a couple of years ago

Which Essential Oils Are Good For Lower Back Pain?

Essential oils have been shown to be a big help for people with lower back pain but which ones are best for relieving your pain? Find out here.

Which essential oils are good for lower back pain?

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When you suffer from persistent lower back pain you need to attack it from a number of different angles to be able to get rid of it.

This includes staying active and stretching regularly, learning to relax to release stress and tension, maintaining a positive attitude, making sure you're sleeping well, and improving your posture.

However, another method you should consider adding to your armory is the use of essential oils.

As studies have shown that using essential oils can be an effective natural remedy for getting rid of pain.

There are a couple of methods for getting this pain relief.

Firstly you could go the aromatherapy route by adding a few drops of essential oil to a diffuser which will fill the room with soothing and healing aromas.

And this is great as the aromas from certain essential oils are ideal for calming your nervous system, which will help to relieve pain and inflammation while also soothing muscle tension.

Alternatively you could go the more direct route of diluting the essential oil with a carrier oil and applying them topically to the skin at your area of pain.

This will allow the oil to absorb and penetrate into your aching muscles while also having a cooling or warming effect on the skin depending on which oil you use.

And whichever way you choose to do it, using essential oils will also benefit you in other areas that contribute to keeping your back fit and healthy such as:

  • Reducing your stress and anxiety levels meaning you can release any tension that is held within the body.
  • Helping you to sleep better which allows your tired and sore muscles to rest, repair, heal, and regenerate.
  • Improving your circulation which means the muscles in your back will get the blood, oxygen and nutrients they need to heal and stay healthy.

So you've got plenty of good reasons for giving essential oils a try.

But what can be confusing for a beginner is deciding which ones to use among the vast variety of options.

So let me walk you through the best essential oils for back pain and show you what they bring to the party.

Best Soothing Essential Oils To Use In A Diffuser

Best soothing essential oils to use in a diffuser

If you want to go the aromatherapy route then you'll need a good quality diffuser for your essential oils.

And my recommendation for a decent one would be the Innogear Diffuser which you can check out on Amazon by clicking the link.

So once you have your diffuser you need to fill it to the line indicated with room temperature water then add a few drops of your preferred essential oil.

You then replace the lid, turn it on and it'll pump out delightful scents that fill the room for 20-30 minutes.

This is a great way to relax as the gentle aromas work to calm and soothe both the body and the mind.

And as well as calming you, breathing in the aromas can also refresh, invigorate and energise you too, improving your mood and sense of well-being in the process.

Plus they encourage the release of seratonin and endorphins which are the body's feel good chemicals and natural painkillers.

You can also add a few drops into a diffuser before bed so you can inhale the vapors as you sleep, which is great if you are struggling with insomnia.

So, if you want to relieve the stress and anxiety that can cause back pain and inflammation, breathing in the aromas of essential oils from a diffuser is a good way to go.

And the following essential oils all work well for this purpose.

Lavender Oil

Lavender essential oil is a great all-rounder that has many beneficial qualities.

It contains a mild sedative and has been found to be great for calming your nervous system, reducing stress and anxiety, and improving mood.

And these qualities makes it the ideal essential oil to help you to sleep better, with many bedrooms being infused with lavender to combat insomnia.

In fact, you can even buy lavender infused memory foam mattress toppers and pillows nowadays!

And while lower stress and better sleep quality are both great for relieving back pain.

The anti-inflammatory properties in lavender mean it's also great for treating muscle stress and tension.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil has an extremely soothing and refreshing scent that works great in a diffuser.

This oil also contains an analgesic which helps you to sleep and is great for relieving migraines and headaches.

So it's a good choice to help you to relax and it contains anti-spasmodic properties which also help to ease muscle aches and spasms.

Plus you can also apply it topically to get the cooling benefits of the menthol which work to numb and sooth aching muscles and joints.

So peppermint is great for relaxing the muscles in the lower back and reducing muscle pain.

Helichrysum Oil

Helichrysum oil is extracted from a plant in the sunflower family and is a great oil for relieving pain.

This is because it contains antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties.

And these all work together to improve the condition of your blood vessels, which increases circulation and reduces swelling in your joints and muscle pain.

This makes it a great choice for people with fibromyalgia or arthritis, as it's a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. 

And it's great for anyone that suffers from muscle knots as it reduces pain, inflammation and bruising while also repairing damaged nerves.

You can also apply this oil topically once diluted if you want more intense and targeted pain relief.

Frankincense Oil

The 3 wise men must have been expert gift givers because frankincense oil has been found to be great for relieving and blocking muscle and joint pain.

