As a thirty-something, I never expected that I would be one of the countless people who suffer from chronic pain. But then I also thought I understood what pain was. As an equestrian, I was no stranger to it. When you spend time around horses, there’s bound to be an injury or two, and I’ve certainly had my share of bruised ribs, black eyes, and muscle strains (among other injuries).
In my mind though, pain was a temporary condition. You injure yourself, then you pop some ibuprofen, ice it and rest. Then one day it's gone and you’re ready to tackle the world again. Other than my grandfather’s occasional comment about his “bad back,” I was much less familiar with pain in its permanent form—the kind of pain that keeps you up at night, distracts you from simple tasks, and worst of all, never completely goes away. But a serious neck injury that required multiple spinal surgeries left me with constant debilitating neck, shoulder and back pain, as well as crippling migraines, and I became acquainted with pain in a way that I never could have imagined.
I tried physical therapy, pain management clinics, and every type of pain relief out there. While some of those things certainly helped, it never quite went away completely. Worst of all, I was constantly on guard for things that would increase or set off a new pain episode. Once it started, it was hard to get the pain under control again. This severely impacted my ability to function normally, as well as my quality of life. Even riding—my primary method of relaxation—became a stressful activity. I knew that being distracted and worried about injuries was more likely to make them happen, which just further accelerated my stress/pain cycle.
Thankfully, one day a family member recognized my struggles and recommended cannabis to me.
How it Helps
I use CBD lotion and cannabis. The lotion helps a ton with the muscle aches and pains, which is where a lot of my current pain stems from. But I also have a variety of nerve symptoms and frequent migraines, which is where more traditional cannabis use has helped. With cannabis, I’ve not only been able to move away from opioids, but I’ve been able to take back control of my pain. And, more importantly, my life.