Anyone who has ever exercised knows the aftermath can be brutal. Lactic acid that builds up in our tissues can cause soreness, and minor injuries resulting from a workout are common.
Even otherwise healthy people can experience joint or muscle pain due to overuse, sports injuries, daily activities or natural aging.
Additionally, for many aging adults, arthritis causes daily aches and pains and impacts quality of life and mobility. Arthritis symptoms, including swelling, stiffness and joint pain, prevent many people from exercising, yard work and doing other normal activities.
Of course, consult a physician before self-treating... but one option to tackle muscle and joint pain is to take an over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatory or painkiller. But if you prefer a more natural approach, there are many essential oils safe to use as a penetrating massage oil to provide relief for sore muscles and joints. There are also essential oil blends such as Re-Flex muscle relaxation oil, which is safe for application directly to the skin, without having to dilute.
Certain herbs and their oils have anti-inflammatory properties that may help with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and possibly reduce generalized joint, muscle and nerve pain related to arthritis, tendinitis and other painful conditions. Some essential oils have analgesic properties, which also help to relieve or reduce pain, as well as antispasmodic, antirheumatic and sedative properties.
10 botanicals and essential oils to try for muscle and joint pain:
Aloe vera: Popular in gel form for treating small skin abrasions and sunburn relief, this herb’s essential oil can be applied topically to soothe achy joints and tense muscles.
Eucalyptus oil: This plant’s leaves contain tannins, which may be helpful in reducing swelling and the resulting pain that arthritis causes. The oil has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties – good for soothing tender joints and muscles.
Frankincense oil: This herb is thought to work by blocking leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are substances that can attack healthy joints in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It’s an anti-inflammatory and also acts as a mild sedative, so it’s good for stress and pain relief.
Ginger oil: The same compounds that give ginger its strong flavor are also the same ones that have anti-inflammatory properties. As an essential oil, its warming and soothing qualities are recommended for joint complaints, backaches, arthritic and rheumatic pain, muscle pain and sprains.
Lavender oil: This is a go-to essential oil for pain relief and relaxation. Its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and sedative properties work to relieve muscle tension and spasms, joint pain and headache.
Peppermint oil: Effective for treating general muscle and joint pain, headache and nerve pain.
Rosemary oil: Its analgesic and antispasmodic properties are good for relieving back pain, muscle and joint pain and headaches.
Thyme oil: This antispasmodic helps relieve joint and muscle pain and backaches.
Vetiver oil: Popular in Ayurvedic medicine, vetiver essential oil is in the same botanical family as lemongrass and citronella. It’s a good essential oil for general aches and pains, especially for rheumatism, arthritis and muscular pain.
Yarrow oil: This analgesic pain reliever has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and recommended for muscle and joint aches and pains.
Essential oils are safe, affordable and often have multiple benefits for body and mind. They work quickly by by-passing the digestive system – so no nasty side effects or harm to internal organs as is the case with painkillers – and are absorbed directly into the blood stream.
There are a variety of ways to use these essential oils for pain relief and many are even more effective when blended together.
Self-massage: One of the best methods for immediate relief is to make a massage oil with 10 drops of essential oil per one ounce of carrier oil and massage any part of the body with sore joints or muscles. Or try an essential oil blend that's already combined with a carrier oil and ready to go.
Bath soak: Add essential oils to a hot bath and relax. You can also add 2-3 cups of Epsom salt to enhance the effect and help detox. Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate, which is another popular home remedy for pain relief.
Hot or cold compress: a hot compress can be used for pain such as swollen joints or injured muscles. Submerge a hand towel or wash cloth in hot water with several drops of selected essential oil. Wring out the excess water and place it over the painful area. Similarly, for a cold compress, wrap an ice pack in a towel or soak it with cold water and wring out. Apply five to 10 drops of essential oils to this pack and apply to the forehead or neck. These compresses can be used for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
This article is educational in nature and not intended to replace medical advice. Essential oils and their ingredients and efficacy have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA to treat any illness. This information is not intended to treat or cure any condition and is not a substitute for professional medical diagnosis or treatment.
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