Most people will experience back pain at some point in their lives.  Our sedentary lifestyles can contribute to the problem. Back pain can make the most basic things like sitting or lying down difficult. 

There are medicines and surgeries that may help in some circumstances. Essential oils may also help with back pain and may have fewer side effects. It’s best to discuss the treatment options with your doctor.  

If you have decided to take a more natural approach to manage your back pain, let me tell you about the best essential oils for back pain and give you some tips to reduce back pain.

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are compounds taken from plants.  The oils capture the natural essence and beneficial properties of that plant.  When you use essential oils as a treatment, it is referred to as aromatherapy.

Remember essential oils are potent and your skin may be sensitive to certain essential oils.  You need to always dilute the oil with massage lotion or carrier oil before applying to the skin.  Then, be on the lookout for symptoms of irritation such as rash, hives, redness, swelling, or itchiness.

Note: Many essential oils are considered cosmetics and are not regulated for safety or effectiveness.  Don’t try to treat a medical condition with essential oils without consulting a doctor.

How Can Essential Oils Help With Back Pain?

Studies show that with aromatherapy there is a significant positive effect in reducing pain. Certain essential oils can reduce inflammation which can, in turn, provide pain relief.

In addition to the physical benefits of essential oils, some may also improve your mental health by boosting your mood and helping you to relax.  Additionally, there are some oils that will increase your energy levels. 

The Best Essential Oils for Back Pain

Luckily, there are many different essential oils that can help with back pain.  This list is not all-inclusive but contains my favorites. 

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is one of the best choices for aromatherapy. Lavender essential oil is distilled from the plant Lavandula angustifolia lavender essential oil is believed to treat anxiety, fungal infections, allergies, sleep deficiency like insomnia. It is widely used because of its multiple health benefits and mesmerizing smell.

Peppermint Oil

Even just the word peppermint in itself can conjure a vivid image and scent, can’t it? We have menthol, its active ingredient, to thank for this.

Aside from the invigorating scent of menthol in peppermint essential oil, this active ingredient is also a mild analgesic and antispasmodic that can reduce pain, pressure, and tension. The cooling effect that comes with it can soothe and relieve weary and sore bodies while also calming the mind.

Turmeric Essential Oil

The wonders of this Indian herb aren’t at all a secret. It has been used for thousands of years as a dying agent, as a spice, and for its healing properties—it’s actually one of the most used herbs in Ayurvedic medicine.

This oil extracted from the root of the turmeric plant has strong antibiotic, antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. Its chemical properties can block enzymes that damage muscles and bones making it a great pain reliever for patients with arthritis.

Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary is truly one of mother nature’s amazing herbs. This earthy essential oil has high contents of antioxidants making it an effective anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic agent.

A particular antioxidant in rosemary, carnosol, is a well-known anti-inflammatory substance making it great for relieving muscle pain caused by inflammation.

Clove Essential Oil

Clove essential oil is one of the strongest natural pain relievers. As a mild anti-neuralgic, it can temporarily numb the skin when applied topically providing much-needed relief from pain.

Also known for its warming effects in the body, clove essential oil can revitalize and relieve sore and aching muscles, loosening them up to allow tension and pressure release. It also has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties.

Black Pepper Essential Oil

Who knew one of the most common spices used in households can actually be made into a pain-relieving essential oil?

Black pepper essential oil is great for post-workout muscle pain, arthritic pain, sore muscles, and rheumatic conditions. Additionally, its warming effects can also improve blood circulation.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil may be best known for clearing chest and sinus congestion, but it also soothes other physical discomforts. Its anti-inflammatory properties will help relieve relieving aches, nerve and muscle pains, and stiffness. 

Frankincense Oil

Frankincense can help ease tension, reduce inflammation, and promote ongoing pain relief.  Try blending it with Lavender and Peppermint oil for a unique pain-fighting mixture.

Chamomile Oil

Chamomile contains anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving compounds, in addition to having antioxidant compounds. It is soothing, calming, and has been found to support joint health.

Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass essential oil is extracted from the leaves and stalks of the lemongrass plant and has a powerful, citrusy scent. Lemongrass has antioxidants that fight with radicals and repair damaged cells in your body. It is a natural pain relaxer.

Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood oil is traditionally used for centuries. In east India, sandalwood oil has been a popular ingredient in Ayurveda medicine, which is an ancient medical medicine branch. Most people use sandalwood in their day-to-day life for holistic spiritual traditions.

How to Use Essential Oil for Back Pain

If you want to use essential oils to help with your back pain, here are three different ways you can do it:

Diffuser: Use a diffuser (like this one) to breathe in the scent from the oil.  Since the oil is not applied to your body, this could be a good option for those with sensitive skin.

Bath: Add essential oils to a bath.  You only need 6-8 drops to feel the benefits.  Combine the essential oil with a few tablespoons of milk and then add it to the water.  Be sure to mix the water so that the essential oils are evenly distributed. Consider using essential oils during your daily shower.

Diluted: Apply essential oils (diluted with a lotion or carrier oil) to the skin.  You can use essential oils in massage.


Some essential oils, some ways to use them and some complementary tools to get your back feeling better and get you feeling more mobile and at ease.

While this post covered a lot of ways to reduce the pain and get you feeling better now, we didn’t touch on prevention or dive into ways to seriously treat your condition (to prevent it from recurring).

Essential oils are great for pain management and soothing discomfort associated with backaches – but you’ll want to keep learning about your condition if you want to be free from back pain for good!