Back Pain Essential Oil Usage
Back pain is a common term covering a wide variety of situations primarily centered around the spinal column. The spinal column is not only a major structural member of the human anatomy but it also houses the spinal cord, a key part of the Central Nervous System and the primary conduit for exchange of information between the Peripheral Nervous System (limbs, organs, and glands) and the brain. Injury or disease to the vertebrae, discs, or the spinal cord can all be the source of back pain. Also, since nerve signals from the Peripheral Nervous System travel through the spinal column, injury or disease of the spine can lead to improper function or “mixed signals” in these other parts of the body. Listed below are common types of back problems and also a simplified chart showing which of the vertebrae is the critical point where nerves leave the spinal column to service various parts of the body.
With heavy or awkward lifting, repeated uncomfortable actions, over exertion, or with a fall or other type of accident the muscles in the back can be strained resulting in aching pain that can last for days.
This is the common term for the injury resulting from an abrupt jerking motion of the head resulting in an injury to the neck. Common in our day of auto crashes.
The disks between the vertebrae provide a cushion and flexibility to the spine. They may be damaged through accident or degenerate with age. Typically with age the outer covering of the disc will weaken causing the disc to bulge and to flatten. The flattening can eventually cause bone to bone contact between vertebrae and become a source of pain. The bulging can put pressure on the adjacent nerves and be another source of pain. If the bulging adds enough pressure the disc may rupture which is termed a herniated disc. The pain in these cases can be dull and achy or become sharp and shooting in acute situations.
Sciatica (see also Sciatica)
The sciatic nerve is a large nerve pair that travels from the lower spine to the legs and feet. The nerve transitions from the spine from the L4, L5, and S1 locations which are in the lower part of the back. These are structurally susceptible to stress with all the pressure that can be applied to this part of the back. If the nerves are pinched or damaged it will result in pain, numbness, or weakness in any area from the lower back to the feet.
The vertebrae are linked together with the facet joints (see diagram). These joints can degenerate with arthritis or age. As they degenerate they can become inflamed and painful. Prolonged sitting or remaining in one position can exacerbate the pain and standing or flexing the back can provide some relief. Over time this can lead to 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.
This is a narrowing of any of the channels that carry nerves thereby putting pressure on the nerves. It is a term that applies to many of the conditions above. It can result in pain, numbness and/or loss of strength in limbs and can affect bladder and bowel functions as well.
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.
Back Pain Essential Oil Usage
Back pain many times includes the following scenario:
1) 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.
2) Pain may be accompanied by loss of feeling and/or loss of strength
3) Inflammation compounds the pressure on the nerve
4) 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:
1) Oils for immediate pain relief
2) Oils for inflammation reduction
3) Oils to relax muscles and eliminate the spasms
4) Oils for increased circulation to facilitate quicker healing
5) Oils that heal and rebuild the damaged tissue
BEST TO START HERE:
· The single best possible step is to use the AromaTouch Technique described elsewhere on this website. 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:
· Deep Blue, Birch, or Wintergreen
· Apply 2 -3 drops topically to the area where the pain is manifested as often as required or use Deep Blue Rub. (For some Wintergreen may need to be applied with a carrier.)
· To make the AromaTouch Technique or other oils and blends applied to the back more effective use a hot compress after the application to drive the oils deeper into the tissues and muscles.
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.)
Oils to relax muscles and eliminate spasms:
· AromaTouch, Lime, Marjoram, Roman Chamomile
· Apply 2 - 3 drops topically to the area where the spasm is occurring.
Oils to increase circulation:
· Citrus Bliss, 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 Citrus Bliss, Lavender, or other relaxing oils at bed time will help
For Bone Spurs:
see Bone Spurs
For Broken Bones:
See Broken Bones