For most folks, back pain is a compulsory experience in life. It’s not an encounter they choose, but might be brought on for numerous reasons. Some backaches are encountered due to poor quality of life, while others stem from injuries and serious health complications. Regardless of the cause, back pain symptoms remain synonymous.
It’s not always easy to identify the ‘specifics’ behind backaches. An act as trivial as throwing a ball or sudden movement could encourage back spasms. Even being bogged down with life’s anxieties is an ingredient for inflammation in the back.
Why Essential Oils Are Good For Back Pain
It’s difficult to provide effective treatment for backaches when the cause is unknown. You may find it easier to get comfortable with a synthetic painkiller, but that’s not something you want to depend on. To supplement, some synthetic pain pills have unfavourable side effects.
Plant-based oils can be used to provide backache relief. They produce an analgesic-like effect because of their natural compounds. They distinctively have an effect on muscle and joint aches, even soothing inflammation in localized areas of the body. The volatile oils are absorbed into the body through a warming, or cooling massage, and produce minimal to no side-effects.
8 Best Essential Oils For Back Pain
1. Turmeric Essential Oil (Curcuma longa)
Arthritis pain is often attributed to pain and swelling in the joints, namely knees, hands, and hips. However, a reputable source confirmed that it does cause back pain. Turmeric extract has a track record in treating joint-associated pain and swelling. Components of the oil produce an effect that work against pain and inflammation in concentrated areas of the body.
To stop arthritic back pain in its tracks, turmeric can be used as a warming back rub. Two drops of turmeric in a teaspoon of St. John’s wort macerated should suffice for this massage oil. Massage the oil onto the inflamed and aching area in a slow, mild motion.
Best for: back pain caused by arthritis
2. Ginger Essential Oil (Zingiber officinale)
Pain in the lower back may become long-standing because of your quality of life. Maybe you lack sufficient exercise, sit poorly, or are in a constant state of stress and anxiety. All these factors contribute to back pain. A comparative clinical trial revealed the effectiveness of ginger coupled with Swedish massage against chronic back pain. This is indeed an avenue of exploration for health professionals, especially when providing care for older folks.
A soothing, warming compress with ginger is ideal for your back dilemma. Add 3 to 4 drops of ginger with a teaspoon of base oil to a small bowl of warm water. Immerse a washcloth into the bowl and let it soak up its contents. Wring out the washcloth and apply to the afflicted area.
Best for: chronic lower back pain
3. Allspice Essential Oil (Pimenta dioica)
Back pain is often associated with old age. Your muscles and bones are just not what they were. If you’re advancing in years or your muscles contract poorly, the results may be back pain. The numbing effect of allspice can be administered to provide pain relief. This warm, Jamaican spice is reputable for its use against gripping pains in folk tradition, and may just be the touch you need.
Start the pain-relieving process by obtaining 5 drops of allspice and 10 ml of canola base oil. Add the oils together, rub in the palms to create a warming effect, and then apply to the affected area.
Best for: back pain caused by debility and poor muscle tone
4. Eucalyptus Essential Oil (Eucalyptus globulus)
Eucalyptus was used in folk tradition for its remedial effect on aching joints. Further exploration of the extract revealed that its components produce an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect. This finding indicates that eucalyptus may act as a pain reliever for muscle aches and sprains, particularly of the back.
For muscle aches and sprains, use eucalyptus in a cold compress to enhance the oil’s cooling effect. Add 4 to 6 drops of eucalyptus with a tablespoon of base oil to a bowl consisting of cold water. Add a washcloth to the bowl, allowing it to immerse. Remove the washcloth after soaking and add to the afflicted area.
Best for: back sprains and muscle aches
5. Juniper Essential Oil (Juniperus communis)
Exercise is great for back pain, but workout injuries are common for anyone, even a sports-junkie. You could pull a muscle, or suffer from muscle spasms in the back. You can also suffer from a muscle spasm if pregnant, or have sustained a recent physical injury. The extract of juniper may be used to prevent and relieve muscle spasms. The oil breaks down uric acid crystals and reduces the toxicity left in muscles after exertion.
Create your own ointment by adding 6 drops of juniper to a 30 ml ointment base. Apply the ointment whenever your back muscles could use a bit of soothing and healing.
