The spinal column is where many types of back pain is associated. It is a major structural member of our human anatomy. The spinal column also contains the spinal cord which is a the main part of the central nervous system. The central nervous system is a conduit for communication between the peripheral nervous system (namely the limbs, organs, and glands) and the brain.
Back pain can come from any injury or disease in the disks, spinal cord, or vertebrae. When injury or disease happens to the spin it can lead to incorrect function or “mixed signals” to the other parts of the nervous system and thus the whole body. Below is a list of names of common back problems.
Muscles in the back can become strained from heavy lifting, awkward lifting, repeated uncomfortable back positions, over exertion, a fall or other type of accident. These actions can result in days of aching pain.
Auto crashes are the common cause of whiplash. It is a result of an abrupt jerking motion of the head which causes an injury in the neck.
The spine possesses flexibility and cushion because its disks. A car accident or degeneration from age can result in damage. The disc in the spine may weaken with age which causes it to bulge or flatten. The flattening may result in causing bone to bone contact between vertebrae and can become a large source of pain. Pressure may be put on nearby nerves if bulging occurs and can be another large source of pain. A disc may rupture if bulging adds up enough which is called a herniated disc. A herniated disc may be achy and dull in some cases. It may become a sharp and shooting pain in acute situations.
There is a large nerve pair that goes through the lower spine to the legs and feet which is called the sciatic nerve. The sciatic transitions form different locations in the lower back, namely the L4, L5, and S1 locations. These locations may be susceptible to stress from pressure that is applied in this area. Pain, numbness, or weakness in the lower back may come from a pinched nerve or damaged nerve.
Facet joints link the vertebrae together. With arthritis or age, these joints can degenerate. These joints can become painful or inflamed because of the degeneration. Remaining in one position or sitting in a position for too long can trigger the pain however flexing or standing can provide some pain relief to the back. In time this can lead to what is called osteoarthritis.
As the facet joints deteriorate the body may try to compensate by producing a bony growth commonly called a bone spur. This bony structure can narrow the passages that nerves go through and result in pressure on those nerves.
Failed Back Syndrome
Many journals now list this as a common back problem. This is the result of back surgery that has left the person with no improvement or even a worsened condition. Statistics now suggest that this happens in 15 to 40 percent of back surgeries.
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of any of the channels that carry nerves which put pressure on the nerves. It is a term that applies to many of the conditions above. It may result in pain, numbness and/or loss of strength in limbs and can affect bowel functions and bladder.
The Central Nervous System (brain and spinal cord) are connected to other parts of the body through the Peripheral Nervous System. If damage is done to the spine it can have an effect on other parts of the body. The chart below is a simplified diagram of where various nerves leave the spinal column traveling to other limbs, organs, and glands of the body.
Please note: The information provided below is a compilation of suggestions made by those that have used essential oils and has NOT been scientifically verified with clinical tests nor reviewed by medical experts. It is anecdotal information and should be treated as such. For serious medical concerns please seek professional medical attention.
Essential Oils to Use:
Oils & Blends: a Grounding Blend, Birch, a Soothing Blend, Frankincense, Helichrysum, White Fir, Wintergreen
Also consider: Basil, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon, Marjoram, Myrrh, Oregano (use Oregano topically with a carrier oil such as coconut oil because it is a hot oil), Peppermint, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Thyme
Back pain many times includes the following scenario:
- There is an injury or degeneration that leads to damage of nerve, muscle, or connecting tissue. With the back most commonly nerve pressure or damage is involved.
- Pain may be accompanied by loss of feeling and/or loss of strength
- Inflammation compounds the pressure on the nerve
- As the back muscles try to compensate there are often muscle spasms or cramps in the back area that add additional pressure and intense pain.
This leads to the conclusion that the protocol should include:
- Oils for immediate pain relief
- Oils for inflammation reduction
- Oils to relax muscles and eliminate the spasms
- Oils for increased circulation to facilitate quicker healing
- Oils that heal and rebuild the damaged tissue
BEST TO START HERE:
- The single best possible step is to get an oil massage. Daily if possible. Follow with a hot compress.
- Supplement this with the oils listed below.
THEN COMBINE WITH THESE (as necessary):
Oils for Immediate Pain Relief:
- A Soothing Blend, Birch, Peppermint, or Wintergreen
- Apply 2-3 drops topically to the area where the pain is manifested as often as required or use a Soothing Blend Rub. (For some Wintergreen may need to be applied with a carrier oil such a coconut oil)
- To make the a massage blend or other oils and blends applied to the back more effective use a hot compress after the application to send the oils deeper into the muscles and tissues.
Oils to Reduce Inflammation:
- Basil, Bergamot, Black Pepper, Myrrh, Roman Chamomile, Rosemary, or Wintergreen
- Apply topically to spinal area. This is the location on the spine where the nerve is being pinched and will probably be different that where numbness or lack of strength or even muscle cramps occur. For example, if numbness and loss of strength is in the leg then the lower back area where the sciatic nerve originates may well be where there is nerve compression. Two or three drops topically 2-3 times daily. (For some Wintergreen may need to be applied with a carrier oil such as coconut oil.)
Oils to Relax Muscles and Eliminate Spasms:
- A Massage Blend, Lime, Marjoram, Roman Chamomile
- Apply 2-3 drops topically to the area where the spasm is occurring.
Oils to Increase Circulation:
- Cypress, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lemon, or Peppermint
- Apply 2-3 drops topically to the spinal area 2-3 times per day
Oils to heal and regenerate tissue:
- Frankincense, Helichrysum, or Sandalwood
- Apply 1-2 drops topically to the spinal area 2-3 times per day followed by a hot compress
- Baths with oils will help relaxation
- Diffusion of Lavender or other relaxing oils at bed time will help
Experiences & Testimonials
Please note: The information provided below is a compilation of the experiences of others who have used essential oils and has NOT been scientifically verified with clinical tests nor reviewed by medical experts. It is anecdotal information and should be treated as such. For serious medical concerns please seek professional medical attention.
Daniel – My sweet daughter rags on me quite a bit because I”m always sharing some kind of testimony about the oils – she loves to roll her eyes because these oils “just can’t POSSIBLY do all the things I say they are doing!” She injured her back today and came to me quite nervous that she was really in trouble. She actually wanted me to use the oils on her. We only had a quick minute so I didn’t have time to do a complete oil massage with oils so I just grabbed the strongest oil I felt I had for her problem. This was Birch. I quickly put a few drops on her lower back where the pain was so intense. In less than five minutes she came to me, biting her tongue I know, and told me the pain was gone!