It's so good at this because of its potent anti-inflammatory properties which help to regulate inflammation.

And it's also a sedative so it can ease any tension you are holding within your body, helping you to relax and sleep better.

Plus it gives off a really soothing and pleasant aroma which makes it ideal to use in a diffuser.

So this one is a great choice for people with chronic pain and you can also apply it topically once diluted if you wish.

Chamomile Oil

Chamomile oil is another great choice for people with chronic pain as it contains both analgesic and anti-inflammatory qualities.

The analgesic qualities make it an extremely soothing and calming scent which is great for lowering stress and anxiety levels.

And these effects are so strong that it has even been found to be effective as a natural antidepressant.

Which is all great news for your back, as the more relaxed and at peace you are the less tension you'll hold within your body.

And chamomile oil can also be diluted and used topically to soothe muscle and joint pain.

Now there are two types of chamomile essential oil you can get.

The first is roman chamomile which is better to use in a diffuser as it's more calming and German chamomile which is better for topical application as it's a stronger anti-inflammatory.

Best Pain Relieving Essential Oils To Apply Topically

Best pain relieving essential oils to use topically

When you apply the essential oils directly to your skin rather than breathing in the aromas via a diffuser you can get much more targeted relief from the pain.

So this is a great thing to do for anyone with localised joint or muscle pain.

As the oils penetrate the skin and absorb directly into your aching muscles, where their anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic qualities can get to work on your pain and inflammation.

And the warming or cooling effect they have on the nerve receptors of the skin can also bring comfort and relief from pain.

As this blocks pain signals from reaching the brain and therefore lessens it's effect and power over you.

However, while this is all great news you need to be aware that essential oils are extremely concentrated and potent.

And if applied to the skin directly from the bottle can cause skin irritations such as rashes, blisters and even burns.

So you need to dilute the essential oil of your choice with the appropriate carrier oil first.

These carrier oils depend on which essential oil you use but include coconut oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, sesame oil and castor oil among others.

This can be between 4-10 drops of essential oil to a tablespoon (15ml) of carrier oil (depending on your age and tolerance).

But before applying this mix to a large area of skin try a small test patch on your forearm first and wait for 24 hours to make sure you don't get any adverse reactions from it.

Then you're good to go.

And the following essential oils are all great for relieving pain and inflammation when diluted and applied topically.

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil is high in antioxidants including Carnosol which has been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory properties.

These antioxidants work to remove toxins from the body that may be causing blockages, pain and inflammation.

Rosemary oil also contains antispasmodic properties that make it great for relieving cramps and muscle and joint pain.

So it's a great oil for topical pain relief and it's analgesic qualities mean it's effective for people with chronic pain and arthritis.

Copaiba Oil

Copaiba oil has it's roots in Brazil and contains a cannaboid called beta-caryphylenne which is super effective for reducing pain and inflammation.

This gives it similar effects to the new range of CBD oils that have become popular for pain relief.

Which makes it a great oil to apply topically for people with chronic pain or just flare ups of muscle pain.

As its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties soothe and calm muscle pain and tension.

While the beta-caryphylenne also encourages the release of endorphins which are the body's natural painkiller.

A double whammy against pain!

Clary Sage Oil

Clary sage oil contains potent antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties that help to calm and soothe the mind and body.

So it's great for relieving muscle cramps, aches and spasms as well as reducing inflammation.

And it will also help you to relax and release any tension you're holding within.

Also clary sage oil is an especially good choice to use topically as it's soothing on the skin.

However, you need to dilute it well and use it sparingly as it's really strong!

Sweet Marjoram Oil

Sweet marjoram oil has been found to be a great choice for people with chronic pain as it gives a warming sensation when applied topically that is both soothing and relieving.

And this can help your muscles and joints to release and relax, easing pain and tension.

It's also a brilliant anti-inflammatory oil which can reduce inflammation and discomfort quickly.

And it has antispasmodic and analgesic properties too meaning it can work as a sedative that can relieve muscle pain and joint stiffness.

So it's a good choice of oil for anyone with chronic pain or osteoarthritis.

Ginger Oil

Ginger oil is another one that has great anti-inflammatory properties as it contains zingibain.

And this means it's effective in relieving pain and reducing swelling, making it a great choice for people with chronic pain or rheumatoid arthritis.

It also contains small amounts of analgesic properties which helps to numb and soothe your back and nerve pain.

So the warming effect of the diluted ginger oil on your skin can help to relax and comfort your sore and aching muscles.

But the main bang for your buck here is the reduction in inflammation it can bring.

Wintergreen Oil

Wintergreen oil contains methyl salicylate which gives it similar pain-relieving effects as aspirin.

