Article Reviewed & Updated - 10/14/2023
Medical Reviewer: Kari Haberman
Sciatica nerve pain can be so severe and debilitating, which can prevent you from doing any activities at all. And while many medical interventions can treat sciatica, most of them involve taking medications, steroid injections, and surgery.
In recent years, however, researchers have proven that there are effective essential oils for sciatica. One particular study pointed out the analgesic-like activity of essential oils which can be an indication of their therapeutic potential.
In this article, we will briefly discuss what sciatica is, what causes sciatica, and what are the non-pharmacological treatment options for sciatica pain, including seven best essential oils for sciatica.
We also included some recipes that you can try using essential oils for sciatica pain relief.
At the end of the article, you’ll see some of the advantages of using essential oils for sciatica pain and how to use them.
What is Sciatica?
The word “sciatica” refers to the pain that runs along the area where the sciatic nerve lies.
Sciatica is not a clinical diagnosis, but a medical term that pertains to the set of signs and symptoms that involves the sciatic nerve. This condition commonly occurs following a compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve.
Many triggers can cause sciatica to flare up, all of which involve impingement of the nerve.
The most common ones include injury or damage to the vertebra (herniated disc or bulge), stress or emotional anxiety, poor posture, wearing tight-fit clothing or footwear, sitting for long periods with hard objects in the back pocket, excessive weight, poor body mechanics, pregnancy, and depression.
Signs You May Have Sciatica
What are the Various Treatment Options for Sciatica Pain
Treatment and preventative options for sciatica start with adequate self-care and non-pharmacological or non-invasive methods.
The goal of sciatica symptoms treatment is to prevent flare-ups, improve function, correct the cause of the problem, and prevent further injury.
The good news is that the natural ways to relieve sciatica do not end there. According to a study, there is a significant therapeutic effect essential oils and aromatherapy can offer, compared to placebos and control treatments, in alleviating pain.
How to Use Essential Oils for Sciatic Nerve Pain?
You can use essential oils for aromatherapy or massage therapy. Some people benefit from a combination of these two.
When using essential oil recipes, be sure not to exceed the number of drops or the total amount of essential oils.
Pure essential oils are potent, and some carrier oils already include essential oils that are included in the recipe. So, always double-check the ingredients of the carrier oil of your choice if you are using one.
Keep in mind that essential oils are meant for external use only. So, do not swallow, apply to wounds and irritated or damaged skin areas. When applying, lightly rub the affected area and only reapply after a few hours.
Topical application allows the active ingredients of essential oils to seep deep into the area where they work and use their healing effects. To safely use essential oils, do not exceed twenty drops of essential oils in a single mixture in an ounce of carrier oil.
Cold or Warm Compress Therapy
Another option to use essentials oils for sciatica nerve pain is by utilizing cold or warm compress.
The cold or warm effects of this therapy minimize the risk of irritation to the essential oils.
If you do not know if you have sensitivity against essential oils, this can mitigate the effects of skin irritation.
You can use a warm compress using a warm or cold towel soaked with essential oil blends.
The safest method to utilize essential oils is aromatherapy. By using a diffuser or steamer, you can take advantage of the medical benefits they offer.
The respiratory system will receive and process the ingredients in the essential oils and deliver them to different areas in the body, including the sciatic area. When using aromatherapy, read the label on each bottle of essential oils and follow the instructions about the maximum drops or saturation allowed for each oil.
This treatment approach is the go-to option for those who have sensitive skin and those who do not like putting oils on the surface of the skin.
Seven Best Essential Oils for Sciatica Nerve Pain
Here are the seven most effective essential oils for sciatica back pain:
Eucalyptus essential oils that are 100% pure and natural, like one this from ArtNaturals, are known to be useful for muscle pain and nerve pain. It has a warming and soothing effect, as well as anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
With all its capabilities mentioned above, eucalyptus is the perfect choice to target sciatica symptoms of nerve pain and leg spams.
And even if you are not experiencing both symptoms at the same time, you can use eucalyptus essential oil to improve the circulation in your affected leg.
How does eucalyptus essential oil improve circulation?
Well, it promotes the flow of therapeutic cells in the area.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is probably the most popular essential oil for pain relief. It has anti-microbial properties and anti-inflammatory effects.
This oil is particularly recommended to those looking for pain relief such as headaches, muscle tensions, or spasms, as well as joint pains for arthritis.
Not only it can reduce sciatic back pain, but can also aid in relaxation and avoid sciatica triggers such as stress. If you think that your sciatica flares up due to emotional anxiety, lavender might be the perfect option for you.
People use peppermint oil to treat headaches as well as muscle and joint aches. However, peppermint’s positive effects do not end there.
This refreshing and uplifting essential oil, like this popular one from Majestic Pure Peppermint Oil, contains active ingredients that have pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. It works best with just 3 drops into a essential oil diffuser.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary is widely used as a kitchen spice, but like lavender, it works wonders when it comes to pain relief.
In fact, a study demonstrated that rosemary has analgesic effects and that it has therapeutic potential for relieving different kinds of pain. While rosemary can make you think about chicken with spices and herbs, it can be used to ease your sciatic pain too!
Wintergreen is one of the effective essential oil solutions for immediate pain relief. Although not a popular essential oil, it is highly effective. Why? Because it contains methyl salicylate, the main component and the active ingredient of aspirin.
It is particularly helpful to those who also experience leg spasms secondary to sciatica because it reduces the irritation and compression of the sciatic nerve. Aside from that, it can provide relief for other nerve pains, as well as arthritis, headaches, and dysmenorrhea.
