Can you Relieve Pain Using Essential Oils for Pain?

Essential oils have been used in alternative medicine for centuries.

Since Ancient times, people have used essential oils to treat all kinds of health problems.

But what has made essential oils as popular as they are today, is the ability to use essential oils for pain relief.

Some health experts are certain that essential oils can be as effective as modern day analgesics [1].

And unlike analgesics, essential oils for pain carry no side effects.

They can be very effective in treating chronic pain caused by sciatica and arthritis.

As a bonus, essential oils can treat the pain, but they also treat the root of the problem.

The same essential oils for pain relief also help with conditions like sciatica and arthritis, helping with the condition, not only the pain aftermath.

One example is peppermint essential oil.

Peppermint can help with aching muscles.

But the oil also improves blood circulation in the area, which reduces the inflammation causing the pain of the aching muscles.

Another example is lavender.

It helps with headaches and neck pain, but also reduces stress causing the pain.

Lavender and peppermint are two of the most popular essential oils for pain relief.

But there are many other that can also help.

Why essential oils help?

essential oils for pain

For starters, essential oils have analgesic properties.

But they also help in other ways.

Here are some properties that make essential oils great for relieving pain.

  • Antirheumatic, bringing relief from chronic rheumatic pain and stiffness of the joints
  • Sedative, mild tranquilizing effect reducing irritability and discomfort
  • Anesthetic, a temporary loss of sensation or numbing of the affected area
  • Antimicrobial, action against disease causing bacteria, useful in treating pain resulting from stomach infections and sinus congestion
  • Anti-inflammatory, reducing inflammation and swelling associated with muscle injuries
  • Decongestant, facilitates drainage in the upper respiratory tract, and relieves headaches caused by nasal congestion
  • Carminative, reduces gas formation and accumulation in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Antidepressant, treats not only depression, but also other conditions like migraine, chronic pain, and neuropathic pain
  • Antispasmodic, disrupts painful muscle contractions or spasms resulting from injuries to the nerves and spine

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best essential oils for pain relief.

Lavender

As mentioned previously, lavender is among the most popular essential oils in the world.

It all comes down to the sweet-smelling relaxing ambience that lavender provides.

Known as the number one remedy for migraine and tension headaches, lavender provides soothing and relaxing effects.

It also has a mild sedative effect, which helps with stress and anxiety, the root of the problem [2].

The best way to use lavender is to inhale its vapor.

That is enough to bring relief in most cases.

Being that lavender is a mild essential oil, you can also apply one or two drops on the neck and forehead for quicker results.

If you need pain relief from body aches and sore muscles, lavender can also be applied on those spots.

For this use, make sure to mix few drops of lavender with a tablespoon of coconut oil.

Then, massage the mixture on the affected area.

Peppermint

Peppermint is one of the oldest essential oils.

It is one of the oils used way back when people didn’t even know about essential oil.

Peppermint is obtained from a natural hybrid of spearmint and watermint.

Peppermint has a highly refreshing smell, which comes from menthol, an active ingredient in the oil [3].

You can use peppermint to treat nausea, stomachache, and indigestion.

Peppermint soothes the lining of the stomach and intestines and makes sure there are no painful spasms.

Add a drop of peppermint to your food or beverages for this effect.

You can also use peppermint topically to relax muscles in the lower back and reduce tension caused by headaches [4].

Chamomile

Chamomile essential oil has analgesic properties, which make it great for treating headaches, muscle, and joint pain.

No matter whether you use German or Roman chamomile, both have carminative effect and can relieve abdominal pain caused by gas.

Roman Chamomile finds its usage in treating irritability and abdominal discomfort in small children because it is mild [5].

Rosemary

Rosemary essential oil is extracted from the same plant as the culinary herb.

Known for its memory-enhancing properties, rosemary can also be used for stimulating appetite.

However, rosemary also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it great for treating pain [6].

You can use it by inhaling vapors to treat headache, or apply topically on affected areas to treat joint pain and muscle soreness.

Rosemary is one of the best essential oils for treating rheumatism.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus has powerful decongestant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Those contribute to pain relief caused by sinus congestion and muscle injuries.

One thing to note, eucalyptus is very potent and strong essential oil [7].

Never use it on its own.

Always dilute eucalyptus essential oil with a carrier oil like coconut when you apply on your skin.

Juniper

Juniper can be used to treat many conditions causing pain, but most importantly, it is effective in treating colitis, hemorrhoids, and dysmenorrhea [8].

When you need to treat hemorrhoids, sit in a hot bath with few drops of oil in it for 20 minutes.

Ginger

Fresh ginger is popular for aiding digestion.

The essential oil can help with the same problems.

But ginger is also effective in treating painful autoimmune conditions like lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis [9].

You can use it both as inhalation or apply topically.

There are no side effects of using ginger oil topically, even when used for extended period of time.

Cayenne

One of the best hot and spicy essential oils, cayenne is effective in treating even the most severe types of pain.

Cayenne is very potent, so you have to dilute it with a carrier oil [10].

Just a single drop is enough for using topically to relieve rheumatic pain.

Clove

Clove is highly spicy and can give you a burning sensation when applied on the skin undiluted.

But what follows is an anesthetic action that helps with pain relief from acute pain [11].

It is best to mix few drops of clove oil with a cup of warm water for toothache.

Gargling can also provide relief from throat pain.

Mix it with carrier oil and massage on the affected area for muscle and joint pain relief.

Sandalwood

Sandalwood is among the most expensive essential oils.

However, it has antispasmodic properties that are second to none.

It is worth having it in your medicine cabinet [12].

You can treat neuralgia, skeletal pain, and muscle pain by adding few drops in a diffuser and inhaling the steam.

Marjoram

Marjoram is made from a herb closely related to oregano.

That gives its spicy aroma, but also analgesic properties [13].

It is best to use it in a diffuser to treat headaches during the cold and fever season.

You can dilute it with a carrier oil to treat muscle spasms by massaging it into the area.

How to use essential oils for pain?

When medications do not help with pain, people are always interested in finding alternative remedies.

Essential oils are the best natural way to relieve pain.

Most essential oils, as mentioned previously, are potent and need to be diluted with a carrier oil.

The list of carrier oils include coconut, avocado, sesame, jojoba, and grapeseed.

The dose of essential oils can vary, but in general, you need only few drops.

A general rule of thumb is 10 drops per tablespoon of carrier oil.

Before using any essential oil topically, make sure to check its effects on your skin.

Rub the diluted oil on the inside of your forearm.

If you do not experience any side effects like irritation within 24 hours, the oil is safe for use.

Not all people can use all essential oils.

The three popular ways for using essential oils for pain include massage, inhalation, and a hot bath.

Massaging the oils on your skin helps loosen up muscles and alleviate pain.

The good news is that you can practice self-massage on most areas.

If you want to try inhalation, add few drops of the essential oil in a diffuser and inhale the steam in a closed room.

If you are using inhalation, no carrier oil is needed.

You can make your own diffuser by filling up a bowl with hot water, and then dropping essential oils inside.

Lean over the bowl, cover your head with a towel, and inhale.

Last, but not least, you can take a hot bath.

For this method, you have to dilute the essential oil.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5751100/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5405632/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5192342/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3995208/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25635991
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3703330/
  8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115001033
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3169333/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4075701/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14765284
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25192562

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