So by applying this oil to your skin once diluted the methyl salicylate can penetrate into your sore and tight muscles and medicate and desensitise any irritated nerves.

Which will help to cool, numb and soothe you, giving you relief from the pain.

This makes it a great choice for quick relief from muscle and joint pain and it also contains anti-inflammatory properties too.

Black Pepper Oil

Black pepper oil has a warming effect on your muscles which helps to relieve pain and improve circulation.

It also contains beta-caryphylenne which is great for reducing both pain and inflammation. 

Plus its analgesic properties have been shown to improve pain tolerance and reduce overall pain levels in people with chronic pain.

So it's a good oil if you want to get an instant warming hit of pain relief.

Cayenne Pepper Oil


The last oil I'm including here is cayenne pepper oil.

And if you're familiar with Mexican food you'll know that this one brings the heat!

As it contains capsaicin which is the active ingredient in red hot chilli peppers.

And this heat on your skin reduces your pain by blocking the skins nerve receptors from transmitting pain signals to the brain.

However, make sure you dilute this oil well and use sparingly as the heat may be uncomfortable for some people.

Essential Oil Blends For Chronic Pain

It can be a good idea to mix a few different types of essential oils together so you can get the full range of benefits.

For instance you can take one like lavender which is soothing and calming and add in rosemary that has more anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

This way you can create the ultimate essential oils recipe for back pain that will have you calm, relaxed and pain-free in no time.

Now you could try experimenting with these mixes on your own or you could search online for some home made recipes to copy like these ones.

You can also buy ready made pain relieving blends from most of the big essential oil companies.

You Can Also Use Essential Oils At Bath Time

You can use essential oils in the bath

Adding 10-15 drops of essential oil diluted with the appropriate carrier oil into a warm bath is a great thing to do for anyone with muscle pain.

As not only will you get the benefit of the soothing and calming aromas as you soak.

The heat of the bath water will also help to relax and release your tight muscles at the same time.

And bathing is also good for increasing your circulation and reducing any stress and anxiety too.

So try adding a few drops the next time you take a bath and see if you notice the difference.

Now you need to dilute the essential oil with the appropriate carrier oil first rather than adding it directly into the bath water. 

And be careful as not all essential oils are suitable to use in the bath as some may cause irritation to your skin and eyes.

However, the following are all safe and work well in the bath as they have aromas that are really relaxing and soothing.

  • Rosemary.
  • Roman Chamomile.
  • Frankincense.
  • Lavender.
  • Marjoram.
  • Citrus oils such as orange, lime, and grapefruit.

And if you want an alternative to essential oils at bath time then try adding some epsom salts to the water instead.

As these contain magnesium sulfate which is a natural remedy for your aches and pains, working wonders on your back pain.

And they will also detoxify your skin, helping to flush away any toxins that may be causing you problems.

Using epsom salts is also a good idea even with essential oils as they help them to dissolve in the bath and absorb with the water.

Things To Be Careful With When Using Essential Oils

While the benefits of using essential oils can be great, you will only see these benefits if you use them correctly.

Because these oils are extremely concentrated and potent and can be dangerous when used in the wrong way.

So here are a few of the things to look out for to keep yourself safe.

  • Always make sure the essential oils you buy are 100% pure and only buy from trusted companies.
  • Don't apply essential oils directly to your skin, always dilute them with the appropriate carrier oil first and get the concentration ratio right (about 2-5%).
  • Certain essential oils (especially citrus-based ones) can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so be wary of using these if you live in a warm climate.
  • Don't take essential oils internally. Although some people advocate this it can be extremely dangerous and damaging for your organs.
  • Certain oils may not be suitable to use in the diffuser if you have pets at home, as the aromas can irritate their system.
  • Don't use essential oils for too long in the diffuser. Over exposure can have bad effects as the oils are potent so only do it for 20-30 minutes at a time and take regular breaks.
  • Be careful which essential oils you use when pregnant as some should be avoided during this time.
  • Also check with your doctor before using essential oils if you are already taking medication as some can cause a conflict and reaction.

For more information check out the safety advice from the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy by clicking here.

Rounding Up

While essential oils may not be everyone's cup of tea they can help to relieve joint and muscle pain, inflammation, and tightness.

And they are great at soothing and relaxing you.

Which can can help you to sleep better, get rid of migraines and headaches, improve your mood and enhance your concentration, alertness, and memory.

So they are worth a try if you are curious.

As they can be a great weapon to have in your arsenal when fighting back against chronic lower back pain.

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I'm a psychology graduate and a veteran of 5 spinal surgeries. I want to help people learn how to fight back against persistent back pain just like I have.

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