Pain is an inescapable part of being human. Whether you're recovering from an injury or simply starting to feel age-related aches and pains, all of us at some point or another have to learn how to manage our pain so that we can carry on with ou+r day-to-day lives. Though there's no shortage of analgesics on the market, many of them carry side effects that can be much more devastating than the pain itself. Thankfully, in recent years several studies have emerged to suggest that essential oils can provide exceptional pain relief and management without harsh side effects. This 2017 overview, for example, provides clinical information on how certain essential oils can be of use in relieving pain for those suffering from cancer. That "certain" is important, however, as not all essential oils do the same thing. That's why we've compiled a list of oils with significant pain management capabilities along with tips on the types of pain they're best suited to treat.
Please note that none of the following statements have been evaluated by a medical professional. Consult your doctor before beginning to use essential oils for pain.
Lavender Essential Oil
Arguably the most popular essential oil for pain management, lavender is well-known for its ability to treat both migraines and tension headaches. Its ability to soothe and relax (coupled with its mild sedative properties) works wonders at relieving the stress and anxiety that are often at fault for those crippling conditions. If you frequently suffer from headaches, try either making use of the lavender essential oil with a diffuser or by dabbing a drop or two on your neck and forehead.
Lavender's pain management power doesn't stop there, however. The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of the essential oil can also be of tremendous use in easing sore muscles. A few drops added to a base of castor or coconut oil will create a salve that, when rubbed into the affected area, can help provide relief from even the most harrowing aches and pains. Though you should feel free to apply the essential oil on your own, we recommend seeking out a masseuse who specializes in aromatherapy for the best results.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Though peppermint has been cherished for centuries for its wide range of restorative qualities, it is perhaps most beloved for its ability to provide relief for some gastrointestinal issues. While nausea, indigestion, and stomach aches can be aggravating enough on their own, the suffering they induce is only multiplied by the presence of the painful spasms that often accompany those debilitating conditions. A drop or two of this peppermint essential oil added to a cup of tea can help to suppress those spasms while also assisting with whatever other digestion issues you may be suffering from.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
The powerful decongestive properties of eucalyptus essential oil are incredibly useful to those whose clogged passages frequently cause sinus headaches and other aggravating maladies. What's more, it can also be used as an anti-inflammatory to address some muscle-related aches and pains. This essential oil is extremely strong, and as such we recommend exercising caution in its use. It should never be applied to your skin undiluted - try adding it to a base of coconut oil if you'd like to create an all-natural, pain-soothing salve.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Though this beloved essential oil is known to assist in enhancing memory and suppressing appetite, its classic, woody scent can also be of use in reducing joint and muscle soreness. Rosemary essential oil has shown to be of particular use in lessening the pain of those suffering from rheumatism and can either be inhaled or applied topically to the affected area.
Orange Essential Oil
Orange essential oil is well-known as a powerful antiseptic, so much so that it now serves as the active ingredient in many industrial cleaning solutions. What you may not know is that organic orange essential oil also serves as an exceptional anti-inflammation tool, one that has been adopted by many as a treatment for arthritis and other joint-related diseases. Though too strong to be applied directly to the skin, it can work beautifully as a topical solution when added to a base of avocado or almond oil. We recommend two or three drops for every teaspoon of oil, though you may need to adjust the ratio to best address your specific level of pain.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass is one of a few essential oils known to inhibit inflammatory responses in the body, doing so by blocking the transmission of a specific enzyme responsible for those responses. That quality makes it an excellent treatment tool for the joint and muscle pain associated with arthritis and rheumatism. As a bonus, lemongrass essential oil also serves as a tremendous mood booster, which can help make both your pain and its treatment that much more bearable.
Best Essential Oils for Pain Relief
When we experience pain, it can be tempting to simply curl up and submit to it. Many of us suffer so deeply that we cannot find the energy or motivation to seek out relief, leading to a destructive cycle that even the most powerful treatments fall short of addressing. While by no means a cure-all, essential oils can provide the respite and comfort you need to get up and fight whatever dared to keep you down. Some of the best essential oils for pain relief include:
- Lavender Essential Oil
- Peppermint Essential Oil
- Eucalyptus Essential Oil
- Rosemary Essential Oil
- Orange Essential Oil
- Lemongrass Essential Oil
Try adding these essential oils for pain to your routine and get one step closer to pain relief.