Essential oils for back pain could be a treatment option as long as they are used correctly. Although their popularity has grown, people are still divided when it comes to their effectiveness. The common questions that arise are, do these plant-based oils have the power to alleviate pain, or are they just a placebo?
They are essentially chemicals extracted from various plants. They are aromatic, and as far as chemical compounds go they can easily enter the air allowing for inhalation. Doctors have been asked for their opinions on essential oils. And they agree that they can be effective. However, it is something that is difficult to prove scientifically. Currently, there is not a great deal of research to turn to prove that they work. One reason is that it’s difficult to do this type of study.
But there are some reliable studies. An example is a study found that using essential oils as aromatherapy can significantly reduce pain. Another study found orange oil specifically to relieve pain. There is more developing research that suggests certain oils applied as a topical agent to the low back, like wintergreen or peppermint, they act as an alternative pain reducer to traditional meds that cause side effects.
Definitely more research needs to be done to become a standard form of care. And they can be it just depends on what it’s for. For example, can they cure cancer? No. Can they help with the symptoms? Yes. Certain oils have anti-inflammatory and muscle-relaxing properties. Patients have reported aromatherapy and oils applied topically has helped them with their pain. But, just like anything, it is different for everybody.
When to use
Back pain/conditions that are appropriate for essential oils would be chronic, low-level pain. With any type of numbness, weakness, bowel/bladder dysfunction, or severe, incapacitating pain, go to the hospital, emergency clinic, etc. If pain symptoms do not improve within three to five days, make an appointment with a doctor, chiropractor, or spine specialist.
Always check with a healthcare physician before starting an essential oil regimen. This is to make sure there are no adverse effects or complications. It is essential to see a doctor or spine specialist making sure a serious condition is not the cause of the back pain. Severe conditions should not be treated with only essential oils. Oils are considered to be a small part of a larger integrative treatment plan. This includes:
- Allopathic therapies
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory diet
Use for back pain
Once a doctor clears an individual to use essential oils, adding them to a back-care treatment plan can be done in two ways.
- Aromatherapy, with the use of a diffuser to release into the air, allowing for inhalation.
- Topical agent in the form of a salve, lotion, or cream, and massaged into the pain area
There are combined aromatic salves and lotions that appeal to patients. An example is an aromatherapy combined with calming lavender oil. Oils that are used to alleviate back pain:
- Lavender is an excellent choice as an aromatherapy
For a topical agent:
What to Know
Choosing the topical option means the oil needs to be diluted as undiluted oil can cause a rash or other reaction. They can be diluted with a carrier. This can be almond, avocado, or coconut. Never ingest essential oil. They can be extremely toxic if ingested and should not be used for small children. Used correctly they could help out with back pain issues, ask your doctor or chiropractor if they could be an option.
Lower Back Pain Chiropractic Treatment
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