We’ve all suffered from pain at one time or another. While there are many effective treatments for pain, over-the-counter as well as prescription, many have negative side effects and it can be difficult to justify using them too often or at all times. For many of us the medication used to control the discomfort from pain associated with stress and/or inflammation, can cause side effects that are as detrimental as the pain itself. For muscle spasms, it isn’t always practical, and indeed it can be dangerous, to take muscle relaxants or strong pain medication, especially when we need to focus as is necessary when working, driving or using machinery.
Aromatherapy can be extremely effective in controlling pain, especially discomfort aggravated by stress or inflammation. A number of essential oils, while maintaining balance and safety, are as effective as many of the medication currently prescribed for pain. While Aromatherapy is largely associated with essential oils, literally translated, aromatherapy is the therapy of aroma. There are some scents when inhaled through our nasal passages, to the olfactory glands actually trigger the limbic system, which directly affects the amygdale, the brain’s “emotional center.” The thinking part of the brain can’t inhibit this process so the effects of scent our felt immediately. This is probably why smelling some scents immediately relax you, before you even realize that they did so.
Some researchers have found that the smell of green apples can reduce or eliminate pain associated with migraines and joint pain. It is believed that the fragrance can reduce the muscle contractions which may cause and can certainly exacerbate pain associated with a migraine or muscle spasms.
Many essential oils have anti-inflammatory properties. One of the most well-known and widely used is Lavender. Lavender has many wonderful qualities, including anti-microbial, calming, cell-regenerating and, unlike some essential oils, can actually be applied directly to the skin. Lavender is an effective remedy to treat muscle spasms, sprains, strains, cramps, contractions and rheumatic pain. A drop or two of Lavender rubbed on the temples can do wonders to relieve a headache, and some argue that it is more effective and faster acting than aspirin or ibuprofen.
The tiny, beautifully scented daisy-like blossoms of chamomile pack a powerful anti-inflammatory punch as well. Chamomile is effective in treating headaches, neuralgia, muscle pain, including pain of the lumbar region of the back. It has also proven to be effective in treating the symptoms of Temporomandibular joint syndrome, better known as “TMJ.” Chamomile is also frequently used to relieve menstrual cramping, also known as dysmennorhea.
There are many other essential oils that are used to treat muscle spasms and aches, cramping, stiffness, sprains, neuromuscular contractions, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, migraine and most any discomfort related to inflammation or tension. Some of the essential oils that have the most profound effect on pain from the above ailments are clary sage, helichrysum, sweet marjoram, sandalwood, vetiver, neroli and ylang-ylang.