Essential Oils for Back Pain: Say Goooooodbye to “Ouch” Forever

Jul 24, 2020 | Hot Reads, Lavender Oil, Rosemary Oil

Written by Dr. Othman Alagha, MD
essential oils for back pain

“Ouch!” “Aiya!” I am sure these words are not unheard of. Yes! It’s your back pain, something that can turn your average day into a nightmare. Back pain is a common problem affecting nearly 80% of the population at some point of their lives. Studies even pointed out that it is one of the most common reasons for missed work and third most common reason for visits to the doctor. Back pain affects men and women of all ages, yes even you. It hinders you from walking, sitting and lying down unless you find a position that gives you some relief, hence making your life miserable. Some back pain is actually easier to mitigate while other pain can be crippling, so you really have to take it seriously! To relief back pain, many people might simply take over-the-counter pain medications or prescription drugs, however these often have negative side effects on your body.

Thankfully, there is an all-natural solution available that works best in healing your back pain: Essential Oils.

Essential oils are completely natural as they are extracted from the leaves, stems, roots, flowers or fruits of the plants.  They have long been used to alleviate back pain and studies also supported that some essential oils are indeed effective in improving ailments in the body including pain.

This article covers everything you need to know, from causes of back pain to the use of essential oils for back pain relief. Do check it out!


Your body is the only place you have to live, hence it is of paramount importance to take good care of it. Are you aware that you back is actually composed of a complex formation of ligaments, muscles, disks, tendons as well as bones? All these work hand in hand to support your body and enable you to move around in order to carry out various activities.

Damage and problems with any of these parts can lead to back pain. The following explains the most common causes of back pain among individuals.

1. Arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation, stiffness and swelling of the joints which can affect one or multiple joints. There are more than hundred different types of arthritis with different causes and treatment methods. Though arthritis is common among elderly, it can also develop in children, teenagers as well as younger adults.

Osteoarthritis is the most common and well-known type of arthritis, affecting 30 million people in the United States. It is caused by the damage of the cartilage in the facet joints. This leads to inflammation and pain in your neck and lower back.

2. Herniated Disc

Your spine is made up of a series of bones stacked onto each other and these bones are cushioned by discs. The discs protect the bones by absorbing the shocks from your daily activities like twisting and lifting. A herniated disc occurs when there is an injury to one of these cushions.

Herniated disc can occur in any part of your spine. Typically, most herniated disks occur in the lower back area. Common causes of herniated disc include lifting heavy object using  back muscles instead of your leg and thigh muscles or working in a physically demanding job. These may increase your risk for herniated discs.  

Symptoms of herniated disc depend on the location of the herniation. Generally, people who have a herniated disk often feel numbness, nerve pain, lower back pain while walking, standing or sitting. Other symptoms may include muscular weakness, tingling, paralysis and so on.

3. Poor Posture

Another root cause of back pain is poor posture. Posture is the way you hold your body while sitting, standing or performing any tasks and activities. It is a surprising fact that poor posture is dogging people of all ages. Common examples of poor posture include slouching with the shoulders hunched forward, carrying something heavy on one side of the body, sleeping with a pillow that doesn’t provide proper back support, etc.

Poor posture is a common health problem among many. When you have an incorrect or poor posture, the loads on your spine tend to disperse incorrectly and weakens the tissues in your lower back. This leads to back pain and other aggravating conditions.

4. Muscle Strains

Undoubtedly, muscle strains are one of the most common causes of back pain. It occurs when your muscle is torn or overstretched due to overuse or improper use of muscle. Muscle strains can happen in any muscle, but they are most common in your lower back, neck and shoulder. Symptoms of a strain include decreased function of your joints, severe pain, etc.

5. Sciatica

Sciatica is a condition characterized by pain going down the leg all the way from the lower back. It is caused by the irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, hence causing mild to intense lower back pain.

Sciatica is a painful condition that can make your everyday life miserable. Symptoms can include numbness, lower back pain, hip pain, muscle weakness that travels down the back of your thigh and into your foot. Typically, people affected with sciatica will experience symptoms on only one side of the body.


Back pain is a common reason for visits to the doctor, the pain can strike anyone at any time. Above mentioned are the most common causes of back pain among individuals. To improve the symptoms and seek relief from back pain, taking painkillers or over-the-counter medicines, staying active and doing specific exercises are generally the most helpful treatments. However, taking medications tend to have negative side effects, thereby decreasing your overall well-being.

Curious to know alternative remedies for pain relief without causing any major side effects? Well, essential oils maybe one natural way. Essential oils are very powerful, they are great for both acute and chronic pain. Applying essential oils can also help with both muscle tension and inflammation.

The following explains 5 best essential oils for back pain relief:

1. Lavender Essential Oil

One of the well-known and effective essential oils used for easing back pain is lavender essential oil. Lavender oil contains powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that are great for treating backaches. A research study was carried out in 2015 to examine the effects of lavender essential oil. The result showed that diluted lavender oil provided pain relief comparable to that of the prescription medication tramadol. Hence, this suggests that lavender could be used to treat and ease pain such as back pain.

2. Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oil is a refreshing and uplifting essential oil. It is another widely-used essential oil to ease back pain. Pure peppermint oil contains at least 44% pure menthol content which makes it great for relieving aches, muscle tension and back pain.

3. Ginger Essential Oil

Ginger essential oil has gained its popularity over the past few decades as a natural medicine because it contains a tremendous amount of gingerol which acts as a strong antioxidant and helps fight inflammation. This warming oil is perfect for tireness, sore muscles and painful back muscles. It is often used to relief most types of body pains such as lower back pain, neck pain, nerve pain, joint stiffness and so on.

4. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Another best essential oil for relieving back pain is definitely eucalyptus oil. This essential oil is generally used to treat pains, sprains, strains and muscle aches. Eucalyptus oil contains strong anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Moreover, it has strong analgesic effects, hence is one of the best choices for easing back pain.

5. Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary oil is another fantastic remedy for back pain, muscle pain, joint pain and headaches owing to its antispasmodic and analgesic properties. Rosemary oil further stimulates blood circulation, thereby making it one of the finest essential oils for back pain relief.


Though essential oils are made from plants, it is still of paramount importance to use them carefully.

Massaging diluted essential oil can help loosen up your muscles and ease pain. When used topically, it is always highly suggested to dilute your chosen oil with a carrier oil before applying directly to your skin as essential oils are highly concentrated. As such, this will help prevent skin irritation.

For deep inhalation, just dab a few droplets of your essential oil onto the pulse points of your wrist and inhale. You may re-apply throughout the day. An alternative way for inhalation is to fill a bowl with hot water and add a few drops of essential oil. Lean over the bowl, cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam for up to 10 minutes. Do note that for some people with asthma, inhaling essential oils may worsen their symptoms, therefore it’s always a great idea to first test your oil slowly in the beginning.

Well, taking a hot bath with essential oils is another good idea to relief back pain. Simply add say 4-6 drops of essential oil to an ounce of carrier oil. Then add the blend to your water tub and soak yourself in the hot bath for 20 minutes or more so that the essential oil can enter your body through your skin. You shall feel a sense of relief ultimately.


Applying essential oils on the back and the body should not cause any major side effects. However, if applied without proper dilution, skin rashes and irritation might occur. That’s why, it is always best to do patch testing beforehand.

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any underlying medical conditions, please seek advise from your doctor or medical professional before applying essential oils.

Do remember that essential oils are really potent, never take them by mouth or use near your eyes.


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