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5 Essential Oils for Overcoming Chronic Pain

By Jodi Cohen

A woman sitting on a rock with mountains in the background.

Chronic pain, or pain that doesn’t go away, can be triggered by physical ailments such as nerve pain, joint pain, fibromyalgia or migraine pain — or mental anguish like intense trauma, grief or depression.

Chronic pain can feel unbearable and can limit your capacity to function, interfering with your ability to work, to interact with your family, or even to take care of yourself.  What’s more, the mental challenge of living with chronic pain can contribute to irritability, anger, fatigue, or difficulty concentrating.  Chronic pain can trigger other mood related issues, like anxiety, panic attacks and depression. Essential oils for chronic pain can help!


Essential Oils for Chronic Pain

Essential oils can be extremely supportive for chronic pain conditions as they possess both powerful pain relieving properties to reduce physical pain and inflammation, as well as potent emotional supporting qualities to calm anxiety and stress and promote physical and mental relaxation.

On the physical level, essential oils support natural pain relief as they possess:

  • Analgesic qualities that help dull pain,
  • Anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation that can contribute to pain
  • Antimicrobial properties to support underlying infections that contribute to painful conditions.


Several research studies support the use of essential oils to assist with pain.  Essential oil blends, i.e. the combination of oils, often prove to be the most effective in lowering the pain threshold which is one of the reasons that Vibrant Blue Oils sells primarily blends.

For example, a 2010 study from Louisiana State University found that a blend of geranium, lavender, bergamot, tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils lowered pain levels in 93% of the patients within 30 minutes of topical application.

Topically applied essential oil blends are especially effective because they by-pass your digestive system and can penetrate cells quickly where they are absorbed directly into your blood stream.  Further, as natural remedies derived from plants, essential oils rarely trigger side effects or lead to addiction.

Finally, essential oils work on the emotional level, providing relief not only from the physical discomfort of chronic pain, but also the anxiety and stress that come along with it.


5 Essential Oils for Chronic Pain

Living with chronic pain requires serious coping strategies.  Essential oils are well suited to be used in combination with the 5 coping strategies I have identified below:


1. Calm the Nervous System

Pain perception is a key component of chronic pain.  Pain is a signal from your brain to your body communicated through the nervous system, including the vagus nerve which serves as the on/off switch for the parasympathetic branch of your nervous system. When  nerve signals are damaged, as can be the case with Vagus Nerve toxicity, pain perception can be impacted.

When you calm your brain by helping it drop into the parasympathetic state by applying Parasympathetic® over the vagus nerve (behind earlobe on mastoid bone), you help calm your pain.  Research on high anxiety subjects found that their pain perception dropped significantly when they were in the parasympathetic state.  Extreme athletes also recover more quickly from exercise when they activate the Parasympathetic state. Read More about how Parasympathetic® oil can help calm pain HERE.


2. Support Your Breath

Deep breathing can help your body relax, and allow you to breathe through the pain.  Breathe carries nourishing oxygen into our systems and releases toxins from our bodies with the exhale.  The lungs are also the organ associated with grief.  Supporting the lungs and optimal breathing helps us release painful emotions and work through trauma.

To support your breath, apply Lung Support™ or Breathe™ over the lungs 2 – 3 times daily.  These blends are especially helpful in combination with meditation, yoga or other exercise. Focusing on your breath, ignoring thoughts, and repeating a word or phrase, like a mantra, may help your body relax.


3. Reduce Stress

Stress can actually intensify your pain as it creates muscle tension, which can increase the amount of pain you feel. Stress also feeds anxiety which contributes to mental pain, PTSD, grief, and depression.

Research has correlated increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol with increased levels chronic pain.  One study of teenagers with sickle cell disease found that higher levels of daily stress were associated with increases in same-day pain levels.  Another study found that people with chronic pain had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.  To help control stress, consider Parasympathetic®, applied over the vagus nerve, along with Hypothalamus™ and Adrenal® blends.


4.    Promote Sleep

The quality of your sleep has a direct impact on the intensity of your pain. Research shows that one of the most important predictors for pain intensity is the number of hours slept the night before.  Sleep is the time during which your body and brain gets to rest, repair and heal.  If you cut that time short by limiting the duration of your sleep or compromising the quality of your sleep, your ability to deal with chronic pain will be compromised.

If you struggle to fall asleep, consider applying Circadian Rhythm® blend to specific locations on the head (top of the skull and on the skull right above the ears), along with Sleep™ or Calm™ to calm the body and the mind before bed.  If you wake up in the middle of the night, it can often be attributed to:

  • Blood Sugar Issues: which can be supported with Pancreas™ blend, especially when you wake up and feel so wide awake that you could go clean the kitchen.  Waking during the night and feeling wide awake can suggest blood sugar issues for which the pancreas is a key organ.  Just smelling the Pancreas™ oil can help balance the pancreas enough to allow the body to naturally fall back asleep.
  • Liver and Gall Bladder overload: If you wake up during “liver time” between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.  it could reflect an overload in body’s ability to detoxify from toxins or emotions like anger, frustration or resentment.   Essential oils like Liver™Liver Support™, or Gall Bladder™ (applied over the liver/gall bladder on the right side of the body under the breast) can help you return to restful sleep.
  • Hormonal Issues: Hormonal ups and downs from menstruation, pregnancy, and midlife fluctuations can impact sleep. Hypothalamus™, Hormone Balance™, Estrogen Balance™, and Gall Bladder™ can help you balance hormone and return to restful sleep.

Read More about Essential Oils for Sleep HERE .


5.       Release negative thoughts and emotions

Negative feelings like depression, anxiety, stress, and anger can amplify your sensitivity to pain. By learning to take control of your thoughts, and the underlying emotions that drive those thoughts, you can help relieve your chronic pain. Most people with chronic pain have deep emotions that have been held in, such as anger, guilt, fear, or sadness and loss.  When you are able to recognize these emotions and release them, it helps to release or lessen the intensity of your chronic pain.

Essential oils are uniquely beneficial in helping to release limiting thoughts and emotions as the sense of smell links directly to the limbic lobe of the brain which stores and releases emotional trauma. Smell has a direct route to the limbic system and often can mobilize and release long forgotten memories, emotions and self-limiting beliefs that can date back to childhood.   Read More about Releasing Emotions with Essential Oils HERE.



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About The Author

Jodi Cohen

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.