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Sciatic nerve pain is often experienced in the lower back, thighs, and legs. This pain begins suddenly in one leg or buttock before extending down to the foot. Sciatica is caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve – the longest nerve in the body. The best way to treat sciatica is by avoiding overusing the affected area and applying heat and essential oils to soothe any discomfort you might feel. Lavender, peppermint, roman chamomile, and black pepper are among some of the best essential oils for sciatic nerve pain. 1
Sciatica occurs when this nerve is pressed or squeezed at some point between your spine and your hips. Nerves are made of many nerve fibers bundled together to form a nerve trunk. There is only one sciatic nerve in the nervous system that originates from your lower back and runs all the way down to your foot on the same side. In some people, the sciatica pain can be so intense that it interrupts their daily life activities. It can be very difficult to handle at first.2
You might experience a tingling sensation, numbness, or prickly sensation. In most cases of sciatica pain, the discomfort is often described as a sharp or intense pain that can also shoot down from your lower back and into one of your legs giving you an extremely uncomfortable feeling.3 Lower back pain and muscle pain are also common symptoms of sciatica.
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Poor posture or doing too many activities that involve repeated or prolonged sitting, standing, bending, and lifting can increase your chance of developing sciatica. Sciatic pain usually lasts for a few days or weeks, but in some cases, it may take months. The most effective way to treat nonsurgical sciatica pain is by trying home remedies and other natural treatments.4
Essential oils are also very concentrated forms of herbal medicine that come from the bark, roots, flowers, seeds, or fruit of plants. They are also known for their calming and relaxing effect on the body. The use of essential oils as a medical treatment for pain dates back to the time of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Today, essential oils are gaining popularity in alternative medical treatment because they can be used to cure various types of pain, including sciatica.5
It is very important to consult with your doctor if you normally experience any of the symptoms associated with sciatica pain. Sometimes sciatica can be caused by a herniated or bulging disc in the lower back. This causes pressure on the nerve that eventually causes pain and discomfort. Other times, it may be due to arthritis or even a tumor that can press on the sciatic nerve when they are in your hips or lower back.6
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Massages, hot baths, and long walks are all good natural remedies you can help yourself naturally without having to take any sort of medication. However, if you need some more serious or longer-lasting relief from pain, then essential oils for sciatic nerve pain may be great for tackling this issue. Here are 15 of the best essential oils you can use to treat sciatic pain.
15 essential oils for sciatic nerve pain
1. Peppermint oil
The analgesic properties found in peppermint oil make it a great essential oil for sciatic pain. It is also anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. This is why peppermint oil is very effective at reducing pain in the lower region of your body. Blood flow is also increased with the use of peppermint oil, which will help reduce any swelling and inflammation. The cooling effect of peppermint oil is very relaxing and soothing as well.
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2. Lavender oil
The extremely versatile, lavender essential oil can help treat a number of different conditions including nerve pain. The analgesic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of this essential oil make it a great choice when trying to treat symptoms associated with sciatica. Muscle spasms, in particular, are very effectively treated with lavender oil.
3. Roman chamomile oil
Chronic pain can be debilitating and can seriously interfere with one’s daily life. Roman chamomile oil is a great essential oil for sciatic nerve pain because it has the ability to inhibit neuropathic pain, which is what occurs with sciatica. The analgesic qualities found in this essential oil also make it an excellent choice. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can also be treated with Roman chamomile oil.
4. Eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus oil is an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial essential oil. These properties make it a great choice for leg pain because it can reduce swelling and inflammation in a relatively short amount of time. This oil is also known to have a soothing effect on irritation of the sciatic nerve.
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5. Ginger oil
Chronic conditions such as sciatic nerve pain take a long time to go away. Ginger oil is a great essential oil for sciatic nerve pain because it is extremely effective at reducing inflammation. Blood circulation is also improved when ginger oil is used, which will help reduce pain and discomfort even more.
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6. Ylang ylang oil
Sciatica causes pain that can be very intense. Ylang-ylang oil is an analgesic essential oil that can help reduce this type of pain. Sciatica pain relief is possible with this essential oil because it can reduce inflammation and relax the muscles.
7. Helichrysum oil
The analgesic properties of helichrysum oil make it a great choice for sciatic nerve pain. This essential oil is also anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic making it a great choice for severe pain. Joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis can also be treated with helichrysum oil.
8. Bergamot essential oil
Sciatica nerve pain can make it difficult for you to get around. Bergamot oil is very effective at soothing this type of pain since it is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Blood flow is also increased with the use of bergamot oil which can help with healing and reducing pain.
9. German chamomile oil
German chamomile oil is excellent for treating nerve pain because it has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic properties. This oil is great for reducing the pain that you feel all over your body. The anti-spasmodic properties of this essential oil help with muscle spasms while the anti-inflammatory properties help treat any swelling that may be occurring.
