Back and neck pain​

Back problems can cover a range of conditions that are related to the bones, joints, connective tissues, muscles and the nerves in the back. For many Australians, back problems can lead to significant disruption of their everyday activities, with ongoing pain impacting productivity, energy and movement capacities. In 2015, back pain was the second leading cause nationally of disease burden, accounting for 4.1% of Australia’s total disease burden. With 1 in 6 Australians experiencing back problems in 2017-2018, the treatment of back and neck pain is a serious area of attention that can stand to positively impact the lives of a wide percentage of the Australian population. Neck pain is even more common, with 1 in 5 individuals suffering from it – while an acute episode of neck pain may last for 6-8 weeks, chronic neck pain persists in 10-34% of individuals. 

Back and neck pain relief may be found in naturally occurring cannabis, which is being used as pain medicine by doctors throughout Australia. As cannabis has properties which have been found to provide pain relief and treatment for pain, this naturally occurring substance is growing in prevalence as more everyday Australians are working with their doctor to legally and safely access this powerful pain relief alternative. There are a wide variety of treatments on the market for treating joint pain, but cannabis has been found to provide pain relief for back pain, neck pain, joint pain and more. If you suffer from back or neck pain, speak to your doctor about the potential benefits of using medical cannabis to provide pain relief.

References
  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Back problems. Cat. no. PHE 231. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 22 April 2020, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/back-problems
  2. Neck Pain n.d., www.painmanagement.org.au, viewed 6 April 2021, <https://www.painmanagement.org.au/2014-09-11-13-34-03/2014-09-11-13-35-16/273-what-is-causing-my-neck-pain.html>.
  3. Bachhuber, M., et al., (2019). Use of Cannabis to Relieve Pain and Promote Sleep by Customers at an Adult Use Dispensary. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs

Back and Neck Pain are common areas of pain in society

Worldwide issue

Statistics on back pain
  • Back problems are a range of conditions related to the bones, joints, connective tissue, muscles and nerves of the back. Back problems are a significant cause of disability and lost productivity.
  • In 2015, back pain was the 2nd leading cause of disease burden, accounting for 4.1% of Australia’s total disease burden
  • In 2017-18 there were 181000 hospitalisations with back problems.
  • About 4.0 million people or 1 in 6 Australians (16%) had back problems in 2017–18
  • Pain at least “moderately” interfered with daily activities for almost 2 in 5 (38%) people with back problems in 2017–18
Neck Pain
  • Neck pain is such a common problem that 1 in 5 readers of this article probably already suffers neck pain. In fact, the chance that you will have neck pain at some point over your lifetime is nearly 50%
  • It tends to peak in middle age, and has a higher incidence in females than males (2). For the majority of people, an acute episode of neck pain will resolve in approximately 6-8 weeks with conservative management but chronic neck pain persists in 10-34% of people (8,9). 
Chronic Pain Statistics

Estimated $10 billion global chronic pain market (2026)

  • Opioid epidemic in USA and other 1st world countries
  • Chronic pain affects between 30% and 50% of the world population.
USA
  • 50m chronic pain patients (3)
  • 63% of registered medical cannabis patients are for chronic pain(1)
  • 90% reported cannabis more effective than OTC pain medications (1,2)
  • To date, there has been $4 billion worth of sales from Oxycodone (USA)
Australia
  • 3.24 million Australians living with chronic pain (4)
  • 40% of SAS Cat B Cannabis patients are living with chronic pain(5)
  • 73.2 billion dollar cost to the economy (4)
  • 44.6% also live with depression and anxiety (4)
Europe
  • Chronic pain effects an estimated 100 million people (6)
  • German pharmacies processed 267,348 prescriptions under the statutory program in 2019, up 44% from the previous year. Chronic pain was the number 1 condition(7)
References
  1. Boehnke, K. F., et al, (2019). Qualifying Conditions Of Medical Cannabis License Holders In The United States. Health Affairs (Project Hope), 38(2), 295–302.
  2. Bachhuber, M., et al., (2019). Use of Cannabis to Relieve Pain and Promote Sleep by Customers at an Adult Use Dispensary. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
  3. Dahlhamer, J.,et al. (2018). Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain Among Adults – United States, 2016. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 67(36), 1001–1006
  4. Pain Australia. org.
  5. Freshleaf analytics
  6. https://pae-eu.eu/about-us/chronic-pain/
  7. Medical Cannabis in Europe: 2nd edition report; Marijuana Business Daily International, May 2020
  8. P. D. Aker, A. R. Gross, C. H. Goldsmith, and P. Peloso. Conservative management of mechanical neck pain: systematic overview and meta-analysis. BMJ. 1996 November 23; 313(7068): 1291–1296. 
  9. Mehanical Neck Pain and Cervicogenic Headache. Neurosurgery 2007: 60:S1-21–S1-27 
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