What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is an ailment where pain radiates along the sciatic nerve, which is felt in the lower back and through the buttocks and hips, spanning along each leg. The pain normally affects one side of the body.
Sciatica commonly happens when some type of inflammation or compression affects the spine. A number of essential oils can be used to treat the pain associated with the condition.
Signs and Symptoms
If you are experiencing pain that radiates from the lower spine to the buttock and down the leg, you probably have the condition. Usually, the calf and thigh are affected as well.
The pain that is felt can vary from a mild aching sensation to a sharp, needle-like, inflamed feeling. Sometimes, sciatica can feel almost the same as an electric shock and may become worse if the patient sneezes or coughs. If you sit for too long, you can worsen the pain. One side of the body is normally affected.
Causes of Sciatica
This nerve condition often happens when a bone spur or herniated disc on the spine compresses a nerve. Spinal stenosis or a narrowing of the spine causes sciatica as well. When this occurs, inflammation, numbness, or pain affects the leg.
While sciatica pain can be quite severe, this disorder usually resolves itself over time. People who experience sciatica that is accompanied by leg weakness or bladder or bowel changes may need surgery.
Facts about Sciatica
While mild sciatica usually resolves itself, you should contact your physician if your measures toward self-care do not work. If the pain lasts over a week or becomes progressively worse, you need to seek medical help.
If you experience a severe, sudden pain in your lower back or leg and muscle weakness in your leg simultaneously, you should consult with a doctor. You should also obtain help if the pain follows an injury that resulted from a severe accident. Anyone who has trouble controlling his or her bladder or bowels needs to contact a doctor without delay.
You are at an increased risk for experiencing sciatica if you are older or you are obese. People who are older often experience age-associated changes to their spines, such as bone spurs or herniated discs. People who are carrying excess body weight often place additional pressure on the spine, which causes sciatica.
The type of job you do can also increase your risk of experiencing sciatica. A job that involves twisting the back or carrying a heavy load may cause pain and discomfort to the spine. People who drive cars or trucks for a long period of time may also experience the condition.
Some people who sit for prolonged periods will experience sciatica. People with a more sedentary lifestyle are more affected by the condition. Active people often can bypass the problem as they are not placing pressure on the spine for a long period of time.
People who are diabetics may be more prone to developing sciatica. Because the body does not produce blood sugar correctly, it increases the risk of nerve damage.
Sciatica may lead to permanent nerve damage. You should seek medical treatment immediately if you lose feeling in an affected leg or you are experiencing weakness at the site.
It is important to exercise regularly to keep your back and spine strong and healthy. When engaging in exercise, you need to focus on your core muscles, which are the muscles of the lower back and abdomen. Doing so is needed for proper alignment. You should ask your doctor to recommend the exercises.
You need to use the right body mechanics to avoid sciatica pain. If you stand for long periods of time, you should make sure that you rest one of your feet on a small box or a stool. When lifting anything heavy, make sure that you use your lower extremities. Move the item and do not twist. Keep the back straight and only bend your knees.
Make sure the object is held close to the body. Any awkward lifting or twisting should be avoided. If necessary, you should have someone help you lift extremely heavy objects.
Essential Oils for Sciatica
Essential oils derived from plants have a wide range of therapeutic benefits including pain relief. Many essential oils have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties as well as antispasmodic actions that can help manage chronic pain including sciatica and arthritis.
Studies have demonstrated that a number of essential oils including lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus are effective in relieving back pain and could be an effective weapon against sciatica. (1)
The following essential oils will assist you in overcoming sciatica pain. Use them for their refreshing scents and anti-inflammatory properties. By taking this step, you will find that your sciatica pain will eventually resolve itself and you can enjoy life without pain and discomfort.
Ginger Essential Oil
This oil is often used to treat digestive upset but it can also be used to treat and manage painful conditions such as sciatica and rheumatoid arthritis.
Ginger essential oil is known for its potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties which are just perfect for relieving the pain and inflammation associated with sciatica. This wonderful oil can also helps heal joint, muscle, and nerve pain.
Ginger may be a popular kitchen condiment but its essential oil is very powerful and should never be taken internally. Ginger essential oil should also be diluted in a suitable carrier oil before you apply it to your skin. To treat sciatica and back pain, you can either apply diluted ginger oil in the form of a massage or add a few drops to a warm compress treatment.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil has a distinctive, refreshing scent because it contains menthol. It is also known to be an antispasmodic. In addition, people use the oil for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions.
This is why many of the products in today’s marketplace contain peppermint. The cooling sensation of the oil can calm the nervous tension brought on by sciatica. The oil can also prevents muscle spasms that may people with sciatica suffer with.
You can massage peppermint essential oil into the affected area as long as you dilute it first with a suitable carrier oil. peppermint essential oil is stringer than many others so it is important to dilute it well. It can also cause an allergic reaction in many people so you should perform a patch test on a discrete area of skin before going any further.
