Top 10 Best Essential Oils for Back Pain 2020

There are dozens of essential oils available, and the best essential oil for back pain isn’t a single oil type. Numerous essential oils can help alleviate back pain and associated symptoms, and these pungent oils often work for many other ailments.

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are powerful extracts that contain the essence of a particular plant, and this essence gets distilled down into a powerfully concentrated form. Different parts of the plant, including the roots, flowers, seeds, bark, and leaves, contain various chemical compounds that are very potent and useful. 

These compounds are what you’ll find in the best essential oil for back pain, and they often give the plants they come from a signature scent. These compounds can also protect the plant from less than ideal environmental conditions, aid in growth or development, and even play a part in pollination.

How to Choose the Best Essential Oils

Choosing the best essential oils for your back pain will rely on a number of variables, including the source and intensity of your pain and the essential oils you find most pleasant or effective. Many of these essential oils will work for muscle aches in the back, and they also have added benefits for other ailments.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil has a very distinctive smell that many are familiar with, but it is also a powerful pain reliever that can work very well for back pain. When you use pure peppermint oil, the substance will contain approximately 44% menthol, which is what makes it feel cooling and pain-relieving at the same time.

Menthol is a chemical found in mint plants other than peppermint, and this substance creates a cooling effect by interacting with calcium channels, and the receptors there register the sensation as cooling. 

This cooling can reduce back pain that you feel in your muscles or other parts of your back, and its antispasmodic properties can help reduce muscle spasms and tension. This oil also has anti-inflammatory properties and needs to be adequately diluted to avoid skin irritation and damage.

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is very popular for a number of uses around your home, but one of the lesser-known benefits of this essential oil is its ability to alleviate muscle aches all over your body and also help with headaches. You may have seen lavender oil as part of massage treatments or aromatherapy, and this multi-purpose oil may also help reduce your stress and tension.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is another essential oil with a distinctive scent that many will recognize from various cold and flu remedies. Eucalyptus oil is not only antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, but it also treats conditions like arthritis. This essential oil is also ideal for back pain as it has strong analgesic effects on the joints and muscles.

A clinical review from 2015 also noted that this essential oil could be useful for treating wounds, inflammation in the back and joints, and skin ailments. Eucalyptus oil is also great for back massages to increase its effectiveness while also providing a therapeutic scent that many enjoy.

Wintergreen Oil

Wintergreen is closely related to peppermint and has similar analgesic effects when applied to the skin. It’s the compound methyl salicylate found in wintergreen that makes it excellent for relieving back pain, and this substance is similar to aspirin in some ways. 

Ginger Oil

Ginger oil is a less common essential oil, but it’s anti-inflammatory properties are strong enough that it’s an excellent choice for reducing your back pain in your muscles and joints. There is also promising evidence that this oil can assist with specific kinds of arthritis, so if you have arthritis in your back, this essential oil is worth bringing up with your doctor.

Lemongrass Oil

Lemongrass oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and it is able to reduce swelling and inflammation more efficiently than many other essential oils. This essential oil also has a rather pleasant scent, which is why it’s often part of massage oils and lotions used for back massages intended to relieve pain.

Lemongrass essential oil is also promising as an anti-fungal, and you can take it orally if you have food-grade essential oil, or apply it topically where it can absorb through the skin. 

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil is familiar as a cooking ingredient, but it’s an excellent option for reducing pain and reducing inflammation in your back. This herbal extract has a distinctive smell and is also excellent for helping with pain caused by menstrual cramps, and rheumatic conditions. 

Other Essential Oils to Consider for Back Pain

While wintergreen, peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary, and ginger are the more familiar essential oils for use with back pain, there are others with considerable benefits that you can try. Here’s our list of other essential oils that help with back pain, and also make essential oil blends smell more pleasant:

  • Sandalwood Oil
  • Chamomile Oil
  • Helichrysum Oil
  • Marjoram Oil
  • Yarrow Oil
  • Cypress Oil
  • Black Pepper Oil
  • Clove Oil
  • Clary Sage Oil
  • Juniper Oil
  • Arnica Oil

Many of these are easy to find, and several are multi-purpose and can help with a variety of different conditions.

Advantages of Using Essential Oils

Chronic and short term back pain may require rest and medication, but essential oils can supplement this regimen along with specific lifestyle changes. Using essential oils may also reduce the amount of prescription medication you require, but you should always discuss your treatment plan with your healthcare provider before making changes.

