Essential Oils for Pain Relief

Posted by Tiffani Williams on

Millions of people suffer from chronic pain every day, and even more people experience acute pain from time to time. Whether it’s muscle soreness, headaches, cramps or issues with ligaments, cartilage and arthritis - pain is the pits.

Avoiding pain is part of our very human fabric. We’ll do just about anything to sidestep discomfort. Maybe that’s another reason we don’t hit the gym as often as we should or make excuses not to go on adventures that might involve uncomfortable repercussions.

Because as humans we have many vulnerabilities. Eat the wrong thing and you get stomach pain, cramps and bloating. Do too much intense exercise or dance like nobody’s watching and your muscles might ache for days.

Unfortunately we can try and avoid pain until the end of time but it’s not something any of us can run from. Having some strategies to ease pain of all varieties is a better idea than attempting to avoid it altogether.

Essential oils are an awesome alternative to pain medications that have lingering long-term side effects. New research is even surfacing about how pain medications like Tylenol affect our ability to feel empathy. That’s pretty huge, not to mention the negative effects on our livers and the fact that pain medication only ever masks the symptoms, doing nothing to provide long-term relief.

Pain Relief for Digestive Distress and Cramps

Digestive issues are a common occurrence in our society which prizes hot dogs over broccoli. Most people experience digestive discomfort at least a few times a month.

Peppermint oil is the best treatment for gas and bloating. Simply add a few drops to a carrier oil and apply to the abdomen and lower belly in a circular clockwise motion to stimulate movement and help provide soothing relief.

You can also take small amounts of high-quality peppermint oil internally for more severe digestive issues. The University of Maryland recommends taking peppermint oil in an enterically coated capsule so that the capsule can withstand the stomach acid and make its way to the intestines.

Cramps are undoubtedly more common for women and can create a lot of discomfort. Adding EO’s to your PMS tool kit is a choice you won’t regret.

Lavender is great for reducing the associated stress that cramps can bring. The University of Tehran did a study on the effectiveness of using lavender oil for pain relief during menstruation and found that it majorly improved discomfort.


Peppermint or spearmint essential oil added to a bowl of hot water and a touch of carrier oil can be used to soak a washcloth for a hot compress that reduces pain.

Formulas for Muscle and Joint Pain Relief

Muscle and joint pain can linger for weeks. It often stems from overexertion, exercise or even just excess stress and tension. When you’ve got sore muscles it’s hard to just chill out. The discomfort is often frustrating and makes daily life less easy going.

Taking care of muscle and joint pain with essential oils is a heck of a lot healthier than using painkillers, and just as effective. The root cause of all pain is inflammation, and when inflammation becomes chronic, you’re bound to run into all sorts of trouble.

Getting to the root of chronic inflammation is a challenge, and essential oils can be a big help, especially when you’ve made the choice to stop with the painkillers.

There are different combinations of essential oils for different types of pain.

Anti-Inflammatory Heat Rub for Joint Pain and Arthritis




  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • 20 drops cinnamon essential oil
  • 10 drops orange essential oil
  • ⅓ C coconut oil, melted
  • ⅓ C beeswax pellets
  • ⅓ C olive oil


  1. Combine all ingredients until fully blended.
  2. Pour into tin or glass containers and store in a cool dry place.
  3. Use anywhere you experience joint stiffness, pain and inflammation.

Cool Rub for Sore Muscles  


  • 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 10 drops spearmint essential oil
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • ⅓ C coconut oil, melted
  • ⅓ C beeswax pellets
  • ⅓ C olive oil


  1. Combine all ingredients until fully blended.
  2. Pour into tin or glass containers and store in a cool dry place.
  3. Use anywhere you experience muscle pain.

Managing Headaches Naturally

The last type of pain that affects so many people is headaches. There are many different types of headaches, some worse than others. Anyone who’s ever suffered from migraines understands how debilitating they are.

Just like any other type of pain, headaches stem from inflammation and relying on painkillers for relief only leads to higher levels of the very cause of the headaches to begin with.

Peppermint essential oil will be your best friend if you get headaches. It has natural pain relieving properties and also helps to clear congested nasal and sinus pathways. Apply a few drops of peppermint oil to a teaspoon of carrier oil and dab on the temples, neck, shoulders and forehead for instant relief.

Eucalyptus essential oil has a similar effect to peppermint as it works to clear congestion and open up the nasal passage. It’s more effective using steam inhalation. Fill a bucket with hot water and add about 10 drops of eucalyptus oil. Cover your head with a towel over the bucket and inhale deeply for a few minutes.

Lavender essential oil is great for relieving the tension associated with headaches and migraines. Use it in the same way you would peppermint oil or have a hot epsom salts bath with 25 drops of lavender for a stress reducing experience.

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