The Best Essential Oils for Pain Relief and How to Use them

best essential oil for pain relief

Essential Oils are very potent in providing natural relief from varying degree of discomforts such as back pain, migraines, neuropathy, muscle tensions, and inflammation. Essential Oils have varying properties like anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, analgesic, anti-rheumatism, anti-depressant, sedative, anti-microbial, etc.

There are different kinds of Essential Oils, based on their sources and I have compiled a list of the best Essential Oils for pain and inflammation. In this post, you will discover the amazing effects of each Essential Oil, usage, and other precautionary tips that will help you make the best choices.

The Best Essential Oils for Pain Relief

Lavender Oil

It will not be an overstatement if I say the Lavender Oil is one of the most effective oils for pain relief, stress, and relaxation. Aside from its amazing and delicious aroma, the Lavender has antispasmodic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and sedative properties that have soothing, relaxing effects that help in relieving headaches, easing sore muscles or body aches. Just the aroma of the Lavender oil is sometimes enough to provide relief in many situations. Lavender Oil can also help with sleeping disorders because poor sleep is an aid to pain.

Essential Oils for Fungal InfectionsUsage: The Oil is mild and safe for topical use, but you can also dilute in your preferred carrier oil like coconut or castor oil. One or two drops of the oil can be used undiluted on the forehead and around the neck region. You can also use a few drops of the diluted oil diluted oil directly on the affected area.

Lavender Oil can be used with a diffuser. You can also add a few drops of the oil into your bath water for use before going to bed. Another way is to blend the Chamomile and the Lavender Oil together to enhance their effect as an essential oil for muscle pain.

Clary Sage

Gotten from the herb Salvia sclarea, the Clary Sage is an essential oil for aches and pain. Particularly, the oil is used for menstrual and menopausal pain. When used with massage oils, the Clary Sage has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, effective for muscle cramps, pain, and aches. It also helps with relieving stress and reducing stomach spasms.

Usage: Clary Sage oil should be used sparingly, cautiously and should never be used internally.

You can use the oil with a diffuser before going to bed or inhale the oil directly, as this is known to calm the nerves, and give a feeling of ecstasy.

Chamomile Oil

Chamomile Oil is popular for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Based on the sources, there are two types of the Chamomile oil: Roman Chamomile, gotten from Anthemis nobilis and German Chamomile Oil, extracted from Matricaria chamomilla. They are both useful as essential oils for back pain and can be used for headaches, muscle, and joint pains as well. Chamomile oil also has carminative effects, which aids in reducing the abdominal pain caused by gas.

Roman chamomile is the milder of the two and is used to provide relief to abdominal discomfort in children. The Chamomile has soothing and therapeutic effects on the mind, body and skin. It works well independently and can be blended with other essential oils, especially with Lavender Oil.

Usage: You can use Chamomile with a diffuser, or apply topically to the affected area after diluting with a carrier oil.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint is a hybrid produced by crossing spearmint and watermint. It has menthol as one of its major elements, and this gives the oil a very refreshing smell. Peppermint oil is effective against migraines and headaches, though ironically, the plant is known to intensify migraine’s pain.

The oil has antispasmodic properties that make it efficient as a reliever for nausea, stomachaches, and digestive disorders. It curbs painful spasms by calming the lining of the stomach and the intestines. It also has analgesic properties, which makes it an essential oil for lower back pain, joint pain, and fibromyalgia pain.

Usage: Peppermint oil can be used by mixing with a suitable carrier oil like jojoba, olive, or coconut oil. Mix 4-5 peppermint drops with a teaspoonful of the carrier oil. Apply the blend topically to the affected area, or the temples in case of a headache. You should take care and prevent the oil from reaching your eyes. You can also blend the oil in Rosemary or the Lavender Oil.

Juniper Oil

The anti-spasmodic and anti-rheumatic properties of the Juniper makes it an excellent oil for arthritis pain, and other muscle or joint related pain. Sourced from the berries of blue-green evergreen Juniperus communis, you can also use the oil in treating other painful conditions like hemorrhoids, colitis, and dysmenorrhea. It is also useful for nervous tensions and neuropathic pain.

Usage: Juniper is a stimulant, and should be preferably used at the start of the day as it can interfere normal sleep or night rest. You can mix Juniper with a lotion or cream to help provide relief to the body, joint and muscle pain, reduce muscle spasms, and pains resulting from arthritis and other conditions. You can use topically for arthritic or rheumatic pain.