If the pain is too great for you to tolerate a massage, you can add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to a home made compress and apply the compress to the affected area.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
This therapeutic oil is well-known for its excellent anti-inflammatory effects.. Similar to peppermint essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil confers a wonderful cooling sensation when it is applied to the skin. This cooling effect reduces the irritation of the sciatic nerve and can help relieve both pain and inflammation.
Make sure that you dilute your eucalyptus essential oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil before applying it to your skin.
Marjoram Essential Oil
This oil is ideal for back pain because it is soothing and warming. It is used to ease pains connected with the muscles and the joints. Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, marjoram essential oil quickly reduces the pain associated with sciatica.
Before applying marjoram essential oil to your skin, you should always dilute it with a suitable carrier oil such as olive oil, coconut oil or jojoba oil.
Chamomile Essential Oil
This oil is produced in one of two varieties, Roman chamomile oil or German chamomile oil. The Roman chamomile oil and German chamomile oil are derived from different plants but both have very similar therapeutic properties.
Both feature analgesic properties that can alleviate joint or muscle pains. Of the two oils, German chamomile oil has stronger anti-inflammatory properties and is recommended for more severe back pain. The Roman chamomile oil is used to calm the nerves and restore balance.
Whichever of these two wonderful oils you choose, you should always dilute it with a suitable carrier oil before applying it to your skin.
Rosemary Essential Oil
This essential oil is often used in cooking but it has a wide variety of excellent therapeutic benefits. It also features strong analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties which are is ideal for treating painful conditions like sciatica as well as other types of pain including muscle pain and joint pain.
You can apply rosemary oil topically to reduce both aches and pain as long as you dilute it first in a carrier oil.
Wintergreen Essential Oil
Wintergreen essential oil may not be the most popular of oils but it is a very effective pain killer. As well as its analgesic properties, wintergreen essential oil is also an effective antispasmodic and is suitable for a range of painful conditions including sciatica, muscle pain and arthritis.
Wintergreen essential oil also has natural anti-inflammatory effects on the joints, muscles and nerves and it also has sedative effects which can help calm your mind as well as treating your body.
Clove Essential Oil
Clove essential oil is yet another effective remedy for many painful conditions including sciatica. Possibly best-known for its use in treating oral pain, clove essential oil can also be applied to the body to treat muscle, joint and nerve pain.
Clove essential oil also helps improve the circulation of blood to the affected area and helps boost the oxygen supply delivered to the damaged tissue.
Like all the other oils in this list, it is important to dilute your clove essential oil before applying it to your skin.
How to Use Essential Oils for Sciatica
Because all the essential oils that are listed above are potent, they offer multiple types of relief for symptoms associated with nerve or joint pain. Some of the active compounds in the oil soothe the muscles and relax the nerves while other oils stimulate the body and mind.
You can use chamomile oil as a pain reliever but you need to be careful if you have a ragweed allergy. You may have an allergic reaction to the oil. That is because chamomile is part of the ragweed family. If you have this condition, you may want to consider one of the other oils for your sciatica pain.
Blend the oils, if desired, to take advantage of the combined and potent qualities. If you would like to find out more about blending the oils, ask a professional such as an aromatherapist.
To apply the oils, a topical application is advised. You can use the oils, when diluted, directly on the site of the pain or you can add a recipe of the oils in the bath. Doing so will provide relaxation and help you calm the nerve and the pain.
You should always dilute the oils with a carrier oil when they are applied topically. You can choose from one of several carrier oils for this purpose. Doing so will keep you from experiencing burns or skin irritations. A carrier oil is suggested when you use an oil for aromatherapy too.
Selecting the Right Carrier Oil
Choose a carrier oil such as jojoba oil or coconut oil. If you are not sure of what carrier oil to choose, coconut oil is always a reliable option but there are many more to choose from. Other popular carrier oils include sweet almond, jojoba, olive oil, castor oil and avocado oil.
Diluting the essential oils is necessary to ensure that the oils can be applied safely. These carrier oils also have therapeutic benefits in their own right so make sure that you purchase the best quality carrier oil.
You will find that a topical application of a blend of essential oils and a carrier oil will take care of your sciatica pain and alleviate any further joint problems. Besides treating the pain with essential oils, you need to make sure that you use your body correctly. Whether you are at work or are engaging in a physical leisure activity, you need to make sure that you are treating your back kindly.
Take time to assess the essential oils you will need to use. Talk to an aromatherapist about developing a recipe that you can apply directly to your back and can inhale if needed. If you apply an essential oil blend to the bathwater, you can enjoy the benefits of a topical application as well as the advantages of aromatherapy.
Do all you can to research and find out what you can about the available oils. it may also take a little trial and error before you find the most effective essential oil to relieve your pain.
Have you ever used an essential oil for sciatica or any other type of back pain? Please let us know which oil you found most effective and tell us how you used it. We would be very happy to hear from you and can add your favorite oil to our list.
If you would like to learn more about other home remedies for sciatica, click on the link.