Using essential oils for muscle pain have a proven track record. Not just in alternative therapy circles, but also in science based research studies.
What a killer workout you had yesterday. Three sets each of deadlifts, squats and bench press. And even some uphill wind sprints. But today, your muscles are super sore.
What can you do to get rid of the soreness? Sure, you could take a NSAID (non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug) like ibuprofen or aspirin. However, if you want an all-natural remedy with low-risk of adverse effects, consider essential oils.
Essential oils for muscle pain might seem like a weak, ineffectual, quack-pseudoscience remedy. However, clinical research supports the use of essential oil (EO) for muscle pain all over the body. And not only muscle pain. In fact, essential oils can help manage nerve pain as well. (More on this below.)
Below, you won’t find just a list of the best essential oil for muscle pain. After all, any number of other web articles can regurgitate the same information. Rather, below is research from peer-review journals. So next time if someone you know expresses skepticism about essential oil for pain, direct them to this article. That’s because research definitively supports essential oils for muscle pain. Consequently, even the most ardent anti-alternative medicine skeptic might be more willing to give EOs for pain a try.
Essential oils for muscle pain: basic facts
If you need a quick, basic primer on essential oils, here goes….
Essential oils come from plants. Different parts of a plant are extracted for use in essential oils. This includes the seeds, roots, leaves, fruits and flowers. The plant parts go through a steam distillation process. Aromatherapy is a therapeutic use of essential oils. In aromatherapy, skin absorption or inhalation of the oils produces the therapeutic benefits.
Research on aromatherapy in pain management and treatment
Recent research looks at aromatherapy’s effectiveness for treating pain. This review analyzes research from 12 different studies. The results of the 12-study analysis? Can essential oils for muscle pain work? According to the researchers, yes. “There is a significant positive effect of aromatherapy in reducing pain.”
Moreover, the researchers conclude aromatherapy isn’t just effective for general pain. It’s also the most effective for treating pain after you get surgery. In addition, it’s also highly-effective for pain in a woman’s reproductive organs. As well as pain from childbirth.
Clearly, there are positive benefits to using essential oils for muscle pain. The findings of this study also claim essential oils enhance conventional pain treatment. In other words, hippie-dippy and western medicine make for a powerful pain-management duo.
But what is it about essential oil’s ability to mitigate pain? Is it the act of rubbing an essential oil diluted with a carrier oil on the skin? (You can’t rub a pure oil right on your skin without a carrier oil, e.g. almond, coconut; it’s too concentrated). Actually, essential oils for muscle pain management is as simple as taking a whiff.
There’s research that shows inhaling essential oils leads to pain relief. What’s more amazing is that the reduction in pain is immediate. So next time you accidentally whack your shin bone against the dinner table, reach for a bottle of essential oils. Who knows? Maybe the fact that you’re smelling anything takes your mind off the pain? Maybe, even inhaling a powerful-smelling cheese would get your mind off the pain? Nonetheless, it’s comforting to know inhalation of essential oil for muscle pain works.
Also, when you take a whiff of essential oil for pain, your pulse lowers. So, too, does your blood pressure. In addition, essential oils calm the brain.
Essential oils for muscle pain in the shoulder
This study examines if a combination of aromatherapy and acupressure works for shoulder pain. Specifically, shoulder pain for recovering stroke patients. These stroke sufferers show some level of paralysis in the shoulder. Acupressure was deemed very effective for improving mobility of the shoulder. However, the combination of essential oil inhalation and acupressure was even more effective.
Essential oils for lower back pain
Got pain in your lower back? You’re clearly not alone. According to statistics, at any given time, nearly 85% of people in the U.S. will have low back pain. And for about a quarter of the population, that lower back pain is chronic. Chronic low back pain costs the U.S. economy nearly $100 million per year.
Most people with chronic lower back pain use NSAIDs. However, there are a couple major concerns with over-the-counter medicine. According to this research, mainstream pain pills double the risk of heart failure. They also increase the risk of upper GI complications. And that’s not all. The researchers say NSAIDS such as ibuprofen and aspirin “offer only limited benefits for the treatment of low back pain.”
In fact, a review of several studies show extremely minimal benefit. Patients with acute low back pain show short-term improvement of only 8 points. No, that’s not on a scale of 1-10. But rather, on a 0-100 scale.
In comparison, two herbal remedies were studied. The first is cayenne. And the second remedy combines wintergreen essential oil with peppermint oil. It appears that capsaicin is one of the best essential oils for muscle pain. Research says that it’s a powerful local stimulant. However, it can also dull pain very effectively (source). Some clinical practices use capsaicin (aka cayenne) specifically for pain in the lower back. And this study suggests the use of topical capsaicin produces statistically significant reductions in pain.
Best essential oil for muscle pain
As for the wintergreen-peppermint combo, here’s what the research says. Wintergreen is also one of the best essential oils for muscle pain. That’s because wintergreen oil contains pain-relieving compounds. In fact, the main component in wintergreen is very much like aspirin, chemically-speaking. But the research says that the combination of wintergreen and peppermint oil is better for pain relief.
The two oils help activate the pain-relief compounds of each other. In other words, these two best essential oils for muscle pain enhance one another’s benefits. Consequently, you can use a lower dose of each oil. This will help minimize the risk of any potential side effects.
Essential oils for elderly pain management
Senior citizens often suffer from chronic pain. This study suggests that aromatherapy can even help the elderly with chronic muscle pain. The study used aromatherapy hand massage for chronic pain. Lavender essential oil was used for the massage. The result? The group treated with lavender oil shows a “marked difference in pain and overall well-being.”
Essential oils for neck pain
Lavender again appears to be a best essential oil for muscle pain. This study has two groups. In one, subjects receive acupressure point electric stimulation. Another group receives acupressure shock treatment but with aromatherapy. A group receiving conventional treatment (NSAID) also rounds out the study. The results: after eight treatments of the lavender essential oil and acupressure combo, the group reported better range of motion. In addition, there was also less stiffness and stress. Moreover, there was less pain a month after treatment. The research concludes, ‘These results indicate that aromatherapy is a viable option for a complementary treatment….”
Essential oils for nerve pain
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a serious neurological disorder. Over time, it damages the central nervous system. It causes widespread inflammation in the body. One symptom of MS is nerve pain. In fact, about three of every four people with MS have chronic pain. MS is not easy to treat. Especially with conventional over-the-counter drugs.
However, this study shows MS patients can manage nerve pain with aromatherapy. At the end of the study, nearly 90% of the patients said aromatherapy was helpful. There were other benefits besides pain management. The participants felt more relaxed. Over half the subjects also reported sleeping better. One other advantage of essential oils for muscle pain. Some of the participants were able to reduce their pain medications.
Essential oils for muscle knots
If you have trigger points that won’t relax, once again, lavender comes to the rescue. Muscle knots often occur at trigger points. Some essential oils increase blood flow. Ginger is one example. But for muscle knots, you want the muscle to relax first. And lavender seems to help muscle fibers relax.
You can tell when a muscle knot relaxes. It’s not as tight anymore. The muscle fiber no longer feels like brick. Once your muscle knot is looser, then you can use other oils like ginger. Eucalyptus and rosemary may also relieve muscle knots.
Other best essential oils for muscle pain
There are nearly 100 essential oils you can buy online. Several other essential oils not above can also help relieve muscle pain. Arnica is but one example of many. It’s a popular natural muscle relaxer. You can even find arnica creams and lotions in most drug stores these days.
Want more research on essential oils for muscle pain? Want to see studies on specific types of pain? Then click here. And pass it on to natural pain-relief skeptics.