Essential oils are also relatively affordable and easy to use in addition to helping individuals relax. Several studies also cite other benefits in addition to pain relief, including a reduction in muscle spasms and tension while not interfering with traditional treatments.

What to Look for in Essential Oils

The best essential oil for back pain will come with results from third-party testing to verify the strength and purity of the product. There are many products available online that feature highly diluted essential oils suspended in a carrier oil, and this doesn’t allow you to choose how strong of a treatment you get when using essential oils for your back pain.

You’ll want to pay attention to how concentrated the essential oil is and where the extracts originate. It’s also good to know whether there are other ingredients in the essential oil blend if it’s pre-mixed with a carrier oil.

It’s also a good idea to seek out reviews for the particular brand you wish to buy, as there are often helpful bits of information provided by other buyers that you won’t find in product descriptions. Quality control standards, scent quality, and packaging are all essential elements to consider, and fellow buyers often supply details in their product reviews.

How to Use Essential Oils for Back Pain

To use essential oils for your back, you’ll first need to dilute them with a carrier oil. Carrier oils such as coconut oil or almond oil will work, and you can add up to 6 drops of essential oils to about six teaspoons of carrier oil. It’s also a good idea to do a patch test to ensure you won’t have an adverse reaction.

You can use this essential oil blend for a massage to alleviate back pain, or you can add essential oils directly to a hot bath. Warm or cold compresses can also use essential oils, and these get applied directly to affected areas such as the back or neck. You can also inhale essential oils by using a diffuser and diluting the essential oils in water.

The Controversy Surrounding Essential Oils

Essential oils are not regulated by the FDA, which means that manufacturers do not follow the same rigorous regulations that other drugs and food manufacturers face. This lack of oversight causes some controversy as individuals struggle to find reliable information on essential oils, and scientific data is slow to emerge and not as plentiful as you might hope.

Precautions for Using Essential Oils

Essential oils should not replace traditional medical treatments, and it’s always advisable to consult with your healthcare professional before incorporating essential oils into your daily regimen, particularly if you are taking prescription medications.

Essential oils can cause skin irritation and damage if not used properly, and it’s always advisable to dilute them with a carrier oil prior to use. These oils are highly concentrated and may burn your skin, and they may also interact with certain medications. Always read the product label carefully to ensure you know the other ingredients added to the product.

Our Top Recommended Essential Oils for Back Pain

Our list of recommended essential oils for back pain includes products that blend various oils so you can reap the greatest amount of relief. Several of these formulations also work for stress relief, inflammation reduction, and general pain relief in other areas of the body.

Healing Solutions Organic Deep Muscle Relief Blend Essential Oil 

For many individuals, their back pain comes from muscular pain that needs addressing on a regular basis. This organic blend of essential oils features a unique blend of food-grade extracts, including clove, cassia, lemon, rosemary, and eucalyptus. Not only does this blend smell fantastic, but this product is very concentrated and should be diluted prior to use.

Given the highly concentrated nature of this product, you can easily add it to another carrier oil to get a diluted massage oil that is as strong as you need for your current level of back pain. The eucalyptus offers cooling, swelling reduction, and eases muscle tension, while the clove and rosemary components provide additional pain relief.

Healing Solutions also performs routine GCMS testing on their products to ensure that they are pure and lacking in any other substances. These test results are publicly available, and this product also comes with a money-back guarantee.

Pros:

  • Various package sizes available (ranging from 0.33 ounces to 4 ounces)
  • Highly concentrated and easy to dilute into a carrier oil
  • Features several essential oils expertly blended together to relieve pain
  • 100% Food grade therapeutic grade essential oils
  • Registered on the USDA Organic Database

Cons:

  • Very strong and can cause skin damage if not used properly
  • No separate dropper included
  • Caps can come loose and leak if the bottle isn’t secured or stored upright during storage

Best Blends Set of 6 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil

This set of essential oils is ideal for those with back pain as it targets both pain and tension that can increase the pain you feel. This set includes six 10mL bottles, each designed to target pain management, stress management, and your general health. The muscle relief blend is ideal for back pain, but there’s also a “Head Relief” formulation that can work for pain that radiates from the back into the neck, head, or limbs.

