With all of the business of modern day life, it can be challenging to deal with chronic pain or unexpected injuries. These kinds of physical discomfort can literally stop us in our tracks.
Your quality of sleep, ability to walk, capacity to focus, ease of getting tasks done, and stress levels are all affected when your knees are struggling. Happy knees are happiness, they say, and anyone with knee pain will likely agree.
Whether you are struggling with achy joints, arthritis, gout, inflammation, bruising, weakness, sprains and strains, nerve pain, excess fluid, or a short-term knee injury, essentials oils can support you in your healing process, and to manage symptoms of pain as you get back on your feet.
Why Essential Oils Are Good For Knee Pain
Essential oils are a safe, gentle, and effective way to manage pain of all kinds, including knee pain. When used aromatically essential oils penetrate the tissues of the nose, lungs, and skin, and interact with the brain to reduce perception of pain.
Inhaling essential oils can inhibit sensitized pain receptors, creating a decrease in pain. They can also stimulate the release of natural chemicals in the brain that reduce our experience of pain.
Essential oils are very effective when used topically as well. Massage oils, compresses and baths using essential oils have a numbing effect on pain. While the localized anesthetic properties of oils can offer immediate help, they also work at a deeper level. When applied to the skin, the oil constituents go through the epidermal layers, into the bloodstream, and find their way to the root cause of pain.
In addition to the effects on pain, essentials oils are incredible at reducing inflammation, which is a symptom of most kinds of knee pain.
Whether you’re experiencing pain from injury, chronic knee issues, inflammation, discomfort in the joint, muscle, bone, or fluid of the knee, there is an essential oil for you.
8 Best Essential Oils For Knee Pain
1. Blue Cypress (Callitris intratropica)
Blue cypress is a sweet, woody, citrusy scented oil that shines for joint pain. It is useful in the relief of symptoms of gout and arthritis. It can also relieve muscle pain, which can contribute to joint pain. If you have knee pain related to allergens or a rash, blue cypress can help with this as well.
If you have a combination of joint and muscle pain around the knee, blue cypress is a good choice. Add 1-2 drops to a warm compress and drape over your knee(s) until the pain subsides. Take breaks after 15-20 minutes and use as often as necessary.
Best for: Knee joint pain accompanied by muscle pain.
2. Birch (Betula lenta)
Birch is a top choice for tending to knee pain. If you only had to choose one oil for all your knee pain needs, this would be it. Birch helps reduce overall pain, joint specific pain, swelling, inflammation, cramping, and symptoms of arthritis, gout, and tendonitis. It also increases circulation, which is great for healthy joints.
As birch is a strong oil, I like to dilute it considerably for topical application. Add 1 drop of birch to 4 teaspoons of jojoba oil and apply liberally over knee joints and surrounding tissue. This is a great blend to use when the pain is really intense or crampy.
Best for: All your knee pain kneeds 😉
Note: Avoid if you are allergic to aspirin, if you’re on anticoagulants, or if you have high blood pressure. Sensitive skin may react adversely, patch test first.
3. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
Eucalyptus is a fresh, peppery-scented, cooling oil that is great for reducing pain in the joint. When used topically eucalyptus quickly numbs the pain and soothes inflammation. It can be useful for arthritis, as well as muscle injuries. One study showed that eucalyptus used aromatically helped reduce patients’ pain following total knee replacements.
To maximize the benefit of eucalyptus, I recommend a double dose! Diffuse 4 drops of the oil in a diffuser at the same time as you massage an oil blend into your knees. For the massage blend, mix 1 drop of eucalyptus with 1 tbsp apricot kernel oil and massage all around the knee joint and surrounding muscle.
Best for: Fast pain relief in the knee joint
4. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender is great for a variety of different kinds of knee pain, including inflammation, arthritis, aching of muscles and joints, and bruises. Essentially, pain associated with any kind of knee injury will be helped by using lavender.
Additionally, lavender is great at reducing stress and helping with insomnia, so if your knee pain has you feeling simultaneously wiped out and unable to sleep, lavender is a great choice to diffuse. Simply add 6-8 drops to your diffuser before bed, or anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed with pain, and feel your nervous system quickly calm. Not only that, but inhaling the scent of lavender reduces the perception of pain.
