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Essential Oils for Pain

Updated on August 23, 2014

Essential Oils for Back Pain Relief


Understanding Pain

What is pain? What do we define as pain? According to the Pain Management Centre at Stanford University, pain can be described as the following:

“Because perception and tolerance of pain vary widely from individual to individual, pain is difficult to define and describe. Essentially, pain is the way your brain interprets information about a particular sensation that your body is experiencing. Information (or "signals") about this painful sensation are sent via nerve pathways to your brain.”

Why aren't more people using essential oils for pain?

Before the advent of modern medicine, people used to use natural remedies to alleviate pain. One example is the bark of the willow tree. For thousands of years, people in Asia and Europe would be advised to chew on the bark of the willow tree for relief of headaches, infections and fever. In the same way, other natural remedies were used to treat different kinds of ailments. These remedies were used by the doctors of yesteryear on a daily basis.

Things changed as modern medicine progressed. Pharmaceutical companies cannot claim ownership to natural plants and remedies, thus medicine made by them is largely derived through artificial means. This kind of medication can be patented. It has its place, of course, but natural remedies, and in this case, essential oils, shouldn't be thrown aside and forgotten.

Use essential oils for pain after surgery


Using essential oils for pain relief

The question arises: Are there certain essential oils that can be used for pain relief? Yes, indeed there are, and there are different essential oils which are effective in treating different kinds of pain.

One of the most famous essential oils is lavender. It is versatile and can be used for a myriad of treatments as well as ailments, due to its antibacterial, anti-infectious, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties.

Added to this, it aids the digestive system, helps to lower blood pressure, and is good for muscle spasms, strains, and cramps and even helps with rheumatic pain.It has long been known to help relive headaches, ease nervous tension, and a few drops on the pillow before going to sleep at night helps with insomnia.

Generally, an all-in-one essential oil to have in your home at all times. It is also one of the extremely few essential oils that can be used as is, without having to be blended with carrier oil before use.

Although lavender is one of the most versatile essential oils out and there and very readily available, other essential oils that work really well for pain relief including: chamomile, clary sage, sandalwood and sweet marjoram.

Please see my other articles on lavender essential oil:

Lavender Oil For Burns

Chamomile essential oil for pain

Chamomile is an herb that we often drink as a tea for its calming properties, but chamomile as an essential oil also has many beneficial properties, especially regarding headaches, low back pain, PMS and it also has excellent anti-inflammatory properties

Clary sage for menstrual cramps

Clary sage should not be confused with the sage we grow in our kitchen gardens and use for cooking, Salvia officinalis, which is the common sage that we have grown up with. Clary sage is excellent for use regarding menstrual-related problems such as PMS and cramping.

Sandalwood essential oil for muscle pain relief

Sandalwood is most often a smell one associates with soap, perfumes and incense, but the essential oil is excellent for treating pains pertaining to muscle spasms that often occur in the calves and other parts of the body.

Sweet marjoram oil for pain relief

Another essential oil that helps with cramps is sweet marjoram. Sweet marjoram also helps to relieve the pain which is associated by sprains, osteoarthritis and migraines.

Essential oils for arthritis pain

If you have arthritis, muscle ache, sprains and stiffness, vetiver might be the answer you need. For your heart (yes, your heart is a muscle), Marjoram and Lavender (again) are excellent, but Cinnamon, Rosemary and also Peppermint essential oils can be used.

For pains associated with sprains: marjoram and lemongrass, as well as clove, eucalyptus, ginger, lavender and rosemary.

Clove essential oil for toothache

An old wives tale that really works is that if you are suffering from a toothache and you cannot get to see a dentist soon you should try some clove oil on a small piece of cotton wool and tuck it into or around the affected area on the tooth. It relieves the pain quickly. If used in this way, it does not need to be blended with a carrier oil.

How to use essential oils

Remember that essential oils need to be blended with carrier oils, otherwise there is the risk that you can harm your skin in some fashion, as essentials oils are applied either to the skin or mucus membranes, and are seldom, if ever, taken in through the mouth.

Also please remember, that, as with any other home remedy, one should always consult a trained professional before embarking on any course of self -healing.

Essential oil recipes

A few home remedies using essential oils:

For pain in back

  • 2 tablespoons Carrier Oil
  • 10 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 6 drops Rosemary essential oil
  • 6 drops Sandalwood essential oil
  • 3 drops Geranium essential oil

Mix all the essential oils together with the carrie oil and shake gently. Once mixed massage oil into area of back discomfort. You can also try this remedy before doing any strenuous activity.

For muscle pain

  • 5 drops Grapefruit essential oil
  • 5 drops Rose essential oil
  • 3 drops Tea Tree oil
  • 2 drops Spearmint
  • 15 ml Carrier Oil of your choice

Mix together and massage into sore muscles.

To relax muscles and inflammation

  • 5 drops Niaouli essential oil
  • 4 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops Black Pepper oil
  • 3 drops Pine oil
  • 15 ml Almond or Apricot Carrier Oil

After mixing the essential oils with the carrier oil massage on to aching area.

Painful feet, neck and back relief

  • 20 drops of Ylang Ylang oil
  • 20 drops of Ginger oil
  • 12 drops of Nutmeg oil
  • 8 drops of Rosemary oil
  • 2 ounces of Sweet almond oil or another carrier oil

Blend all essential oils together with the carrier oil and massage into sore area.


Warming the oils before massage will help give a really relaxing sensation.

Video on essentials oils for back pain

Essential oils, at the end of the day, are not only good for their beautiful smell but also have medicinal purposes. One of the best ways to use essential oils is to relieve pain and inflammation.

If you are interested in other articles on essential oils, have a look at my other articles:

Best Essential Oils for Insomnia

Lavender Oil For Burns

Almond Essential Oil

Oakmoss Essential Oil


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