I used to think that neuropathy had to do exclusively with the brain and that a neurologist only dealt with brain issues.

Though this is partially true, it’s much more complicated.

Neurologists treat disorders of the nervous system, brain, spinal cord, nerves, muscles and pain. To help control the pain, neurologists often prescribe painkillers (including opioids), anti-seizure medication, sleeping pills and antidepressants.

Some will recommend cannabis as part of the pain management treatment, or, even as the sole treatment. Cannabis has proven very helpful in combatting chronic pain and is one of the most common reasons for seeking cannabis treatment.

Given the repercussions around opioids for chronic pain, cannabis is an attractive adjunct to pharmaceuticals, if not the preferred treatment. Since medicinal cannabis from a regulated, licensed producer is non-toxic, it can address and help alleviate long-term pain without harming the liver, kidneys, or GI tract. It has also been known to help with depression and sleep issues and seizures.

Sidenote: If you want to protect your nervous system, don’t forget your vitamins. Vitamin deficiency can contribute to neuropathy, as certain vitamins are crucial to nerve health (B1, B6, B12, E and Niacin (B3). Whole food sources of these vitamins are always best but if you do buy supplements, get the most proven bioavailable vitamins you can find. Personally, I like AOR for their B Complex blend.

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Pain usually falls into two categories:

Nociceptive pain is caused by damage to body tissue (ex. a cut or a broken bone) and is typically described as sharp, aching or throbbing pain.

Neuropathic pain occurs when there is actual nerve damage. Nerve damage (caused by conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, tumours, alcoholism, autoimmune disease etc.) may impair sensation, movement, gland or organ function, or other aspects of health, depending on the type of nerve affected.

Peripheral neuropathy can affect multiple nerves (polyneuropathy) or only one nerve or nerve group (mononeuropathy) at a time. Mononeuropathy is usually the result of damage to a single nerve or nerve group by trauma, injury, local compression, prolonged pressure, or inflammation.

Carpal tunnel is a common type of mononeuropathy.

For an excellent definition and explanation around peripheral neuropathy click here.

You may be well served to find a support group if you are dealing with neuropathic pain. Check with your city to locate organizations that can help. Calgary, for instance, has an organization called the Calgary Neuropathy Association. They’ve got listing of events, resources, FAQs, a series of articles about neuropathy and associated conditions. (They also have a section called ‘100+ Things For Neuropathy Relief’. Cannabis hit the list at 36.)

We hope that your doctor is open to including cannabis in your pain management protocol. But if that’s not the case, you can self-refer to one of our clinics and talk to one of our licensed physicians. Just click on this link and follow the prompts to book your free appointment. The visit is covered by your provincial health care. www.naturalhealthservices.ca

— Written by Kait Shane, Natural Health Services. Follow Kait on Twitter @Medikait.

For further insight into all things cannabis, don’t forget to check out The Cannabis Show (new episodes every Wednesday) and connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. The Cannabis Show is also available as an audio podcast, subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Overcast.

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