Pain is a tricky subject for a few reasons. The first reason is because it can be either chronic (lasts 3 months or more) or acute (short lasting, resolving in less than 3 months). The other reason is because there are different types of pain; visceral, somatic and neuropathic, depending on where it is felt in the body. These types of pain can be felt at the same time or singly and at different times. They also respond differently to various pain relievers. Neuropathic pain is harder to treat than the other two.
Somatic Pain is caused by the activation of pain receptors in either the body surface or muscoskeletal tissues. A common cause of this type of pain is post-surgical from an incision. It is described as dull or aching. This type of pain can be contributed to by a combination of factors that have always been there such as inflammation or muscle disuse and misuse. It is generally aggravated by activity and relieved by rest.
Visceral pain is the pain we feel when our internal organs (kidneys, stomach, gall bladder, intestines, bladder) are damaged or injured and is caused by the activation of pain receptors in our chest, abdomen or pelvic areas. It is vague and not well localized. It is described as pressure like, deep squeezing, dull or diffuse. Neuropathic pain is caused by injury or malfunction to the spinal cord and peripheral nerves. It is described as burning, tingling, shooting, stinging, or “pins and needles”. It occurs in waves of frequency and intensity. This is the type of pain that people with diabetes often feel in their feet.
Traditionally, pain has been treated with conventional medicine but has many side effects such as addiction and drug overdoses. And NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can cause life threatening ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding (Ailementary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2005;22:795-801). They increase your risk for heart attack, stroke, make high blood pressure worse and can impair kidney function. As a dialysis nurse for years, I had a lovely woman that was there because she taken too many NSAIDS for knee pain for too long, which eventually ruined her kidney function. Sadly, this is not an uncommon scenario. Acetaminophens are the leading cause of acute liver failures. (Hepatology 2005;42:1364-72) Many people are under the assumption that if you can get it over the counter without a prescription, that it must be relatively safe, which is far from the truth. All synthetic pharmaceuticals have a price tag.
Ok, now for the Good News!
Essential oils are excellent for resolving aches and pains gently and effectively. They save money and time, deliver results quickly and do not cause damage along the way. Because they are plant based, our bodies recognize them and put them to work immediately, with no side effects. They are also multipurpose. For instance, Peppermint is excellent for soothing muscle soreness, but also eases stomach aches and supports clear breathing.
First and foremost! Pain is signaling you that something is wrong! Covering up this messenger and pressing forward is not the best course of action! Always try to uncover the root cause and address that. For instance, headaches can have many origins; tension, dehydration, toxic overload, contusion or a brain tumor. But overall, pain can be greatly enhanced because of inflammation or stress, so addressing those two issues with good nutrition and gentle exercise will go a long way towards alleviation. There is also a huge emotional ‘brain’ component to pain that is worth looking into. An excellent book about the sensory and emotional connection of pain is Heal Your Pain Now, by Joe Tatta. It is currently a best seller, for good reason.
Please use common sense! For long lasting, repetitive issues, please consult your physician. Also, the oils I am recommending are CPTG oils: certified pure, therapeutic grade essential oils. I use doTERRA’s because I believe they are the best for many reasons, see HERE for their sourcing, harvesting and testing practices.
The oils I am recommending are for topical use. Apply 1-4 drops to painful areas, diluting 1 drop per teaspoon of dilution oil (fractionated coconut oil is best, but olive or almond oil works too) for pregnant, children 5+ and seniors. For adults, 1-4 drops per teaspoon and repeat as needed. Warm compresses applied after oil application will drive the oils in deeper to tissues. Using 2-5 drops of essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary or marjoram mixed with Epsom salts in bath water will also provide relief.
Top 12 Oils for Reducing Pain
Black Pepper – muscle aches and pains, circulatory support, sprains, stiffness
Clove – has a numbing effect, soothes oral discomfort
Cypress – aches, bone spurs, bruises, carpal tunnel, hemorrhoids, muscle spasms
Eucalyptus – bruises, muscle aches and sprains
Wintergreen – aching joints, bone spurs, headaches, muscle tension, muscle cramping. Wintergreen is 99% methyl salicylate, which is what aspirin is made out of!
White Fir – aching muscles or joints, swelling, circulatory support. I broke my shoulder last year and this oil was wonderful for reducing swelling.
Peppermint – reduces tension in head and neck, muscle aches, cramps, muscle aches, toothache (good for teething babies, diluted 1 drop to 2 tsp fractionated coconut oil)
Marjoram – bruises, menstrual cramps, muscle aches & spasms, stiffness, strains
Lemongrass – a must have for any tendon or ligament strains, charley horses, inflammation, muscle & joint aches, poor circulation
Lavender – bruises, head and neck tension, sore muscles, sprains and toothache
Helichrysum – bruises, muscle aches & pains, sprains, scarring
Rosemary – tension in head & neck, muscle aches, circulatory support, sore muscles
Although it is easy to create your own blends with some fractionated coconut oil and a 10 ml roller bottle, DoTERRA has done the heavy lifting for us and created two blends that combine many of the above oils for their synergy to provide optimal relief:
The first one is called Deep Blue, it comes in a 5 ml bottle, 10 ml roller bottle or tube in a lotion base for ease of application. It contains 3 of the above oils as well as 4 others and has provided powerful relief and changed the lives of many people due to its ability to calm and soothe sore, tired, aching, stiff or cramping muscles and joints!
The 2nd one is called Aroma Touch, aka Massage Blend. This combination of 6 oils provides relaxation and relief from tension. It has done wonders for people who suffer from restless legs!
As an example of a blend that you can make up on your own, Neuropathy Massage Oil is very effective!
That is it in a nutshell…..!
If you are ready to make a change and start using natural solutions, essential oils are an excellent option for safe and effective relief with no side effects! Since they are natural and not toxic, they do not create a burden on your kidneys or liver, so therefore are a brilliant choice for managing and reducing pain!
I wish you many blessings and abundant health,
For information on how to purchase the essential oil and blends mentioned in this article, please see HERE
If you already know you want to get started, then go here!