the liver and/or kidneys. Opiate misuse commonly leads to dependence, addiction and increased opioid tolerance, as well as increased pain sensitivity over the long term. A common experience among pain-afflicted opioid users is a mild improvement in pain levels while the medication is active in the system, but unremitting pain when in between doses. It isn’t until complete cessation of opiate use has been achieved that pain levels then decrease; this is an unfortunately common symptom of opiate withdrawal.
Due to these negative impacts, pain sufferers are increasingly exploring natural alternatives to relieve their symptoms; the substance that’s stirred the most curiosity over the past couple of years is CBD. CBD (short for cannabidiol) is a derivative of the hemp plant, which is related to the cannabis plant but with a much different cannabinoid profile, and is predominantly non-psychoactive.
Hit! Balm and Hit! Drops are made with pure Colorado grown and extracted CBD, and have been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of a variety of pain patterns. (Use code MEGARELIEF for 20% off our Mega Strong Hit! Balm and Hit! Drops pain relief bundle for a limited time! ) Having heard that Hit! products with CBD can help pain, one of the most common questions we get from our customers is ‘Will Hit! Balm/Hit! Drops help my condition?’ The answer to this differs on an individual basis (because nothing works exactly the same for everybody), but it also refers to major differences in the most common types of pain. Pain specialists and researchers have agreed on defining three major categories of pain, all with different root causes:
Cause: injury or inflammation
Examples: muscle strain; arthritis
Cause: nerve damage due to pinching, irritation/inflammation
Examples: sciatica; carpal tunnel; neuropathy
Cause: central nervous system dysfunction
Nociceptive pain is named in reference to nociceptors, sensory neurons that respond to damaging stimuli in the body by sending a ‘pain signal’ to the brain and triggering an inflammatory response in the local area impacted. This is the most common type of acute pain and is caused by injury to the part of the body that’s feeling the pain. This is also the kind of pain that Hit! Balm is most effective at addressing; when applied to the injury site, CBD binds to CB2 receptors there to help to moderate inflammation and the local immune response. Best results are achieved with frequent application of Hit! Balm (3-5 times a day, or as needed for relief); CBD does not trigger diminishing benefits or dependence, so there’s no worry of ‘overdoing it’. Hit! Balm in combination with rest, recovery and in some cases compression therapy and physical therapy are sufficient to allow recovery from inflammatory/nociceptive pain.
Neuropathic pain is caused by ‘pinching’ of or impact to the affected nerve, though inflammation can also cause pain along nerve pathways. CBD has been shown to benefit the inflammatory aspects of neuropathic pain, though not the mechanical obstruction of a pinched nerve. Here, utilizing the expertise of a licensed acupuncturist (or in some cases a chiropractor) yields the best results, as both specialties have a specific focus on restoring proper nerve conduction as a means of alleviating pain. Hit! Balm can still be used in the area of a compressed nerve, to relieve inflammation in the tissues surrounding the impacted nerve, as well as along the path the nerve travels from the spine to the area in pain. It is recommended that a multi-disciplinary approach is the most effective way to address neuropathic pain.
Nociplastic pain is the most recently understood pain pattern, and finds as its focus the brain/central nervous system at the source of discomfort. As in nociceptive pain (where an injury to an area triggers the nociceptors to send a ‘damage’ signal to the brain, which then sends a pain signal to that injured body part), nociplastic pain is felt in the body but without injury, impact or inflammation in the affected area. Here, the brain is the target of treatment in an attempt to modulate on a neurotransmitter level the compounds that the brain perceives as pain. The most common example of this pattern is fibromyalgia, which affects 10 million Americans per year, with 75-90% of these being female. In fibromyalgia, pain and sensitivity to pressure are felt in various places in the body, but MRI/ultrasound or blood work fail to turn up a local ‘cause’ for that pain. Hit! Drops allow CBD to enter the general circulation where it enjoins the endocannabinoid system to occupy the receptor sites that block the production of pain compounds in the central nervous system. Hit! Balm can be used along the pathways of pain sensation in these cases, though addressing the central nervous system is perhaps more important.
Besides using CBD-rich Hit! Drops and Hit! Balm, meditation has been shown through clinical research to be measurably effective in regulating nociceptive neurotransmitter production; other approaches which have shown promise in reducing nociplastic pain include regular acupuncture with an experienced practitioner, as well as mild to moderate forms of exercise including yoga, pilates, tai chi and walking. In severe cases the use of antidepressants can be indicated, though these come with their own set of side effects that are best discussed with a physician or psychiatrist.
Pain managers and neurologists bemoan the lack of safe and effective treatments for chronic pain sufferers, but CBD-based products like Hit! Balm and Hit! Drops have shown promise in helping to reduce symptoms in a wide variety of patient populations. Most importantly, the safety and lack of unintended side effects make CBD balm and oil excellent additions to the arsenal against both acute and chronic pain.
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