Best for: Helping you sleep when you are in pain
5. Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
Wintergreen relieves inflammation, pain, and all kinds of aches. It works well for muscle pain, tendonitis and bone pain. Wintergreen is especially great for arthritic joints, and to reduce uric acid associated with rheumatism and gout. It’s warming quality is especially good for inflammatory pain, and painful knees associated with old age and cold weather, as it improves circulation.
Wintergreen should really only be used topically. Add 2 drops wintergreen to 3 tablespoons of warmed coconut oil and pour over your knee(s), catching the oil in a bowl underneath your knee. Repeat several times, allowing the movement of oil over your skin to aid in increasing circulation and soothing arthritic joints. Finish with a gentle massage of the knee tissue.
Best for: Arthritis.
6. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
Lemongrass is a gentle, yet effective oil for pain relief in the joint and muscle, both when used aromatically and topically. Massaging lemongrass into muscles improves their suppleness and increases circulation. Knees are associated with the ego, so weak or painful knees can point to a need to nurture healthy ego. Lemongrass is a great oil to diffuse to reclaim a sense of belonging, increase self-confidence, and work more in harmony with self, others, and your environment.
Place 1 drop of lemongrass on a cotton ball or tissue and keep nearby to not only reduce pain perception, but to elicit the feelings of self-love that can be so supportive to the healing of your knees on an energetic level.
Best for: Addressing the underlying energetic component of knee pain symptoms.
7. Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
Roman chamomile is a gentle, yet very effective oil for reducing knee pain. It’s helpful for pain related to muscles, joints, nerves, and especially inflammation. Inflamed joints, sprains, and strains will be nourished by an aromatic and topical application of chamomile. Additionally, Roman chamomile is a great stress reliever and sleep aid, which are helpful side benefits of this pain-reducing oil.
To reap all the rewards of Roman chamomile, I suggest full submersion in a bath. Place 10-15 drops of chamomile in a ¼ cup of milk, stir well, then add to a warm or hot bath. Soak for 20-30 minutes, inhaling deeply to get the aromatic effects on the brain, as well as receiving the oils through the skin. This is especially lovely to do before bed feel supported in getting a restful sleep.
Best for: Inflammation and sprains.
8. Celery Seed (Apium graveolens)
Celery seed is a fresh, earthy oil that, when used aromatically, is helpful for inducing sleep, a much needed support when you’re in pain. It is also helpful to reduce pain overall, and especially in the joints. The specific talent of this oil is in it’s ability to reduce uric acid, which can help with symptoms of gout. Celery seed is also know to be helpful for relieving symptoms of arthritis.
A great way to use celery seed is when you’re experiencing inflammation or athletic pains in your knee joints. Simply add 2 drops to a cold compress and apply to your knee(s) for periods of 10-15 minutes, with breaks in between. This will help reduce both pain and swelling.
Best for: Gout.
Best Essential Oils For Knee Pain Recipes
Best Essential Oil Aromatherapy Blend For A Restful Respite From Pain
- 2 drops lavender
- 2 drops chamomile
- 1 drop lemongrass
- 1 drop celery seed
Add the oils to your diffuser at least an hour before bedtime and diffuse in your bedroom. Allowing your room to fill with the scent of this blend before bed means that by the time you lay yourself down, your room will be a scented sanctuary that will help you drift off to sleep.
Best Essential Oil Bath Blend For Painful, Achy Joints
- 5 drops Roman chamomile
- 5 drops lavender
- 3 drops lemongrass
- 2 tablespoons milk
Mix essential oils with the milk and add to a running bath. Soak for 20-30 minutes and inhale the sedative effects of all three oils, while your aching knees soak up the anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving aspects. You’ll be pain free and drifting off to sleep in no time.
Best Essential Pain Salve For Arthritis
- 4 drops lavender
- 1 drop wintergreen
- 1 drop birch
- 2 drops blue cypress
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons shea butter
- 2 tablespoons beeswax pastilles
Place the coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax in a heatproof glass jar. Place the jar in a pot of water over low heat and stir periodically until melted, which may take 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat, add essential oils and stir well. Pour into a 4 ounce mason jar to store. Let cool until firm. Apply as necessary to reduce knee pain.
- Essential oils reduce pain through both aromatic and topical application.
- Essential oils can help with every kind of knee pain symptoms, including inflammation, aching, arthritis, gout, joint pain, muscle pain, nerve pain, sprains, strains, and bruising.
- All suggested oils should be avoided during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Dilute all essential oils in a carrier oil before topical application. Lavender oil can be applied neat.