10. Cypress oil
Cypress is a popular essential oil for sciatic nerve pain. The human body responds quite well to this essential oil because it is a vasodilator. This means that circulation and blood flow are increased, which can help speed up the recovery process. This essential oil can also help reduce any swelling that may be occurring in your back and any other painful area.
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11. Wintergreen oil
Wintergreen is a great choice to treat sciatic nerve pain because it has natural analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmodic properties. The methyl salicylate that is present in this essential oil causes a sensation that will block pain receptors. This sensation can help reduce the severity of your sciatica pain.
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12. Marjoram oil
Another essential oil that can help with nerve pain is marjoram. This type of low back pain is very intense and even the slightest movements can cause extreme discomfort. Marjoram oil is an analgesic that also has anti-inflammatory properties. This essential oil can reduce swelling and inflammation that is causing you discomfort.
13. Clary sage oil
Sciatica nerve pain can make it difficult to go about your daily routine. Clary sage oil has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help with this type of pain. This essential oil will also have a calming effect and can help relieve you of any anxiety or stress that may be associated with your condition.
14. Patchouli oil
Patchouli oil is excellent for sciatica pain because it has analgesic properties. This essential oil can also help relieve any swelling, inflammation, or spasms that you may be experiencing. Aches and pains in the lower back are both reduced with the use of patchouli oil.
15. Basil oil
Last but not least, basil is an antispasmodic essential oil that can be helpful in treating sciatica. Another great benefit of this essential oil is that it can help relieve any anxiety or stress that you may be feeling. It also has a calming effect and will relax your muscles which can help reduce pain.
Essential oils help in different ways. For most people, they provide relief from stress and anxiety. They can invigorate the senses with their unique scent. They can also bring about feelings of calm and relaxation. Essential oils are helpful on many levels, especially with the sciatic nerve. They are able to reduce pain and discomfort, as well as inflammation and stress.
While essential oils offer relief from sciatica nerve pain, they should not replace other forms of traditional medicines, such as rest and medication. They can be used in conjunction with other treatments though.
Essential oil recipes for sciatic nerve pain
These effective essential oils can be added to a diffuser, mixed in lotion or carrier oils, and even added to hot water for a soothing bath. They can also be used to make homemade massage oil. Using pure essential oils for sciatica nerve pain is a great way to help reduce stress and anxiety, as well as pain and discomfort.
Lavender, basil, and ylang yalng
This blend with help reduce pain by lessening any inflammation and discomfort.
- 5 drops lavender oil
- 2 drops basil oil
- 1 drop ylang yang oil
A diffuser is used to disperse the oils into the air. It can also be mixed with coconut oil for a relaxing warm bath.
Rosemary, cypress, and juniper berry essential oils
Rosemary has been known to increase circulation, which can help reduce pain and discomfort. It is also an antispasmodic essential oil that can help with nerve pain.
- 3 drops rosemary oil
- 2 drops cypress oil
- 3 drops juniper berry oil
A diffuser is used to disperse the oils into the air, or they can be mixed in with your favorite lotion.
Eucalyptus and peppermint essential oil
This combination of eucalyptus and peppermint can help relieve any muscle spasms that are associated with sciatica.
- 3 drops eucalyptus oil
- 2 drops peppermint oil
- A diffuser is used to disperse the oils into the air or they can be mixed with coconut oil for a relaxing massage.
Relaxing bath recipe
These essential oil recipes will help reduce inflammation, stress, and anxiety while also having a calming effect.
- 5 drops lavender oil
- 3 drops chamomile oil
- 13 drops bergamot oil
- 1 cup Epsom salts
Other strategies to use essential oils on a daily basis:
- Diffuse essential oils such as peppermint, basil, rosemary, cypress, marjoram, clary sage, and cypress.
- You can also mix some essential oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil and rub it on the painful area for instant relief.
- For a soothing bath add a few drops of essential oil to the tub and watch your stress and pain melt away.
- Breathe deeply and apply a few drops of peppermint on the palms of your hands and rub it onto the back.
- Massage your muscles with marjoram, cypress, or frankincense to help soothe aches.
- Add two to three drops of your essential oil mixture onto a cotton ball and place in your pillowcase
- OR add them to a diffuser and let the refreshing scent fill the room.
Common side effects
Skin irritation and allergic reactions are some of the most common side effects. Pregnant women, children, and people with medical conditions should be careful when using essential oils. Essential oils are highly concentrated so it’s important to read the labels before using them.
Make sure you are not allergic to the oils before using them. If you don’t know if your skin is sensitive to oil, mix a drop with some carrier oil to test it out.
It is highly recommended that you do not ingest essential oils under any circumstances. Also, keep in mind that essential oils may interact with other medications you are taking. Always talk to your doctor before using essential oil diffusers on a daily basis. Essential oils may be used in conjunction with other treatments, such as medications and surgery.
Essential oils are a wonderful natural alternative to reduce sciatic nerve pain. They are easy to use, affordable, and can be found at most pharmacies, grocery stores, and even online. If you are looking to try something new to help with your sciatic nerve pain give essential oils a try.