This set of essential oils is certified kosher and contains extracts from ylang-ylang, peppermint, tea tree, lavender, lemon, and several others. Although you’ll need to dilute these highly concentrated oils into another oil for many uses, these bottles will last a long time when you use them for massage or other pain relief purposes.

The Deep Muscle Relief blend contains eucalyptus, camphor, peppermint, lavender, wintergreen, and rosemary for the best pain relief, inflammation reduction, tension relief, and general analgesic effects. The Stress Relief blend contains lemongrass to relieve pain, and other supportive essential oils like Cananga, sweet orange, and geranium help reduce the tension that causes pain.

The Head Relief formulation contains several essential oils ideal for pain reduction, including lavender, wintergreen, peppermint, rosemary, and sweet marjoram.

Pros:

  • Several different pre-mixed formulations that all help with pain
  • Requires only a few drops for most applications
  • Rigorously tested to ensure purity and proper distillation
  • The manufacturing facility is certified kosher, GMP and ISO 9001
  • 100% pure Therapeutic grade oils

Cons:

  • Does not come diluted in a carrier oil 
  • No separate dropper
  • Very strong and should be used with caution or professional guidance

Artizen Muscle Relief Essential Oil

The Artizen Muscle Relief Essential Oil blend features several essential oils to directly assist with reducing back pain, including eucalyptus, peppermint, wintergreen, chamomile, and camphor. This product has a distinctly minty scent but isn’t terribly overpowering on its own. It’s important to note that this essential oil blend is highly concentrated, and a little bit diluted into a carrier oil is all you need for most applications.

This essential oil blend is ideal for muscle aches, tension, and other types of back pain. Using this essential oil blend for massage in carrier oil is an excellent remedy for relieving different types of pain, but it is also useful in a hot bath or warm compress applied directly to sore muscles.

Unlike other essential oil blends, this one 100% pure essential oil without any carrier oil added, which means that it may damage your skin if not used properly. You can also use this product for other uses, such as adding sparing amounts of it to a diffuser, hand sanitizer, soap, or your favorite lotion.

Pros:

  • Not tested on animals
  • Contained in a UV colored bottle to protect the essential oils from degradation
  • Several sizes available (1 ounce, 2 ounces, and 4 ounces)
  • Highly concentrated oil not diluted with a carrier oil
  • Backed by a lifetime warranty and guarantee

Cons:

  • Could cause skin damage if not adequately diluted with a carrier oil
  • No third party data on concentration or purity of the essential oils used
  • No dropper included

Artizen Peppermint Essential Oil

The Artizen Peppermint Essential oil is a 100% pure peppermint oil, which means it’s very strong, and you’ll need very little for most applications. When applying this directly to the back for pain relief, you’ll want to use a carrier oil such as coconut oil or almond oil, and the strength of this oil gets protected by the high-quality bottle that features a UV resistant coating.

This peppermint oil is also rigorously tested to ensure it is pure and free from other substances. This essential oil has a strong minty scent that lessens when it’s diluted, but still provides the strong cooling feeling and pain relief necessary for helping with back pain. This essential oil can also work great when added to lotion, a hot bath, or warm compress.

Pros:

  • Several sizes available (1 ounce, 2 ounces, and 4 ounces)
  • 100% Therapeutic grade essential oil used
  • Contained in a bottle with a UV coating to prevent the oil from degrading over time
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty and guarantee
  • The product undergoes routine testing for purity and safety

Cons:

  • Causes skin irritation and damage if used incorrectly or if improperly diluted
  • No dropper included on some versions of this product
  • The top is not secure if not stored upright

PURA D’OR Perfect 10 Essential Oil Wood Box Set

The Pura D’Or Essential Oil box set includes ten different 10mL bottles of essential oils that are USDA certified organic. These individual essential oils are ideal for making your own blends to best address the back pain you feel. Many individuals find this box set of essential oils ideal as it allows them to mix and match different types of oil to suit their needs and create a pleasant scent.

This set of essential oils includes many of the extracts that work best for muscle aches and spasms, tension, and other symptoms associated with back pain such as lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary. There are also other types of essential oils that provide different benefits but also allow you to create a custom scent.

