Most people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Our sedentary lifestyles can contribute to the problem. Back pain can make the most basic things like sitting or lying down difficult.
There are medicines and surgeries that may help in some circumstances. Essential oils may also help with back pain management and may have fewer side effects. It’s best to discuss the treatment options with your doctor.
If you have decided to take a more natural approach to manage your back pain, let me tell you about the best essential oils for back pain and give you some tips to reduce back pain.
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What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are compounds taken from plants. The oils capture the natural essence and beneficial properties of that plant. When you use essential oils as a treatment, it is referred to as aromatherapy.
Remember essential oils are potent and your skin may be sensitive to certain essential oils. You need to always dilute the oil with massage lotion or carrier oil (such as coconut oil) before applying to the skin. Then, be on the lookout for symptoms of skin irritation such as rash, hives, redness, swelling, or itchiness.
If you are interested in learning more, check out our list of the best essential oil books.
Note: Many essential oils are considered cosmetics and are not regulated for safety or effectiveness. Don’t try to treat a medical condition with essential oils without consulting a doctor.
How Can Essential Oils Help With Back Pain?
Studies show that with aromatherapy there is a significant positive effect in reducing pain. (1) Certain essential oils can reduce inflammation which can, in turn, provide pain relief.
In addition to the physical benefits of essential oils, some may also improve your mental health by boosting your mood and helping you to relax. Additionally, there are some oils that will increase your energy levels.
The Best Essential Oils for Back Pain
Luckily, there are many different essential oils that can help with chronic back pain. This list is not all-inclusive but contains my favorites.
Lavender oil may be the most versatile essential oil. It may be best known for helping people with trouble sleeping and anxiety, but it also useful if you are experiencing pain. According to a study from 2015 (1) lavender also has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, making it a perfect essential oil for both your mental and physical health.
Peppermint oil is one of the best essential oils for pain because it also gives you a cooling sensation. This can calm inflammation. Peppermint essential oil also boosts circulation, relieves tired feet, alleviates muscular pain, cramps, and spasms.
Ginger Essential Oil is stimulating and warming. It will also soothe and relieve joint pain. Zingibain, which is found in ginger essential oil, is considered to be a natural anti-inflammatory.
Eucalyptus oil may be best known for clearing chest and sinus congestion, but it also soothes other physical discomforts. Its anti-inflammatory properties will help relieve relieving aches, nerve and muscle pains, and stiffness.
Frankincense can help ease tension, reduce inflammation, and promote ongoing pain relief. Try blending it with Lavender and Peppermint oil for a unique pain-fighting mixture.
Chamomile contains anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving compounds, in addition to having antioxidant compounds. It is soothing, calming, and has been found to support joint health.
Yarrow Oil has a scent that can be described as both floral and herbal. It encourages the body’s natural repair and rejuvenation. This can help sore muscles and joints, upset stomachs, and even complex emotions.
Clary Sage Oil
Clary Sage can be calming when you feel anxious and when muscles are tensed up from pain. Note that you should avoid clary sage oil if you are pregnant as it could cause uterine contractions resulting in miscarriage or preterm labor.
Rosemary is a popular herb for cooking, but did you know the essential oil can help with back pain. Its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties make it an ideal treatment for muscle aches and pains. Try blending it with Peppermint oil to get a cooling sensation.
Basil comes from the same family as Rosemary. It will help you relax and loosen up muscular tension. Basil is also an ideal oil to deal with nerves and mental fatigue.
How to Use Essential Oils to Relieve Back Pain
If you want to use essential oils to help with your back pain, here are three different ways you can do it:
- Use a diffuser (like this one) to breathe in the scent from the oil. Since the oil is not applied to your body, this could be a good option for those with sensitive skin.
- Add essential oils to a bath. You only need 6-8 drops to feel the benefits. Combine the essential oil with a few tablespoons of milk and then add it to the water. Be sure to mix the water so that the essential oils are evenly distributed.
- Consider using essential oils during your daily shower.
- Apply essential oils (diluted with a lotion or carrier oil) to the skin. You can use essential oils in massage.
Other Tips for Back Pain
Just like there are a lot of factors that can cause back pain, there are a lot of things that you can do (in addition to using essential oils) to help manage it. These are just a few of the options.
There are many benefits of massage therapy including pain relief. While it may not be practical to make frequent visits to the spa for a professional massage, there are tools that will help you get a comforting massage at home.
If you are on a tight budget and want to pinpoint a specific area, a massage ball is ideal. For something a little more relaxing that will also help with the pain, try a handheld massager. If you have a little more money to spend and want something that feels closer to a real massage, consider investing in one of these massage chairs. Those of you that spend a lot of time in the car might appreciate a car seat massager.
Acupressure is a less intrusive form of acupuncture, and it is easy to do at home. You can use your hands on the pressure points to relieve lower back pain. Alternatively, some people prefer to get an acupressure mat.
Work on Your Posture
Poor posture can lead to back pain. If you can improve your posture it can also reduce your back pain. It’s not an easy thing, though, because bad habits over many years caused the posture issues.
Please consult your doctor before beginning any exercise regime. If your doctor approves, exercise can be a practical way to strengthen core muscles which will relieve some of the pressure on your back. Check out this video for some suggestions.
Additionally, you can use exercise along with a healthy diet to maintain a proper weight. Carrying around additional weight can make back pain worse.
Avoid Lifting Heavy Objects
Many people injure their backs because they were not lifting heavy objects properly. It is easy to forget that you need to use your legs. If you are experiencing back pain, it is best to avoid lifting anything heavy because you risk causing even more damage. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
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