Helichrysum Essential Oil
Many researchers report that helichrysum essential oil, like this one from NOW Essentials, may be the fastest acting pain relief compared to other essential oils.
It has anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, mild sedative, and analgesic properties. Plus, it also helps in cell regeneration, which may contribute to healthier nerve cell restoration following an injury.
Although its price is a little higher among other essential oils, many people prefer helichrysum essential oil. This preference is due to the fact that many sciatica patients claim to experience pain relief within minutes of oil application.
Ginger essential oils contain compounds called “sesquiterpene.” This compound lends the ginger essential oil its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmodic effects.
Commonly used as a warming essential oil to ease pain due to arthritis and other illnesses, ginger works best if mixed or used with other essential oils. If you are looking for a warming effect to soothe your sciatic pain, the ginger essential oil can do the job.
Best Home Remedies for Sciatica and Essential Oil Recipes to Try
Like we have mentioned previously, mixing essential oils can be beneficial to take advantage of their synergistic effect. Knowing this principle, we can use essential oil recipes for faster sciatic nerve pain relief.
Here are essential oil recipes that you can use as home remedies for your sciatica symptoms.
The mixtures below may include other essential oils that are not listed on the seven oils discussed previously. It is up to you to use essential oils without mixing them or try the mixtures and recipes shared by other patients who found relief for sciatica.
Basic Essential Oil Blend for Sciatica Nerve Pains
Not all of us have a complete collection of dozens of essential oils. So, if you are like some of us who have three or four types of essential oil in the cabinet, worry no more because here is a basic essential oil blend for sciatic pain relief:
1 teaspoon of carrier oil (you can choose from argan, coconut, jojoba, grapeseed, sesame, sweet almond, macadamia)
4 to 5 drops of rosemary
4 to 5 drops of peppermint
4 to 5 drops of lavender
1 small clean glass bottle
Pour the carrier oil of your choice into the clean glass bottle. Add four to five drops each of rosemary, peppermint, and lavender. Mix by gently rolling the bottle between your palms. Use when necessary.
Essential Oil Blend for Instant Sciatica Nerve Pain Relief
Here’s a recipe who want immediate pain relief from sciatic nerve pain:
1 empty glass bottle
4 to 5 drops of helichrysum essential oil
4 to 5 drops of lavender
1 ounce of carrier oil
Pour the helichrysum, lavender essential oil, and your preferred carrier oil in a small bottle. Roll the small bottle between your palms and massage the affected area gently.
Sciatica Nerve Pain Blend for Daily Use
If you want a general sciatica nerve pain blend that you can use for day to day basis, you can try this recipe:
4 drops of chamomile essential oil
3 drops of marjoram
3 drops of helichrysum essential oil
2 drops of lavender
15 ml of carrier oil
1 small glass spray bottle
Pour all of the ingredients above in the small glass spray bottle. Place the cap and shake well by rolling the spray bottle between your palms. Apply and gently massage on areas where you experience nerve pain.
Massage Therapy Recipe for Sciatic Pain
This recipe is perfect for those who want to massage essential oils instead of using them for aromatherapy.
4 drops of geranium
4 drops helichrysum essential oil
4 drops of peppermint
4 drops of juniper berry
4 drops of cypress essential oil
1 ounce of sweet almond oil (carrier oil)
1 empty glass bottle
Mix all the ingredients in a small, spill-proof a glass bottle. Re-cap the container and roll between your palms to combine all ingredients well. Massage on areas to relieve pain. Wash hands right after use and always keep away from eyes, open wounds, and mucous membranes. If the pain is too severe, refrain from massaging the area.
Cold Compress Blend for Sciatica Pain Relief
If you want to try a different approach to sciatica pain relief aside from massage therapy or aromatherapy, you can try this method. Simply gather the ingredients below (alternative ingredients you can use below):
1 small clean towel
1 large bowl of water half-filled with ice cubes
1 tablespoon of carrier oil (of your choice)
7 drops of cypress essential oil
6 drops of peppermint
5 drops of wintergreen essential oil
Mix the essential oils all together in a large bowl of water with ice cubes. Stir the mixture to combine all ingredients. Dip the small towel into the bowl then squeeze out excess fluids. After that, place the towel on unaffected areas for fifteen minutes.
You can use this type of treatment every four to five hours. Cold compress therapy is especially useful to those who have just started feeling the symptoms of sciatica. It will aid in slowing down inflammation.
What are the Advantages of Using Essential Oils for Sciatica Pain?
Many essential oils not only aid in pain relief but also help reduce inflammation. They contain active ingredients that can bring down swelling and relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Some essential oils, if mixed together, offer far more significant effects.
That is why, with the right blend, you can prevent episodes of sciatic nerve pain and prevent further damage from nerve irritation.
Factors to Consider Before Using Essential Oils for Sciatica
We hope that you enjoyed reading essential oil recipes for sciatica pain treatment at home. The use of essential oils for sciatica is recommended to those who prefer natural ways of treating sciatica.
However, it is vital to note that the effects of one treatment approach may differ from person to person.
Other sciatica pain sufferers may do best with a different kind of method or a combination of treatments. Some essential oils for sciatica pain may not be suitable for pregnant women, and some may be contraindicated to individuals with certain medical conditions.
So before using any of the essential oils or recipes listed above, be sure to discuss your options with your primary care doctor.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your "back pain-free" Board!!