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Essential Oils For Back Pain
Suffering from back pain means suffering from one of the worst types of pain there is. While no one should have to live with any kind of pain, back pain is arguably one of the worst types because of the way it affects all your other movements and activities.
If you have a painful arm, then you can avoid hurting it by just not using your arm. But a painful back? That will flare up every time you try to walk, lie down, sit down, stand up or bend over. It even hurts when you laugh!
There are many different types of back pain and many different causes. If you have a temporarily trapped nerve for instance, then this will normally stop hurting on its own after a while. Likewise, if you have a pulled muscle, this will also heal with time.
Then there are those that require some mechanical adjustment from a physiotherapist or a chiropractor. These include issues like poor posture, or pelvic tilts.
But other problems are more persistent such as slipped discs, sciatica or nerve damage.
So you won’t be able to cure your back pain with essential oil necessarily. But nevertheless, it can be highly effective in treating it and reducing the pain. And in some cases, this might also help you to avoid compensating by using the wrong posture.
Read on and we’ll look at some of the ways that you can treat back pain with essential oils and will examine some of the best oils to choose for that purpose.
The Best Essential Oils for Back Pain
Eucalyptus oil is an antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory oil. This means that it can help to prevent muscle spasms and cramps, as well as reducing inflammation.
Both of these things can be involved in your back pain. Spasms might cause cramping which can be incredibly painful in the back but antispasmodic oils also help to reduce general muscle tension and other related problems such as knots that cause tiny localized points of tension within your muscle fiber.
Meanwhile, you can also benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of oils like these in case where your back has swollen due to an impact or other aggravation. Swelling can actually often be the cause of sciatica when the swelling forces pressure onto the sciatic nerve. This can also be helpful in cases where back pain is caused by arthritis.
Apply this oil directly and you can encourage the muscle to relax, thereby releasing tension and alleviating general discomfort. This is a strong oil when undiluted, so use a carrier oil first with a ratio of about 1:1.
Lavender oil is a highly relaxing oil and is also good for boosting the mood. One of its most important benefits is the ability to reduce pain locally as well as inflammation, which it reportedly achieves through increase oxygenation and circulation.
This oil works particularly well when warmed and once again requires a carrier oil to prevent aggravation to the skin. Mix with a little olive oil and warm them before applying directly to the affected area.
Lavender oil is also a very good oil when added to bath water. Try adding 5-10 drops to your bath.
Bergamot oil increases the production of serotonin. This is the brain’s feel-good hormone, so it can help to boost your mood! At the same time though, serotonin is also the brain’s natural painkiller. So by increasing serotonin, you’ll also have the added benefit of reducing all kinds of pain – or at least your perception of that pain.
Valerian Root Oil
Valerian root is often used as a herbal extract for people who struggle to get to sleep. This is because it can help to relax smooth muscle tissue, thereby helping you to relax into a deep sleep and release any tension.
And as you might have guessed, this also makes it very effective for treating any muscle-related pains. Just like the antispasmodic essential oils on this list, valerian root helps you to release cramping as well as knots that might be affecting the muscle. You might well be surprised at the tension you could be carrying!
As this oil is used as a sleeping aid, this can also make it helpful if your back pain is making it hard to get to sleep. In order to have a chance of recovering, your body needs to rest. Make sure that you give it that chance by using oils like this that encourage the release of the sleep hormones melatonin and GABA.
Sandalwood oil is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is combined with long and pleasant massages. The massage itself would be highly beneficial for improving any discomfort but this oil reportedly has additional benefits in treating sciatica in particular.
Peppermint oil is an oil that works particularly well when added to a warm bath. Baths are great for helping the muscles to relax and thereby easing pain on their own. But when you add the therapeutic benefits of essential oils this is even better.
Peppermint oil contains l-menthol and is a natural painkiller and anti-inflammatory. At the same time though, it has that cooling effect that we all know and associate with mint. When you use this on an area that is causing you pain, it can actually offer a lot of relief by helping to distract from the pain – a little like a tens machine.
How to Use Essential Oils for Back Pain
There are a number of ways you can use these oils to treat back pain and the best method will depend on the type of oila nd the nature of your back pain.
One of the most popular ways to use essential oils though is through massage. This has a big benefit because it encourages you to relax and can be distracting from the pain. What’s more, is that the massage also helps to release tension from the muscles directly, to work out knots, to drain the lymph nodes, to reduce swelling and to encourage circulation! Add in some essential oil to work as a pain killer and to force the muscles to relax even more and you have a highly therapeutic treatment that can help to ease even the most stubborn back pain.
The only downside? You’ll need to find someone who’s willing to give the massage! The best candidate for this is of course going to be a romantic partner in most cases (this is quite a ‘touchy-feely’ process after all!) and you can always offer to take it in turns…
Warm the oils first and blend about 20 drops with a carrier oil. Apply gently to the painful area and have them applied using a circular motion.
Another way for Aromatherapy is by burning them using an oil diffuser. Now, this isn’t going to be as effective for providing muscle relaxation or painkilling at the site of the discomfort. However, it can be very good for promoting general calm and relaxation which can in turn ease the muscles. This works particularly well with oils like lavender oil or bergamot.
The best bit? You can combine aromatherapy with a massage or bath. Just burn the oils while simultaneously using either of the other two methods for a real slice of heaven!
#3 Hot Compress
You can also use a hot compress or heating pad to improve your back pain. Just apply a small amount of essential oil to the heat pad and them apply with gentle firmness to required region. You can do this yourself, which is handy if there isn’t someone around to offer massage.
Finally, why not use essential oils with a bath? Just add 10-20 drops of your chosen essential oil (depending on tis strength) and perhaps a few cups of Epsom salt. This will create a highly relaxing ‘muscle soak’ bath that will help your muscles to relax while simultaneously presenting you with a very relaxing and pleasant aroma that can help you forget your worries.
Do any of these things just before bed, right when you’re relaxed and at ease. Don’t forget to rehydrate afterward by drinking a big glass of water though! Heat and massage in particular can otherwise cause dehydration which might actually lead to cramping and cause more discomfort during the night.