Chronic pain can be difficult to diagnose and is commonly misdiagnosed — often thought of by some as a psychological rather than physical problem.
Pain that is chronic is defined as any pain that lasts longer than 3 to 6 months. The pain can be relatively mild or excruciatingly painful, even debilitating. The most common source of pain comes from headaches, joint pain, pain from an injury and pain impacting certain parts of the body such as neck, back or shoulders.
Things such as anxiety, stress, anger, fatigue and depression can exacerbate the pain, making the situation worse. We live in a fast-paced culture where many people are stressed and overworked, and this tends to give the body very little time to heal and come back to center.
While many people reach for over-the-counter or prescription pain relief, these carry their own inherent dangers and are often ineffective. In fact, more than 15,000 people die each year because they accidentally or knowingly misused opioids. Many pain medications are addictive and trap people in an endless cycle of dependency.
A natural and safe way to manage chronic pain and promote all-over healing is by using essential oils. Essential oils are derived from plants, and many of our modern-day medicines contain “knock-off” versions of these oils. The use of essential oils for a wide range of physiological conditions is nothing new and has been practiced since time immemorial.
Ancient cultures valued plants for the special contribution they make to healing and well-being. Although our culture does not have nearly the same respect (across the board) for the potent properties found in plants, there appears to be a reawakening of sorts to homeopathic modalities, including aromatherapy.
If you suffer from chronic pain, there are a number of effective essential oils and oil blends that you can try. It is always wise to seek consultation from a natural health practitioner familiar with the use of essential oils before using the oils.
Depending on the location and severity of your pain, oils can be applied directly to pressure points, combined with a carrier oil and used with a massage, or even taken internally with water. Again, it is important that you research and seek guidance before using oils, as some oils are too potent to be applied directly to the skin and others are not meant to be taken internally.
Here are three popular essential oils to help ease the burden of chronic pain:
1. Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens). Wintergreen is a perennial evergreen shrub that has thin, creeping stems and leather-toothed leaves. This low-growing plant is the only known plant besides birch trees that contains naturally occurring methyl salicylate, the main component in aspirin. Native Americans revered this plant as a general pain tonic. Studies done on wintergreen indicate that it has a cortisone-type effect on pain and also contains anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and analgesic properties. Wintergreen is useful for conditions such as headaches, stiff joints, muscle pain and anything that you would use aspirin for.
2. Oregano (also known as Marjoram — Origanum majorana). This aromatic herb is a member of the mint family and originated in Egypt and Arabia, and also is referred to as the “happiness herb” and “joy of the mountains.” Oregano essential oil is often used to treat muscle spasms, arthritis pain and migraines. It is also a well-known therapy for emotional trauma and distress as well as bronchitis and constipation.
3. Lavender (Lavendula). Not only is this highly fragrant and beautiful herb great for relaxation, but it also helps with pain relief, especially tension pain such as that accompanies headaches and muscle strains. Known endearingly as the “go-to” essential oil, lavender is often used for everything from dry or chapped skin to nosebleeds, nausea and hay fever. The relaxing aroma of this essential oil is both calming and balancing. Many people who experience frequent tension pain find that even just a whiff of lavender sets them back on course.
If you find yourself struggling with chronic pain, don’t think that you have to suffer or turn to medications with potentially harmful side effects. Look first to all the blessings that the Lord has given us in nature.
What essential oils do you use for chronic pain? Share your tips in the section below: