In today’s world when we have medicine for everything, the negatives of side effects cannot be ignored. In fact, recent researches have shown that many popular drugs which were considered as life savers have more side effects than they have benefits. All this have led us to rethink our medical structure and switch to more effective and efficient forms of medicine like Ayurveda and homoeopathy. While people initially resist the use of these medical options, once they use them, they rarely go back to the western medicine. Similar is the case if you look at the medications used for muscle pain. A lot of people who know medicine have been lately stressing a lot on the use of traditional and ancient medicine techniques of using essential oils to get rid of muscle pain. In the following article, we will look at everything that is there to know about sore muscles and inflammations and using essential oils for muscle pain.
1. What Are the Types and Causes of Muscle Pain?
Muscle pain is common. Everyone goes through it at least once in their life. Also, since your full body is made up of muscles, you can experience it practically in any part of your body. Depending upon the muscle that is paining, the cause of pain and the level of severity, muscle pain can be defined into various categories. Below are the types of muscle pain that a human body can face:
1.1) Back Pain
The muscles in the back are rather flexible because they have to assist with the movement, and when I say movement, I mean a lot of movement. You need strong back muscles to walk straight, to run, to dance, exercise, play soccer, and even to sit straight while working for hours on your laptop. Since the muscles are so much used, over time they can develop stress and strain which eventually causes muscle pain. There are also other reasons that can trigger a muscle pain in the back like accidents and sports injuries.
1.2) Neck and Shoulder Pain
The slightest pain in your muscles like back and arms can trigger an overwhelming amount of pain in your neck and shoulder. Also, stress in your head and tension can cause pain in neck and shoulder.
Apart from these, people who sit for long hours at a stretch eventually develop a chronic neck and shoulder pain and in worst cases, extreme stiffness which can last for years.
1.3) Chronic Muscle Pain
This kind of pain is usually because of using your muscles wrongly. Sports injuries and following the wrong routine at the gym are the primary culprits that lead to this painful situation. You will be surprised to know that not only over-using the muscle can cause chronic muscle pain, under-using the muscle, can also lead to this condition.
1.4) Sciatica Pain
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve of the human body and the one with the largest diameter. It comes from several nerve branches at the level of the vertebral column.
A sciatica is a pain felt at the level of the leg along the path of the sciatic nerve. As the innervation of the sciatic nerve almost completely affects the area from the buttocks to the toes, when a sciatica is established in a person, the pain follows the same path as the nerve.
Sciatica affects millions of people around the world. Pains occur most often as a result of physical activity after a long period of inactivity. We will cover this subject in a future article.
1.5) Other Muscle Pain
The kinds of muscle pains listed above are the most common conditions that people face. However, as already stated, we have muscles in our full body, we can have pain in any part of the body. The cause of muscle pain other than mentioned above usually occur due to muscle sprains, strains and accidents that can vary from minor to as severe as life threatening.
1.6) Special Causes of Muscle Pain
Certain medicines produce muscle pain as a side effect. Drugs like ACE inhibitors which are used to lower blood pressure and statins that assist in controlling cholesterol, for example, can lead to muscle pain.
Also, there are many diseases whose symptom include muscle pain. The major diseases being: flu, Lyme disease, malaria, Muscle Abscess, Polio, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Trichinosis (roundworm) and so on.
Dermatomyositis and Fibromyalgia are special medical conditions that directly affect the muscles. These diseases lead to redness, rashes and inflammation of the skin which eventually weakens the muscles and produces a lot of discomforts.
Other causes are found at this link.
2. Best Essential Oils For Muscle Pain
You would be surprised to know that using essential oils as a remedy to treat muscle pain has been around since the ancient times. The evidence for the same can be found in Ayurveda (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayurveda ), the study of medicine which originated in Indian sub-continent during the ancient period. As per the theory of Ayurveda, these oils which are composed of various ‘good’ things have the capability of healing the muscle pain from the root. Unlike modern medicine which suppresses the causes of pain, essential oils for muscle pain eradicate the disease from the body of the patient. Below is an explanation of how certain oils can benefit you:
2.1) Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Extracted from the bark and leaves of the eucalyptus tree, this oil is pungent smelling and of warming character. It is the anti-inflammatory of the sportsman, it can be used by everyone and without contraindication.
The virtues and benefits of this essential oil make it one of the best essential oils for muscle pain; It is an excellent antispasmodic, a powerful anti-inflammatory, and an effective analgesic. In addition, it is a good fungicide (treat fungi of the skin), an efficient hypotensive and a good repellent for mosquitoes.
The anti-inflammatory and spasmodic powers of the Lemon Eucalyptus oil help to treat rheumatism, neuralgia, pain of sciatica and lamb, sprains, torticollis, and muscle cramps. In addition, Lemon Eucalyptus is remarkably effective on all inflammatory joint diseases (arthritis, periarthritis, shingles, tendonitis, etc.). It is a must-have at home in the collection of essential oils for muscle pain.