Pros:

  • Plenty of pain-relieving options plus more for custom scent combinations
  • 100% Therapeutic grade essential oils
  • Country of origin listed for each type of essential oil
  • Certified USDA organic and rigorously GCMS tested
  • Comes with a sturdy wooden storage box

Cons:

  • No separate dropper included just the standard dropper top
  • Does not include instructions or any information about the use of the essential oils
  • Some quality control issues present

Handcraft Lavender Essential Oil 

As a powerful calming oil, lavender can directly assist with back pain by reducing the tension you experience in your body. It may also help with muscle aches even without deep tissue massage, and many individuals find it very relaxing when used for aromatherapy. 

Since this oil is rather pleasant smelling and not overly pungent, many people add it to their daily routine through diffusers, moisturizers, or by rubbing the diluted oil directly onto the skin.

Pros:

  • 100% Pure lavender oil
  • Larger 4-ounce bottle with UV protection
  • Comes with a glass dropper
  • Bottled in the USA

Cons:

  • The bottle seems to be a bit fragile
  • Concentrated enough to cause skin damage in undiluted
  • Glass dropper breaks easily if dropped

Healing Solutions Organic Wintergreen Essential Oil

Many individuals find Wintergreen oil more palatable than Peppermint or Eucalyptus, and this essential oil is ideal for fighting back pain. Add this to a carrier oil and use it for massages and enjoy the pleasant scent of this USDA certified organic essential oil. This oil is also GCMS tested to ensure it’s purity, and it comes with a money-back guarantee.

Pros:

  • Package sizes range from 0.33 ounces to 4 ounces
  • 100% Pure therapeutic grade oil
  • Certified USDA organic
  • Rigorously tested and many results available online

Cons:

  • May interact with medications such as blood thinners
  • Must be stored upright to prevent leakage
  • Not as strong of a scent as peppermint or eucalyptus

Handcraft Lemongrass Essential Oil

For back pain, Lemongrass oil is a relatively safe essential oil that relieves back pain whether you apply it to your skin or take it orally in carefully measured amounts. The glass dropper in the top makes measuring out accurate drops easy, and this oil is lab tested and features a quality guarantee. The glass bottle used protects this oil from UV light, and the essential oil bottled in the USA.

Pros:

  • 100% pure and natural essential oil
  • Bottled in the USA
  • Comes with a glass dropper in the top
  • Rigorously tested for impurities and additives

Cons:

  • Glass dropper breaks easily
  • Must be stored upright
  • No cooling or warming feeling like other essential oils

Artizen Ginger Essential Oil

Ginger oil is warming, which can help loosen sore or tight muscles in the back and relieve back pain associated with tension and other conditions. This bottle features UV protection to prevent the oil from degrading, and this product comes with a lifetime warranty. This high-quality oil comes undiluted, so you’ll need to add it to a carrier oil before use.

Pros:

  • 100% therapeutic grade oil
  • Packages range from 1 ounce to 4 ounces
  • Undiluted, highly concentrated essential oil
  • Bottle protects the oil from UV light

Cons:

  • Must be stored upright to prevent leakage
  • Concentrated enough to cause skin damage if not adequately diluted
  • Some users find this oil overly-warming so use it with caution

Maple Holistics 100% Pure Rosemary Essential Oil 

Rosemary essential oil may help with muscle cramps and spasms in your back and reduce any present swelling. It works excellently when applied to the skin with a carrier oil, but is also suitable to take orally. This highly concentrated 100% Rosemary oil has many uses and comes with a money-back guarantee. This oil was distilled using steam for better overall quality and comes in a 1-ounce bottle.

Pros:

  • 100% therapeutic grade oil
  • 1-ounce package with UV protective bottle
  • Undiluted and steam distilled
  • Chemical, paraben, and cruelty-free

Cons:

  • Store upright to prevent leakage
  • Very concentrated and can cause skin damage if not diluted
  • A very potent woodsy scent

Final Thoughts

Essential oils are a relatively inexpensive way to get some relief from back pain without pharmaceutical medication or other expensive supplements. These essential oils can help your back pain in many different ways when you apply them to the skin, use them in oil or lotion during a massage, or incorporate them into a bath or warm compress.

It’s crucial to get products that undergo testing and come from reputable companies, so you know how strong the essential oil is and what is in the package you receive. Third-party testing is not mandatory for this type of product, but many companies rigorously test their products for purity and safety and make this information available online.

There are several different essential oils that help with back pain caused by swelling, muscle aches and spasm, and other symptoms. Many individuals often blend various essential oils to create a custom scent that they find both pleasant and relaxing, as tension can increase pain.

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