How to use essential oils for back pain relief

By: Bel Marra Health | Pain Management | Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 08:00 AM

essential oils for back painAt least 80 percent of the population will experience back pain or spasms at some point in their lives, and essential oils for back pain has become a common treatment.

Back pain has many different causes and can be acute or chronic. For instance, acute back pain can be due to strained muscles or ligaments from lifting heavy objects or from rapid movement. Chronic back pain can be linked to arthritis, bulging disks, pinched nerves, osteoarthritis, poor posture, and a host of other medical conditions. Some of the typical symptoms of back pain include inflammation, sharp stabbing pains, numbness, and in some cases, fever. Just as there are a wide range of causes, there are also a number of natural remedies. Using essential oils for back pain relief can be an easy and reliable treatment for many people.

Essential oils for back pain

Back pain can be a mild annoyance or it can be severe and immobilizing. While lower back pain seems to be the most common problem, middle and upper back pain is also experienced by millions of people. Essential oils contain various compounds that can help minimize pain in the body, including back pain. So what essential oils are good for back pain? Well, as we have discovered through research and personal accounts, different oils can be used for back pain depending on the symptoms associated with that pain.

The following is a comprehensive list of the best essential oil for back pain:

Chamomile oil

Many people relate chamomile with tea, but the oil extracted from the flowers of this herb contain flavonoids and terpenoids, which are known to have medicinal properties. Studies have shown that it helps reduce inflammation and is effective in treating lower back pain when applied directly to the affected area.

Lavender oil

Studies show that applying lavender oil to the affected area can improve movement, reduce pain, and produce a soothing sedative effect.

Eucalyptus oil

This oil is anti-inflammatory in nature and has been used to treat osteoarthritis. It has been known to provide immediate relief to people suffering from joint and muscle pain in their lower backs. This oil must be diluted before it is used.

Ginger oil

Ginger has the ability to reduce pain and swelling associated with chronic lower back pain.

Rosemary oil

Normally, this oil is used in food preparation, but it does have strong anti-inflammatory properties and has been known to help those who are living with a spinal condition called spondylitis.

Peppermint oil

This is one of the most used essential oils for back pain relief. It is said to create a calming sensation. Most people dilute the oil in a carrier oil and rub it on the affected area at least once a day.

Wintergreen oil

The oil that is used in commercial products, such as toothpaste and chewing gum, has proven effective in alleviating back pain.

Juniper oil

This oil has analgesic properties that promote pain relief.

Yarrow oil

The yarrow plant has anti-inflammatory properties and has been prescribed for headaches and arthritis. The oil has been helpful for many people suffering back pain due to osteoarthritis as well as other types of back pain.

Helichrysum oil

Derived from flower-tops in Eastern Europe, this oil has pain-relieving properties that make it a good essential oil for back pain.

Thyme oil

This oil is considered an effective herbal remedy for back pain and can be used regularly on affected areas.

Basil oil

Due to its antioxidant nature, basil essential oil is considered a good natural option for back pain treatment.

Fennel oil

This oil has both antioxidant and antimicrobial properties that make it a helpful remedy for back pain.

Clary sage oil

Clary sage has a number of therapeutic properties. It acts as a sedative, antispasmodic, astringent, and nerve medicine.

Frankincense oil

Some recent studies suggest that this oil has the ability to alleviate pain and suppress inflammation. It is a popular essential oil for muscle and lower back pain.

Marjoram oil

Marjoram is known for its strong sedative properties. Research shows the oil is effective in relieving stiffness, muscle spasms, and arthritic pain, as well as reducing migraine symptoms. It is said to be a good option for those who suffer from stress-related back pain.

Ways to use essential oils for back pain

You can use essential oils for back pain in a variety of ways. Many people find massaging the oil into their skin is most effective. You can apply an essential oil on the affected area anywhere from two to four times per day. It only takes a few drops of oil. If your back pain is severe, you might want to consider covering the pain area with a hot compress after you apply the oil. This will help the oil penetrate deeper into the skin. Keep in mind that some oils are strong and require diluting in a carrier oil, such as almond oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, or even olive oil.

Soaking in a warm bath is always soothing for achy muscles, but you can add essential oil into the tub for back pain. All you have to do is add two cups of Epsom salt and about 10 drops of your choice of essential oil. Soak for about 20 minutes.

Here are some sample recipes for using essential oils for back pain:

  • Neck stiffness and discomfort – 1-teaspoon coconut oil, 3 drops of white fir, 2 drops of marjoram, and 2 drops of lemongrass. Gently rub onto shoulders, chest and neck.
  • General back pain – Blend 5 drops each of osmathus, wintergreen, and helichrysum in a 30ml bottle, fill the rest with a carrier oil and rub on affected area 3 times per day.
  • Lower back pain – Mix 15 drops of frankincense, 10 drops of jasmine or sandalwood oil to an Epsom salt bath and soak. You can also mix 3 drops each of lavender oil, rose, ylang ylang, frankincense, sandalwood and jasmine. Apply twice daily to the affected area.
  • Slipped disc – Add 5 drops of rosemary oil, 5 drops of peppermint oil, and 3 drops of eucalyptus oil to 1 tablespoon of carrier oil and massage the mixture onto the affected area up to three times per day.
  • Sciatica – To address the pain that starts in the spine and radiates down the back of the leg, add 10 drops of lavender, 6 drops of rosemary, and 6 drops of marjoram to 2 tablespoons of carrier oil. Massage this mixture onto the affected area two times a day.

Benefits and risks of using essential oils

Many people rely on essential oils for back pain. However, individuals who are new to this form of natural treatment should do some research before using the oils. The vast majority of essential oils are perfectly safe for the skin, but some are not. You also have to consider that some people are just sensitive to certain oils. There are also those who find specific odors offensive. If you are thinking of adding essential oils to your treatment plan, consider doing a patch test of oil on a small section of your skin first to determine if you can tolerate it. Sometimes, just adding a little more carrier oil is all it takes to avoid any sort of reaction. If you are allergic to an oil, you might experience symptoms such as tingling or burning, along with a red patch.

Unless you are being advised by a highly trained aromatherapist, you should never consume essential oils. It is worth noting that trustworthy companies do not suggest users ingest their products.

Often times, the choices people make about essential oils comes down to personal preference. The wonderful part about using the oils for back pain relief is that you have the added benefit of enjoying the scents. Some people find inhaling essential oils brings about a certain level of calmness, including during times of acute or chronic pain.

If you want to start using essential oils for your back, it is always a good idea to keep your doctor in the loop. Any pain treatment, natural or not, should be discussed with your healthcare provider since you never know when it might conflict with remedies you are already taking.


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