You can also add a few drops of the oil into your hot bath and immerse yourself in it for 15-20 minutes. This is very effective against hemorrhoids. You can mix the oil with either a spoonful olive oil or herbal tea and consume internally. This will help treat colitis and indigestion.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus Oil is a popular decongestant with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Extracted from the bark and leaves of the Eucalyptus tree, it is a pungent warming Essential oil for nerve pain, muscle injuries, and sinus congestion.

Usage: Eucalyptus Essential Oil is a very strong oil and should be diluted with a carrier oil (coconut/jojoba oil) before usage. Exceptions for raw usage is pain resulting from an insect bite or sting.
You can use as a lotion and rub it on affected areas. You can also use in your bath water by dropping a few drops of the oil in it. Alternatively, you can blend the oil with other Essential Oils such as the Lavender to enhance its effects.

Rosemary Essential Oil

Though used as a memory booster, and to aid concentration and mental alertness, Rosemary oil is an excellent oil for pain. The Rosemary oil is gotten from the Rosmarinus officinalis, which is the culinary herb. It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that provide remedy to the body, muscle and joint pain, back pain, rheumatism, and headaches.

Usage: Rosemary Oil can either be used topically by massaging the oil unto affected areas to relieve pain. Alternatively, you can rub 2-3 drops in your palm and inhale directly in case of headaches.
Please note, that Rosemary oil is not safe for use by pregnant or nursing mothers.

Helichrysum Essential Oil

Extracted from the Helichrysum italicum, the oil contains anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antispasmodic properties. It is also an essential component of many anti-rheumatic medications. Helichrysum oil provides a potent relief from nerve pain and other painful ailments like sciatica.

Usage: For bruises, massage the oil onto the affected area. This will make the pain disappear and any skin discoloration. In cases of sunburns, dilute the oil with coconut oil and apply on the area to reduce the soreness and pain.

Marjoram Oil

Marjoram is more than just another spice or edible oil; made from sweet marjoram, it has mildly sedative, analgesic, and antispasmodic properties. These properties make it an excellent oil that works against chronic pain and helps provide relief for rheumatism and osteoarthritis. It is also a good essential oil for tooth pain.

Usage:For topical application, I would suggest you dilute the oil in olive oil before rubbing on the affected area. It will provide relief to muscle spasm resulting from straining the muscles.
It can also be used internally to curb abdominal spasm that is caused by diarrhea.
When you feel feverish or cold, you can use in an infuser to provide relief from a headaches.

Clove Essential Oil

Clove is gotten from the tropical tree, Syzygium aromaticum. Clove is very spicy and pungent and has sedative and antimicrobial properties. It is known to first give a burning sensation when applied raw on the skin followed by an anesthetic effect that provides immediate relief from acute pain.

Usage: In cases of throat and tooth pain, put a few drops of the Clove oil in warm water and gargle for a few minutes. For muscle pains, soreness and joint pains, dilute the oil with a carrier oil like coconut or olive oil and rub on the affected area. Use just a drop of the raw oil in cases of insect bites or sting.
For a headache, mix a few drops of the oil in water or salt solution and rub on the neck and forehead.

Sandalwood Essential Oil

Extracted from the heartwood of the Sandalwood tree, this oil belongs to the list of the most expensive essential oil. This is because the tree has to be up to 50 years or older to produce high-grade oil. The oil is reputed for its outstanding antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. Whether muscle or skeletal pain, it provides excellent relief.

Usage: You can use internally by putting a few drops in an infuser or drinking a cup of water mixed with 3 drops of the oil. This mainly lessens pain resulting from endometriosis.

Precautionary note: Some essentials are not suitable for people with allergies, so care should be taken before any form of usage. Try to test with a few drops, and that you are allergic to one does not mean you will be allergic to all. Just find one that works for you. Also before topical usage, I would suggest you perform a skin patch test to determine suitability.
Most pure essential oils are very concentrated and should be diluted with a suitable carrier oil before usage. Carrier oils also have therapeutic properties of their own, and the blend will further increase the potency of the essential oil. Pregnant and nursing mothers should totally avoid using essential oils.


Essential oils can be mixed with each other to enhance their effects. Feel free to try different combinations and get the relief you deserve. You will find them a lifesaver during painful times, and usually, massaging a few drops over the affected area does the trick. You can also use hot or cold compress, or with a bath water. Don’t let pain hinder you from living a fulfilling life.

About the author

    Sally Wong

    Sally Wong is a manual therapist for about 15 years now and also a massage specialist. She is actively taking care of her body to stay healthy and in shape by doing Yoga and Tai Chi. She has a lot of knowledge and interest in Essential Oils because of her Oriental background. She learnt many things from her Grandmother. Originally from a small village in South China, now she lives in Vancouver, Canada.

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