Essential Oils For Pain Management
Acute and chronic pain effects over 100 million people in the United States each year. While pain is best known and characterized as subjective, meaning only the person who is experiencing it can explain what it feels like, pain is often called the Universal equalizer. Pain affects people differently. What may be perceived as only a minor nuisance to one person, may be completely debilitating to someone else. Pain is a warning that something isn't quite right. Pain is not a disease in itself but the result of an underlying condition or due to injury. Pain is not just a physical sensation or psychological event, but a combination of these and other components.
Back pain can be caused by a variety of situations such as accidents, musculoskeletal disorders, improper lifting, bending, sports activities, misalignment of the vertebrae and/or disease. It can also appear out of nowhere with no obvious cause. A viral illness may possibly be a cause, or emotional trauma, such as fear or resentment. In the vast majority of cases, pain is caused by stasis of blood resulting in muscle spasm, trauma and immobility.
The pain may be acute or it may develop slowly over a matter of hours or days out of a minor discomfort. In acute form, back pain can render a person helpless, enabling them to get up from a sitting or lying position or to even feed, wash, or dress themselves.
In the vast majority of cases, acute back pain comes from muscle spasm. Many people with acute back problems think they are suffering from a slipped disc, pinched nerve, spinal subluxation, or a torn ligament or muscle, when in fact intense muscle spasm is the sole or primary cause. Spasm of back muscles is maintained by a nervous reflex through the spinal cord that sets up a vicious cycle: spasm and inflammation lead to more spasm and inflammation. Although the cycle can develop due to injury, the ultimate cause is often in the brain, which can interfere with muscle physiology through the spinal cord.
Pain is a vicious cycle: spasm and inflammation lead to more spasm and inflammation. Although the cycle can develop due to injury, the ultimate cause is often in the brain, which can interfere with muscle physiology through the spinal cord. Chronic (long term) and acute back (and neck) pain are common expressions of stress and emotional stress. This demonstrates the true complexity of the mind/body interaction. Many times it is the brain's distortion of muscle function that sets us up for pain by preventing muscles from responding freely to physical stresses.
Acute pain can result from disease, inflammation, or injury to tissues. This type of pain generally comes on suddenly, for example, after trauma or surgery, and may be accompanied by anxiety or emotional distress. The cause of acute pain can usually be diagnosed and treated, and the pain is self-limiting, that is, it is confined to a given period of time and severity. In some rare instances, it can become chronic.
Chronic pain is widely believed to represent disease itself. It can be made much worse by environmental and psychological factors. Chronic pain persists over a longer period of time than acute pain and is resistant to most medical treatments. It can often cause severe problems for patients.
In assessing pain, a useful approach is to assess pain intensity (sensory), pain relief (cognitive), pain location, pain distress (affective), behavioral patterns or other similar sensory aspects of pain.
Essential Oils for Pain
Some of the best remedies for pain are in the form of essential oils! Helpful, are essential oils of basil, clove, camphor, menthol, eucalyptus, ginger, black pepper, wintergreen and peppermint, rosemary oils and are all beneficial for pain management.
Basil: contains several antioxidants in its volatile oils that act just like some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and Celebrex. When isolated at high enough concentrations these oils worked as well as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin in research trials.
Camphor is a white transparent waxy crystalline solid with a strong penetrating pungent aromatic odor. As an antimicrobial substance, camphor is readily absorbed through the skin and produces a feeling of cooling similar to that of menthol and acts as slight local anesthetic. In larger quantities, it is poisonous when ingested and can cause seizures, confusion, irritability, and neuromuscular hyperactivity. Found in our Muscular/Pain Remedy Blend.
Clove: this intense oil, most commonly used to relieve dental pain and infection, is also used to dissolve the eggs deposited by intestinal worms. It is delicious but overwhelming in both smell and taste. It is an antiseptic, carminative, warming, and very aromatic oil.
Eucalyptus: reduces pain, spasms and inflammation, and stimulates local blood circulation and the removal of waste products and toxins from the tissues. It is used to treat muscular aches and pains, strains, sprains, and other traumatic injuries of the muscles, ligaments and tendons. It also helps to reduce nerve inflammation and pain and is useful for the treatment of the various kinds of neuralgia such as sciatica. Eucalyptus reduces pain and inflammation due to chronic arthritic conditions. It also has a mild clearing and stimulating effect on the mind which helps to reduce fatigue.
Ginger: This rich, spicy oil so often used for nausea also helps normalize blood pressure either by raises blood pressure by restricting external blood flow, or lowers it by dilating surface blood vessels. This oil is warming and an antiseptic.
Menthol is actually a compound obtained from peppermint oil or other mint oils or made synthetically. Menthol has local anesthetic and counterirritant qualities. It is contained in nonprescription products for short-term relief of minor sore throat and minor mouth or throat irritation. Menthol is also contained in combination products used for relief of muscle aches, sprains, and similar conditions. Menthol is often used with other ingredients such as camphor and eucalyptus for pain relief. Menthol is considered an antidote for many homeopathic remedies and should be avoided by people taking them. Found in our Muscular/Pain Remedy Blend.
Peppermint: acts as a muscle relaxant, particularly in the digestive tract, and it can also reduce the inflammation of nasal passages and relieve muscle pains. When massaged into the skin, peppermint oil plays an innocuous trick on the nerves: It stimulates those that produce a cool, soothing sensation and desensitizes those that pick up pain messages.
Rosemary: Studies show that this oil improves general circulation.
Tea Tree: has a wide range of topical applications and is commonly used to treat skin and respiratory infections. Surprisingly, the oil is active against all three categories of infectious organisms: bacteria, viruses and fungi. Tea tree oil is an effective treatment for many skin conditions, such as cold sores, the blisters of shingles and chicken pox, verrucae, warts, acne, large inflamed spots and nappy rash. It is also effective against fungal infections, such as ringworm, athlete's foot and thrush, as well as dandruff--a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis.
Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac
Therapies for healing
mind, body, spirit