The Eucalyptus essential oil is very strong in nature, and hence it needs to be diluted before it is applied. However, when it comes to treating insect or bug bites, it is usually advisable to apply the oil without diluting.
2.2) Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint is one of the best essential oils for muscle pain thanks to its excellent antispasmodic characteristics. Peppermint essential oil is derived from the natural hybrids of spearmint and water mint. Apart from relieving the stress and sprain in muscles, it is an excellent remedy for nausea, indigestions and stomachache. Peppermint essential oil is also useful in conditions like headaches due to tension and fibromyalgia.
Peppermint is known to be an excellent anti-inflammatory because it contains up to 60% of menthol; This substance is widely used in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products used in massage against muscular pain because it prevents the body from making pro-inflammatory substances. It has refreshing virtues and causes an immediate “cold effect”. In addition, it stimulates joints by its tonic effect. Moreover, peppermint essential oil has an anesthetic and analgesic actions; When used in a massage it will allow the pain to disappear rapidly.
2.3) Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is considered to be one of the best essential oils because of its soothing and relaxing fragrance. It has been proven that the lavender oil has a little sedative and anesthetic characteristics and antispasmodic properties which make it an excellent remedy for severe painful conditions. In addition, in the course of several scientific studies, lavender, often combined with other essential oils (massage, diffusion or inhalation), has relieved patients suffering from various pains like shoulder pain following a vascular accident, pain related to cancer in final phase, pain after caesarean, etc.
Lavender also carries anti-inflammatory properties and hypotensive effects, which when added to those plants or supplements that have similar effects, would have an extraordinary effect on pain.
2.4) Rosemary Essential Oil
The biological name of the plant from which this oil is extracted is Rosmarinus officinalis, which also happens to be the herb that chefs simply love to use.
Rosemary essential oil has antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-infectious, fungicides, and analgesics virtues and also a powerful astringent and expectorant. It is also anti-inflammatory, digestive, aid-respiratory and mucolytic.
These virtues have made this essential oil a real cure for several complaints and also an excellent muscle relaxant. The essential oil of Rosemary acts on muscle to soothe muscle aches and also relieve muscles after exercise. It is also used to relax joints pain. In addition, it contracts the muscle to give a new elasticity to the distended tissues. It also tones the veins and the arteries and possesses a neuromuscular and cardiotonic action.
Moreover, it is a memory enhancer and is also known to stimulate appetite, and can be used to get relief from headaches.
2.5) Juniper Essential Oil
The Juniper essential oil has the following therapeutic properties:
- anti-pain, analgesic,
- promotes blood circulation and has having a toning action on the veins (phlebotonic),
- treats varicose veins,
- diuretic (increases the production of urine),
It is generally used in massage diluted with vegetable oil.
2.6) Wintergreen Essential Oil
Wintergreen oil comes from a North American region where an evergreen shrub gaultheria procumbens is found in abundance. This oil is well known to the North American tribal medicine fraternity and it is extremely popular with the people suffering from rheumatism, arthritis, gout and joint pain.
The oil has many therapeutic properties that make it a good pain relief; it is analgesic, antirheumatic, antiarthritic, antispasmodic and antiseptic. Apart from treating the muscle pain, Wintergreen oil is also used to treat health conditions pertaining to stomach and can also be used to treat pain due to nerves related condition. Consumption of this oil is usually recommended after dilution.
2.7) Helichrysum Essential Oil
This essential oil is synthesized from a plant that goes by the name of Helichrysum italicum. Helichrysum oil is known to be an excellent anti-hematoma and a powerful anticoagulant. In addition, with its antispasmodic and analgesic properties this oil is used for quickly absorbing bumps or edema, and helps healing all types of muscle pain like joints, tendons and ligaments, back and neck pain, and traumatic injuries such as bruises, sprains and strains; an application of this oil on a wound eradicates the pain quickly, clears the bruises on the skin overnight, firm the tissues and accelerates the healing process. Moreover, it has a wonderful action in in disorders of the blood circulation (rosacea), and also facilitates the healing of sunburns.
Compared with some other essential oils for muscle pain, this oil is considered to be very safe, non-toxic and has no addiction risk.
2.8) Ginger Essential Oil
Being a digestive aid, Ginger helps in treating a lot of medical conditions related to stomach. It can also be used to treat pains due to arthritis, lupus, etc.
In 2010, an interesting American study was conducted on 74 patients with a moderate injury to the elbow flexor muscle induced in the laboratory. Each one received, for 11 days, a supplement of Ginger at the rate of 2 grams per day, or a placebo.
According to the results, Ginger supplement has reduced inflammatory pain by about 25% compared to placebo. Based on similar trials, the researchers noted that with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, the effect of Ginger would be greater than that attributed to aspirin or ibuprofen and when mixed with other essential oils for muscle pain results are better.
The best thing about using ginger oil to treat pains is the fact that its long-term usage has no side effects of any kind.
2.9) Clove Essential Oil
Coming from the tropical region of the world, Cloves are highly spicy and pungent in nature. They even cause a burning sensation when applied on the skin.
