Back pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, from muscle strains and sprains to spinal issues. It can make it challenging for us to move freely and result in more time spent on the couch, but using essential oils may help reduce inflammation, relax tense muscles, and ease discomfort. In this article, we will explore how essential oils can relieve back pain, which ones are the most effective, and how you can use them safely.
How Can Essential Oils Help Ease Back Pain?
Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts that can be used to reduce inflammation, promote relaxation, and provide pain relief. Studies show the aroma of the essential oil may help to block pain signals from reaching the brain, allowing it to relax and reduce stress levels which in turn can help ease the pain. Additionally, some essential oils have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce swelling and inflammation associated with back pain when applied topically with a carrier oil. Essential oils may also work by stimulating the release of endorphins – hormones that act as natural painkillers in the body.
It is important to consult with your doctor before using essential oils for back pain. Certain essential oils can interact with specific medications. Essential oils should never replace traditional medical treatment, but they may be used in conjunction with it for maximum benefit. Additionally, you should always combine essential oils with a carrier oil before applying them topically on your skin and conduct a patch test to ensure you are not allergic or have a bad reaction.
Best Essential Oils for Back Pain
1) Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil’s herbaceous, floral scent has been known to provide calming and relaxing effects while its antispasmodic properties can help reduce inflammation and muscle tension. Studies have also suggested that the aroma of lavender can help reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality, both of which are important elements when managing back pain.
How to use:
- Combine 2 to 3 drops of lavender essential oil, 1 drop of peppermint essential, and ½ teaspoon of argan oil and massage into the affected area of the back.
- Add 3 drops of lavender essential oil and 2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a diffuser (with water as directed) and breathe in to calm the mind and body.
2) Peppermint Essential Oil
Like lavender essential oil, peppermint essential oil is another powerful remedy for back pain due to its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic properties. Inhaling peppermint oil can relieve pain while also energizing the mind and body. Research has shown that applying the oil topically can reduce both muscle pain and inflammation associated with low back pain. The menthol in peppermint oil cools the area of pain and helps to soothe sore muscles.
How to use:
- Combine 2 drops of peppermint essential oil with a ½ teaspoon of jojoba oil, and massage into the affected area on the back. Be sure to avoid contact with the eyes and mouth.
3) Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary essential oil has been used for centuries in folk medicine to provide relief from back pain and other ailments. This unique natural remedy can be employed in various ways to reduce inflammation and muscle tension, while also providing soothing effects on the mind and body.
How to use:
- Add 3 to 4 drops of rosemary essential oil and 1 drop of eucalyptus essential oil to a diffuser (with water as directed) to ease tension and promote relaxation.
- Add 5 drops of rosemary essential oil to ½ teaspoon of honey and mix into a warm bath to soothe soreness and inflammation.
4) Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil is another great choice for relieving back pain. It contains cineole, a chemical compound that provides a cooling sensation on contact with the skin — perfect for soothing sore muscles and inflammation. When used in conjunction with other oils, it can provide relief and long-term healing benefits.
How to use:
- Combine 2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil, 2 drops of lavender essential oil, ½ teaspoon of aloe vera gel and massage the cooling gel gently into the back or neck to ease tension.
5) Ginger Essential Oil
Ginger essential oil is derived from the ginger plant. It has been used for centuries to help reduce pain, improve circulation, and minimize inflammation due to its warming and stimulating properties when applied to the skin. In fact, one study found that ginger essential oil was effective at reducing joint swelling.
How to use:
- Mix 2 drops of ginger essential oil with 1 drop of black pepper essential oil and ½ teaspoon of argan oil and massage into sore back muscles.
- Add 1 drop of ginger essential oil and 2 drops of rosemary essential oil to your diffuser with water and inhale deeply to soothe the body.
The next time your back is feeling sore or tight, consider implementing essential oils into your care practice, along with your doctor’s treatment recommendations. Not only can essential oils help to relieve tension and pain, they can also improve your mood and emotional wellbeing. To learn more about how you can use essential oils to improve your wellness routine, take a look at this article: DIY Gel Roller for Healthier Joints.