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Bye Bye Back Ache with Essential Oils for Back Pain

Do to wake up with a sore back? Do you know the feeling of squirming around at your desk, shifting every 3 minutes to find a more comfortable position? Are you secretly wishing you could lay out a yoga mat in the office to get in some stretches for relief, if only it wasn’t so out in the open?

I certainly have. I used to be that person who would stand up while taking my phone calls, because I couldn’t bare to sit down one minute longer.

If you can relate to any of the scenarios above, or have your own similar issue, you may be joining the list of the many people who suffer from back pain at some point in their life or the other.

The pain generally is more prominent in the lower back and can gradually increase to a sudden or sharp persistent pain below the waist. The pain may also travel down to the buttocks and one, or both, lower extremities.

Types

  1. Acute back pain, caused by heavy lifting or falling that lasts for around six weeks.
  2. Chronic back pain that lasts for over three months.

Possible causes

There are various causes for back pain like lifting, forceful movements, heavy physical labor, bending and twisting yourself in awkward positions, and even standing in the same position for too long.

  1.  Muscle/Ligament strain – Sudden movements and heavy lifting can strain the spinal ligaments and back muscles resulting in pain.
  2.  Arthritis – Arthritis in the spine causes the space surrounding the spinal cord to reduce in a condition known as spinal stenosis. This will affect the lower back and tends to be extremely discomforting and painful.
  3.  Ruptured disks – Disks are suppose to act as cushions that prevent friction between your vertebrae. If the soft tissue within the disks rupture or bulge, they can end up pressing against a nerve.
  4.  Osteoporosis – This is a condition when your bones are too brittle or porous resulting in compression fractures inside the spine’s vertebrae.
  5.  Skeletal Irregularities – You spine can curve awkwardly due to a poorly made mattress, bed, or other activities.

Constantly looking down at our phones and computers certainly don’t help. 

Sometimes trauma and age related conditions like bulging disc, spinal arthritis, spinal stenosis, vertebral fractures, spinal tumors, spondylolisthesis, and osteomyelitis may also trigger back pain. It’s usually when a nerve is compressed that pain and other related symptoms are generated.

Who is prone to back pain? 

While anyone can get back pain, there are some conditions which increase the probability and risks of experencing it:

  • Poor physical fitness
  • Older people
  • The obese- as the extra weight stresses the back
  • Workers in a job that involves pulling, pushing, and twisting your spine or
  • Bad posture or not sitting straight while working at the desk all day

How back pain affects your life

Firstly, persistent back pain hurts. I know it for a fact. I use to sit at work, twisting, squirming, trying to get comfortable only to find myself switching positions every 3 minutes. This is highly disruptive, and really uncomfortable, not to mention disruptive.  Extreme or lingering pain can eventually prevent you from doing what you want, physically, and this feeling of worthlessness can lead to depression and anxiety in the long run.

Back pain can also take its toll on both your personal and work relationships. Sometimes you may find it difficult to sit and concentrate, and this reduces your work productivity. Homemakers may also find it difficult completing their errands, which in turn leads to unnecessary stress at home.

Generally, people with back pain are rather restless or impatient in their behavior as their lingering pain makes them moody. This impatience can also take its toll on relationships as they may find it difficult sitting or standing for long periods and can get irritated about this.

Treatment options

There are a few things you can do if you have injured your low or lower back.

  • Hot and cold compress

Apply a cold compress to your back for the first 24 to 48 hours by wrapping some ice in a towel or cloth. This helps reduce muscle spasms, pain and swelling.  Next apply some heat to the same spot. The heat warms and relaxes sore tissues. Always remember not to apply anything cold or hot directly to the skin, but in a wrap.

  • Medications

You may take analgesic medications like acetaminophen, aspirin, or prescription pain medications to dull the sensation. There are also topical analgesic cream, ointment, or salve to apply on the injured area.

  • Surgery or exercise

Back pain is not usually treated with surgery or exercise. Exercise is useful for relief from chronic pain but shouldn’t be used if you have acute back pain. Instead, it is recommended to perform specific exercises for back, which a doctor or physical therapist will show you. Surgery is a last resorted to treat chronic back pain only when other treatments don’t work.

  • Rest

Hopefully you’re not down and out, but it is important to give your body some time to rest and heal itself. See what you can do to change your daily routine so that your back suffers minimal stress and gets a change to recover.

  • Essential oils

Back pain takes time to resolve, which means you may have to take pain killers for some time for relief. The prolonged use of pain killers can lead to side effects and bad for your organs. A much safer, natural alternative is using essential oils.

Essential oils for back pain

Eucalyptus oil  

Eucalyptus oil has warming and powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities, making it perfect for loosening tense muscles.

Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil is soothing, cooling and anti-inflammatory in function, making it a perfect option for back pain relief. Not only does it quickly numb the pain from an acute strain or injury, but also gives long-term protection from any lower back tightness and inflammation.

Ginger oil

Ginger has always been known as a carminative that soothes inflammation. In addition to this, it’s a warming oil that provides back pain relief by easing muscle tension, preventing spasms, promoting the healing of strained and pulled muscles and also has a direct impact on the severity of arthritic conditions.

Essential oil blends

You can also make some blends using the best essential oils for back pain for regular treatment and relief.

Blend 1

The first blend involves mixing 10 drops each of peppermint, basil, and rosemary essential oils.

Blend 2

The second blend is made mixing 10 drops each of lavender, ginger, and eucalyptus.

Blend 3

Blend 3 involves combining 10 drops each of rosemary, sage, and marjoram essential oils together.

Remember: Each essential oil and each blend has to be mixed with two tablespoons of carrier oil like coconut or almond oil before use as concentrated essential oils are very potent and can cause skin irritations or rashes.

Then use any of the blends and gently massage onto your back for relief. If you’re able to have a friend, professional, or significant other perform the massage, you’ll even get a little pampering. However, if this is not an option, self-massaging will do the trick.

Lifestyle changes

Besides back pain treatment, it’s imperative that you make lifestyle changes for lasting back pain relief. Strengthen your back muscles with exercise and keeping fit are the number one ways to avoid that the ache in the first place.

Make sure you have sufficient calcium and Vitamin D every day to strengthen your bones. Get in the habit of good posture, stand straight when possible, and avoid heavy lifting. If you need to lift something heavy, remember to do so by bending your legs while keeping your back straight.

Do consult your doctor if the low back pain grows severe and persistent, or if it doesn’t seem to reduce after a few day. Also if you find it difficult sleeping and performing your everyday activities. Seek immediate medical attention if there’s leg or groin weakness or numbness, and bowel or bladder dysfunction.

In the meantime, keep you favorite oils around when you need some quick relief.

 



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