Clove essential oil has the following therapeutic properties:
- powerful broad spectrum antibacterial,
- antiviral and antibacterial,
- immune stimulant,
Due to these properties, Clove essential oil can be used in many ways to relive several complaints such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatism, bloating, infectious diarrhea, dental pain and infection, muscle pain, fatigue, intestinal fermentation, flu, colds, etc.
2.10) Marjoram Essential Oil
Marjoram is an aromatic, edible oil which is made from a herb named sweet marjoram which happens to be closely related to oregano. Marjoram oil is often used to treat muscle aches, joints, sprains, cramps, muscle contractures and back pain, and when diluted and applied on the skin, it is an excellent muscular spasm reliever. It is also used to treat several types of rheumatism and neuralgia such as osteoarthritis, lumbago, sciatica. For better synergy, it is recommended to mix this oil with other essential oils for muscle pain. Marjoram has the following properties:
- powerful fungicide,
- powerful antibacterial,
- percutaneous analgesic,
It also has respiratory and digestive virtues because it is a good stomach and renal stimulant, and can relieve abdominal pain related to stomach upset. It is also often used against headaches related to tensions or migraines.
2.11) Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary Sage is a herb which is good for the eyes and is a super sweet painkiller. It has anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties and can help relieve back pain, muscle stiffness and cramps.
The most important application of Clary Sage oil is related to the pain caused due to menstruation and menopause. It is also a good remedy for stress related headaches and can even reduce stomachaches. However, the oil should never be consumed internally and always handled cautiously.
2.12) Spruce Essential Oil
Spruce essential oil is derived from needle-like blue and green leaves of the Spruce tree. This oil is very solicited to treat joint inflammations and to soothe the muscular pains. It has anti-parasitic and antibacterial properties. It helps to treat certain skin conditions, such as boils, burns, skin inflammation, sores, wounds, fungal infections, eczema, acne and cutaneous mycoses.
In addition, it has the following properties:
- re-oxygenating muscle tissue for athletes,
- powerful analgesic,
It is applied in massage to calm the pain of muscles and joints, to fight fatigue, nervousness and stress. It is also one of the common oils in the soap and disinfectants.
2.13) Cypress Essential Oil
This essential oil is popular for its pain reducing properties mainly in the case of spasm and fatigue. It is also advisable to people who indulge in a lot of physical activity at work. It relieves the stress in the muscles by penetrating the skin and mixing with the blood almost instantaneously. Due to this property, Cypress essential oil provides immediate relief on application.
2.14) Sandalwood Essential Oil
Sandalwood is an expensive affair because it can only be made from the wood of the tree which is at least 50 years old. In case where the tree is not this old, the quality of oil is not as good as it should be for the purpose of treating muscle pain. It carries an anti-inflammatory effect when applied on the affected muscles. Apart from the normal pain, it can be used to treat skeletal and neurological pain in particular if added with other essential oils.
3. How to Use Essential Oils for Muscle Pain?
Broadly classifying, there are three ways to consume or use essential oils for muscle pain. While all three forms are pretty straightforward, using the right one is the key to the efficient use of an essential oil or a mixture of essential oils for muscle pain.
3.1) Bath Soak
This method includes putting a few drops of essential oil in a tub filled with water and then having a good soaking bath in it. This will allow the oil to reach every corner and curve of your skin and provide relief rapidly.
3.2) Massage Oil
The second method and one of the most effective ones is through massage oils. It includes mixing the essential oil in a carrier and then using it to massage the affected parts of the body. You may even go for a full body massage if you wish to feel refreshed.
3.3) Hot or Cold Compress
Depending on the affected area and kind of injury you can also go for a hot or cold compress. The idea here is to make the hot or cold compress as you usually do and then add a few drops of essential oils to it. A hot compress is generally used to treat old injuries and muscle sprains while a cold compress is useful in healing a recent sprain or bruises and swelling.
4. Best Recipes for Muscle Pain + Application Methods
Following, you will find the best and most effective mixtures of essential oils for muscle pain relief.
5. Powerful Essential Oil Blends for Muscle Pain
If for some reason you cannot make your own recipe of essential oils for muscle pain relief, you can therefore procure one of the ready blends available in the market. It should be noted that all these commercial blends are not miraculous cures but they really contribute to shooting muscle pain. We have shortlisted three tested blends of essential oils for muscle pain which will provide long lasting relief, quickly.
5.1) Deep Muscle Relief – 100% Pure, by Healing Solution
5.2) Muscle Relief Synergy Blend Essential Oil by Edens Garden
5.3) Muscle Relief Essential Oil Blend By Prime Natural
Finally, there is nothing better than essential oils for muscle pain. They are available easily and do the work perfectly. That being said, you need to find the blend that works for you. You could also try other natural remedies or homoeopathy approach to muscle pain, but then you will not get a chance to have a stress relieving essential oil bath. Other approaches will be explained in a future article.
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