Best for: lower back spasms
6. Black Pepper Essential Oil (Piper nigrum)
People with sciatica, kidney complications, and infections of the spine are susceptible to backaches. Once the sciatic nerve sustains injury or pressure, pain spread to the lower back. The analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect created by the oil may be used to soothe pain, even temporary for the above situations.
To soothe back pain, combine 6 drops of black pepper in a tablespoon of sunflower base oil. Add the mixture to an average-sized bath with warm water. Sit and relax for about 15 minutes, allowing the oils to penetrate and warm the skin.
Best for: back pain caused by the sciatic nerve and kidney issues
7. Marjoram Essential Oil (Origanum majorana)
Lower back pain, or lumbago as it’s commonly called, affects people of varying ages. But, it’s quite frequent in aged folks, or those with demanding physical jobs. While marjoram may be used as a pain-reliever for general aches of the muscles, it can specifically target lower back pain.
For pain relief in the lumbar region, add 20 drops of marjoram to 30 ml of almond base oil. Massage onto the lower back until a warm sensation is felt.
Best for: lumbar pain
8. Helichrysum Essential Oil (Helichrysum italicum)
You could sustain a back strain from performing simple, rote activities. Maybe you didn’t warm up before exercising, you threw something, or you helped a friend carry a not-so light table. Stuff happens, and general strains are no exceptions, especially in the back . Helichrysum is that beautiful oil you can use to relieve pain and swelling subsequent to a sprained muscle.
To use as a cold compress, add 6 drops of helichrysum in a tablespoon of base oil to a shallow bowl of ice-cold water. Add a washcloth to the bowl, allowing it to soak up the oil. Squeeze the washcloth to remove excess water and add to the inflamed, achy area.
Best for: general back strains and sprains
3 Best Essential Oils For Back Pain Recipes
Cooling Eucalyptus Compress Blend For Back Strains And Sprains
This cold compress blend provides just the touch you need when dealing with sprained or achy back muscles. The suggested essential oils for this blend are cooling, and may numb pain in the afflicted area so that you can function at your peak. To start the cooling process, you’ll need:
- 6 drops of eucalyptus
- 3 drops of peppermint
- 3 drops of lavender
After combining the above essential oils, pour into a basin/bowl of icy-cold water.
Submerge a clean washcloth to absorb the oils.
Squeeze the washcloth to remove excess water and apply to the strained back muscle.
The washcloth should be kept fixed on the area until it transitions to body temperature.
Warming Ginger Compress Blend For Chronic Lower Back Pain
This hot compress blend has a warming action when applied to pain in the lumbar area. The suggested oils blend well together, and not only relieves chronic lower back pain, but lifts fatigue and listlessness. To make your own warming ginger compress blend, you’ll need:
- 6 drops of ginger
- 2 drops of cypress
- 3 drops of pine
- 2 drops of juniper
The process to create this hot compress is similar to the cold compress blend above.
Simply substitute ‘cold water’ with ‘warm water’ and repeat the process.
Before removing the washcloth from the bowl, ensure the temperature is bearable. This is to avoid being burnt when you’re ready to dip your hand in to fetch the washcloth.
Pain Buster Warming Ointment Rub For Back Pain
This blend is your go-to remedy when you’ve pulled or strained a muscle in the back. It’s warming, soothing, and life-infusing. To make your own ointment rub, you’ll need:
- 3 drops of turmeric
- 3 drops of ginger
- 1 drop of mimosa
- 1 drop of black pepper
- 30 ml ointment base
Combine the suggested essential oils in a small bottle or container of sorts.
Shake to combine the oils.
Add to your ointment base and mix to distribute oils throughout.
When ready to use massage at the area in a slow clockwise motion, creating a warming effect with your hand.
- Most people will encounter back pain at least once in their lifetime. There are various reasons why back pain occurs. This might be attributed to poor posture, rigorous or sudden activities, and health conditions.
- Essential oils are effective against back pains because some constituents produce an analgesic and anti-inflammatory action.
- Essential oils such as turmeric, eucalyptus, ginger, juniper, marjoram, helichrysum, allspice, and black pepper can be used to soothe back pain.
- Essential oil blends when used as a massage oil and in a hot or cooling compress can provide relief against backaches.