There’s nothing worse than feeling a pain that just doesn’t seem to go away, especially when it begins to limit your mobility.
For many Americans, this kind of pain is a daily occurrence. In fact, 25% of American men and women experience daily pain (1).
Chances are, if you’ve never experienced chronic pain, you will at some point in your life. The Nation Health Institute estimates that 4 in 5 Americans will suffer from disabling back pain during their lifetimes. One of the most common causes of this pain is sciatica.
What Is Sciatica?
According to the Mayo Clinic, sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. This pain typically only affects one side of your body(2).
The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating pain when you cough or sneeze, and prolonged sitting can aggravate symptoms (3).
- Constant shooting pain in only one side of the lower back, buttock or leg (rarely can occur in both legs)
- Deep, severe pain starting low on one side of the back
- A cramping sensation in the thigh
- Leg pain that is often described as burning, tingling or searing
- Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
- Difficulty standing up or walking
- Having trouble controlling your bowels or bladder
This pain if often caused by spinal disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, spinal Stenosis, spondylolisthesis, piriformis syndrome, pregnancy, tumors or injury.
The condition is often treated with muscle relaxants, narcotics, tricyclic antidepressants, anti-seizure medications and surgery (6). Alternative therapies include acupuncture, massage therapy, physical therapy, stretching and chiropractic treatment.
How To Use Essential Oils
Essential oils have been an integral part of natural medicine since the dawn of civilization. Unlike conventional medicine, essential oils often have more than one main purpose, meaning that you can use each oil to treat multiple ailments.
When it comes to Sciatica and other chronic conditions, essential oils offer a safer alternative to addictive prescription and over the counter pain medication.
Here are two highly effective pain-relieving combinations.
1. Peppermint & Helichrym
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) has a cooling and anti-inflammatory affect on swollen tissues. It also has anaesthetic, analgesic and antispasmodic effect. The oil even heals neurological conditions like migraines (7,8).
Helichrym italicum is a non-toxic and non-irritating oil often used in massage therapy to heal muscular-skeletal pain. The oil relieves inflammation, relaxes tight muscles and connective tissue, prevents blood clots and promotes cellular regeneration. It also treats bruises, burns, depression and boosts detoxification (9,10).
- For occasional use, mix 2 or 3 drops of each oil into a small glass bottle and mix. Rub the mixture directly into your skin for quick pain relief.
- For regular use, dilute the oils in 5-10 parts castor or jojoba oil. Massage the oil into your skin and cover with a hot towel or water bottle for 10-15 minutes to help ease pain and encourage oil absorption.
2. Lavender, Geranium, Black Pepper & Rosemary
Lavender (Lavandula officinalis) is useful in treating spasms, sprains, strains, cramps, muscular contractions, lumbago, muscular aches and pains, sciatica and neuralgia. It has anti-inflammatory properties that ease swollen muscles, coumarin compounds that thin the blood and lower blood pressure as well as sedative properties that relieve nervous tension and insomnia (11,12).
Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) has analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties that help to treat neuralgia.
Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) relaxes overused muscles and prevents spasms, strains and cramps.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) fights pains, swelling and spasms. It also has a relaxing smell that promotes a feeling of well-being and eases muscle tension.
- Fill a small glass bottle with a lid with about 1 ounce of jojoba or olive oil
- Add 5 drops of each essential oil.
- To use, gently massage a small amount of the oil into your skin.