Essential Oils For Pain and Inflammation

by Joshua Matzkin

Remember when all you needed to recover from an intense workout was a good night’s rest? Or how about when a rolled ankle was a minor inconvenience and not something that put you out of commission all week? Well, these days we may need a little more TLC to get back at our best, so essential oils for pain and inflammation might be right for you.

No one wants to have to suffer through sore muscles or joints, but a lot of the time, muting the pain with medications is an even worse option. A more natural alternative to prescriptions and doctor visits is not only convenient and less expensive, but often just as effective. 

Here, we’ll discuss the best essential oils for pain and swelling to get you back on your A-game ASAP. 

Essential Oils For Pain

Whether it’s headaches, body aches, cramps or other pains, essential oils could be just what you need to relieve it all. Studies show certain essential oils can act as analgesics (pain relievers) and can be as effective as FDA approved drugs.

We're not going to try to convince you that inhaling some lavender oil will work like a morphine drip post spinal surgery or anything, but some forms of pain and irritation, these oils can definitely help. 

If you're experiencing soreness from exercise or suffer with arthritis or joint and back pains, headaches, stomach aches or similar, here are some of the best essential oils to use for pain management: 


Among its countless other benefits, lavender oil can be used as an effective analgesic for many aches and pains. Massaging a bit of lavender diluted in coconut or jojoba oil can help to relieve tense muscles or ease soreness.


Peppermint oil contains menthol, which gives it a cooling property that can help numb or diminish pain. These analgesic properties are present in addition to antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits as well. 


Ginger essential oil has a warming effect opposite that of peppermint which actually results in similar effects. One study showed that massaging with ginger essential oil helped relieve chronic back pain in older adults. 

woman getting a massage with essential oils to relieve back pain

Essential Oils For Swelling

Before we get into the right oils to use for inflammation, let's go over some of the main causes and what it actually means for your body. 

Causes of Inflammation

Inflammation is a part of the body's immune response, and can be triggered by pain, injury or infection. In any of these cases, blood containing leukocytes (white blood cells) and fluids may rush to the affected area and cause swelling.

This is an example of acute inflammation, but inflammation can also be chronic. 

The chronic form can last months to years and is usually a symptom of a larger problem like certain autoimmune disorders, obesity, poor diet, smoking, or other health habits. 

Oils for pain and essential oils for inflammation kind of go hand in hand. Many of the oils recommended to help relieve chronic or acute pain also have anti-inflammatory capabilities, especially since pain is one cause of inflammatory response. 

We love a two in one solution! So, you can use any of the oils above for swollen limbs or joints, as well as some additional: 


Studies show this oil has potential for consideration as an alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs as a topical treatment. 


A compound called carvacrol found in bergamot essential oil has shown in some studies to help reduce inflammation when applied to the skin.


Rose essential oil can not only be beneficial as an anxiolytic and mood enhancer, it can also help with inflammation. 


Eucalyptus has properties beneficial for inflammation when massaged into the skin and can also helpful with pain when inhaled. 



woman making a blend of essential oils to relieve pain and inflammation


How To Use Your Oils

Depending on what you're trying to treat with essential oils, some usage methods may be more effective than others. 

For example, inhaling certain oils like lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus can be all you need to start experiencing relief from pain like headaches. On the flip side, getting the anti-inflammatory benefits of rose or lemongrass is most likely when they're applied topically. 

Here are a few ways to try out your oils for pain and inflammation:

  1. Add a few drops of your preferred oil to a bath and soak in the benefits while you relax and unwind. 
  2. Dilute your oil into a carrier and use as a massage oil. We recommend 3-5 drops of oil per ounce of carrier. This is especially great for reducing inflammation. 
  3. Diffuse in a room to spread the scent throughout your space. This can be good for pain relief, with the added bonus of making your area smell fantastic!

Try some of MOXĒ's oil blends that include some of the above oils for pain and inflammation:





Bottom Line

Aromatherapy is a great form of alternative medicine for many. Essential oils are being studied more everyday for the uses and benefits in the field of medicine, and research shows the above oils can be effective for issues of pain and inflammation. 

 Always be sure, however, to consult your healthcare provider before trying out alternative or complementary forms of treatment. Some forms can interfere with current medications or cause allergic reactions or irritations. 


Tags: pain relief
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