According to the International Association for the Study of Pain: “Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.”
Pain is often a major symptom of a medical condition. It can be acute or chronic and can certainly interfere with one’s quality of life and general day to day living. According to Clifford J. Woolf, there are three classes of pain:
Nociceptive Pain. A nociceptor is a sensory neuron (nerve cell) that responds to potentially damaging stimuli by sending nerve signals to the spinal cord and brain. This process, called nociception, usually causes the perception of pain and is often classified in categories such as “thermal” (e.g. heat or cold), “mechanical” (e.g. crushing, tearing, shearing, etc.) and “chemical” (e.g. iodine in a cut, chili powder in the eyes).
Inflammatory Pain – associated with tissue damage and the infiltration of immune cells.
Pathological Pain – disease state caused by damage to the nervous system or by its abnormal function (dysfunctional pain, as in fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, tension type headache, etc.).
While it is of course of paramount importance to ascertain and understand the underlying cause of pain and address that condition where necessary, the use of essential oils can offer great comfort and assistance in relieving the sensation of pain experienced.
As with many natural remedies it might take a little trial and error and or tweaking to get the right blend for the individual, but it is very well worth it. When considering which of the oils you are going to use in your synergy, consider what the condition causing the pain is, what the quality and intensity of the pain is, as well as what sort of emotional factors that might be at play as well. Considering the ‘whole’ person always brings better results than just trying to address a ‘condition’ the person is dealing with.
While many essential oils may have analgesic properties, the effectiveness of those properties will be stronger in some oils than in others. Tradition has also found that some oils work better for nerve pain, while others work better for muscle or joint conditions. Some of the oils bring about a warming effect, while others a cooling one. So knowing more about the individual and their own challenges, will help in finally deciding which of the oils to add to the final synergy.
Here are some essential oils to consider when creating your next Pain Relief Blend.
Black Pepper – has analgesic, antispasmodic and warming properties. It can be helpful in improving circulation, as well as nerve pain such as sciatica, neuralgia and temporary paralysis.
Roman Chamomile – has anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and analgesic properties. Helpful for arthritis, inflamed joints, neuralgia, neuritis, rheumatism and muscle pain.
Clove – has analgesic, anti-rheumatic, anti-neuralgic and anti-spasmodic properties. Helpful for arthritis, rheumatism, sprains, muscular aches and pains. Also helpful for toothache. Stimulates circulation.
Fir – has analgesic and warming properties. Helpful for muscular aches and pains, as well as arthritis and rheumatism.
Frankincense – has anti-inflammatory and sedative properties. Helpful for rheumatism.
Geranium – has anti-inflammatory properties, can be helpful for rheumatism and neuralgia. Helps improve circulation.
Ginger – has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and warming properties. Used for arthritis, muscle aches and pains, injury, neuralgia, sprains and strains.
Helichrysum – has anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and sedative properties. Used for muscle aches and pains, arthritis, rheumatism as well as shingles.
Lavender – has analgesic, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. Helpful for muscle spasms, sprains, cramps, lumbago, muscle aches and pains, sciatica and neuralgia.
Marjoram – has analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. Helpful for lumbago, muscle aches and stiffness, sprains, spasms, and toothache. Helps neuralgia and eases headaches.
Myrtle – has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and soothing properties. Helpful for arthritis, muscle knots and spasms, nerve inflammation and for calming fibromyalgia pain.
Peppermint – has anaesthetic, analgesic, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. Helpful for neuralgia, sciatic, arthritis, rheumatism and muscular aches and pains. Also very cooling.
Yarrow – has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic and antispasmodic properties. Useful for rheumatoid arthritis, neuralgia and tendinitis.
As mentioned above which oils you end up adding to your blend will depend on who the blend is for and what the cause and quality of the pain is. Also keep in mind any possible contraindications that the person might have to any of the oils you are considering.
A few of my own favourite pain blends include:
Headache Blend – a synergy of lavender, marjoram and peppermint (4:4:1) in a 3% dilution in coconut oil.
Menstrual Cramp Blend – 3 drops geranium in 5 ml coconut oil (or any carrier available) gently applied on the lower abdomen and small of the back.
Sciatica Blend – 3 drops black pepper in 5 ml coconut oil (or any carrier available) gently applied on the lower back area.