Pain is an unavoidable facet of life. It gets in our way of living and hampers our daily routine. We rely on over the counter painkillers as a mean for quick relief. But are these pain killing tablets really safe to use? Well, NO! A better alternative is turning to natural remedies in the form of essential oils. Read on to know about essential oils for pain relief.
Over the counter painkillers can have side effects that can worsen your health in the long run. In comparison, essential oils can help in managing pain without having any side effects. The analgesic properties of these oils make them effective pain relievers. Essential oils are potent enough to help with chronic pain as they penetrate cells quicker and provide relief to inflamed joints. Especially in cases of chronic pain like arthritis and sciatica, essential oils can provide immense benefit.
In the article, we will discuss the following topics:
- Why do We Need to Manage Pain?
- Consequences of Excessive Pain
- Factors Affecting Pain
- Essential Oils Good for Pain?
- Things to Avoid
Why do We Need to Manage Pain?
Pain essentially protects us as we are forced to halt and rest. However, uncontrollable pain can have a damaging effect on our life and disrupt healthy living. Excessive pain can result in the following:
- Delay the process of healing
- Disrupt sleep
- Increase amount of stress
- Cause anxiety and depression
When pain is managed in-adequately, it can lead to adverse physiological as well as psychological outcomes for the patient.
Consequences of Excessive Pain
Being in pain is uncomfortable for most of us. But some people face constant, excessive pain everyday. People suffering from arthritis, recurring migraine and sciatica are victims of pain that never fades or is recurring. This kind of pain can have deep effect on one’s life if it remains untreated.
- Depression: After a while constant pain can wear you down. In fact, it can drain your energy and suck up whatever motivation and strength you may have. Because of this, the victim limits social interaction and develops depression like symptoms.
- Fatigue: When a person is in constant pain, much of the body’s energy is drained out in enduring that pain and trying to work around it. All this results in the person feeling more fatigued.
- Brain Function is Affected: Various studies have shown that chronic pain affects a person’s brain function as well. The person’s spinal cord cells and section that processes emotions deteriorate quickly than normal which in turn affects mental health.
Factors Affecting Pain
Being able to feel pain is necessary to feel alive which is why we have thousands and thousands of pain receptors on our bodies. The experience of pain is affected by certain factors, mainly psychological.
- Attention: When we pay attention to pain, it intensifies.
- Expectation: When we encounter a specific source of pain at one time, it can affect our response to same kind of pain in future as well. It’s an expectation that often overrides actual pain, making it severe than it really is.
- Context: This makes a great difference to experience of pain. A rugby player will most likely ignore the injuries of an aggressive game. But, on the other hand, a regular person getting attacked in his living room will definitely have different sensations of pain.
- Emotions: Many a time, emotions like fear, anxiety, depression, or distress can intensify pain.
Essential Oils Pain Relief?
Aromatic and soothing, essential oils can work wonders for pain and inflammation in the body. Since centuries, essential oils with analgesic properties have been used to relieve senses and calm anxiety. Some of the essential oils with effective pain relieving properties are as follow.
1. Chamomile Oil
Chamomile essential oil has analgesic properties that soothe pain and inflammation in joints and muscles. Especially nerve pains like sciatica and slipped discs, stomach cramps, muscle spasm can benefit from this oil. Chamomile contains flavonoids which are said to have anti-inflammatory properties.
2. Lavender Oil
Known as one of the most popular and effective essential oil for pain relief, lavender oil can be your ‘go to’ remedy for reducing pain, stress and anxiety. It is widely used to treat migraines and tension headaches and for muscle pain as well. The anti-inflammatory and anti-analgesic properties help in pain relief.
3. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil is a potent pain reliever that helps in nerve related pains and pain caused by sinuses. It works great with headaches, muscle and joint pains too. Eucalyptus contains certain antioxidants and antibacterial compounds which are responsible for its anti inflammatory qualities.
4. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint essential oil contains antispasmodic properties which makes it a great natural remedy for arthritis and intestinal problems. Apart from relieving pain, peppermint oil is anti-inflammatory and kills fungal infections. With menthol as an important ingredient in its composition, it cools and refreshes to relax muscular pains and aches.
5. Frankincense Oil
Frankincense essential oil also has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that help in treating pain. Further, the oil’s relaxing properties help in easing muscle tension and reduces stress caused by pain.
6. Sweet Marjoram Oil
Sweet essential oil of Marjoram has sedative and anti-inflammatory properties to relieve various pains and aches. It can also be used to alleviate headaches, migraines, nerve pains and stomach cramps.
Essential oils are generally quite potent and hence it is advisable that you don’t use it directly on skin. Dilute it with a carrier oil and then apply it.
Using Essential Oils for Pain Relief?
There are quite a few essential oils that provide relief from pain and inflammation. You can use one or more essential oils as a powerful remedy to treat your pain.
- For pain relief, massage is the most effective way to use the benefits of essential oils. Using peppermint essential oil in massage will warm the muscles and ease the tension causing pain. Alternatively, you can use a blend of 4 drops of marjoram essential oil, 2 drops of peppermint essential oil, 2 drops of sandalwood essential oil and 15ml base oil of sweet almond oil in a diffuser.
- For strained muscles, gently massage the mix of 2 drops of lavender essential oil, 2 drops of rosemary essential oil and 4 teaspoons of base oil of sweet almond to get relief.
- For treating menstrual cramps, essential oils can be very effective. Prepare a mix of 15 drops of peppermint essential oil, 5 drops of lavender essential oil, 10 drops of cypress essential oil and 1 tablespoon of any carrier oil (almond/coconut/olive). Gently apply the following blend on the abdomen in circular motions to get relief.
- In case of nerve pains, essential oils can effectively provide relief. Prepare a mix of 9 drops of lavender essential oil, 11 drops of helichrysum essential oil, 11 drops of marjoram essential oil, 15 drops of chamomile essential oil, and 100ml carrier oil. Use the blend throughout the day to experience best results. Let the mixture sit for 24 hours before start using and keep it away from direct sunlight.
A relaxing bath with sweet smelling essential oils is the perfect recipe for relaxation and rest. Add the following oils to a hot bath and relax! These oils and hot water will heat up the muscles and will allow them to de-stress. You will need:
- 4 drops of lavender essential oil, 4 drops of geranium essential oil and 2 drops of peppermint essential oil
A cold compress is also an effective way to relieve pain and reduce swelling and inflammation. This can be used when pain is caused due to injury like sprains or strains. You will need:
- 2 drops of peppermint essential oil, 500ml cold water and Few ice cubes
Dissolve all these things in a wide container. Take a clean soft towel and soak it in the oil-water mixture and apply on affected area. Cooling effects of peppermint and ice will provide relief from swelling and pain.
What to Avoid?
Always conduct a patch test when you use a new essential oil to make sure you’re not allergic. Further, take care to dilute the essential oil with carrier oil, never apply them directly to the skin.
Avoid using essential oils on pregnant women and children unless directed by a certified aromatherapist or a medical practitioner.
If you are interested in know what essential oils for good for relieving from stress, please head over to the article here.