These Are The 5 Best Essential Oils For Muscle Pain

//These Are The 5 Best Essential Oils For Muscle Pain

These Are The 5 Best Essential Oils For Muscle Pain

If you suffer from muscle pain, essential oils can help you reduce inflammation, ease spasms, and increase blood circulation. While there are many oils you can use, we believe these are the five best essential oils for muscle pain.

Why would you use essential oils for muscle pain? 

Muscular pain can occur from a number of reasons. You may be dealing with muscle pain as a result of:

  • A long and particularly hard workout
  • Fatigue or pain after an illness
  • Tension or stress from work, especially in the neck, head, and shoulders
  • A long road trip or flight
  • A chronic condition, like fibromyalgia
  • A chronic pain condition, such as lower back pain, arthritis or tendonitis
  • An injury

For muscle pain caused by injuries or other conditions, it’s always important to talk to your doctor first. They’ll help you find treatments that can resolve the underlying condition causing your pain. But, if you’re suffering from pain in your muscles after a workout or something similar, essential oils for muscle pain after workout can be a great option. In some cases, these can help relieve the inflammation and improve blood flow to the area.

If you’re suffering from another condition, essential oils are a non-invasive option to be used alongside your other treatments. These can help complement other therapies and encourage rest, healing, and calm. Reducing stress in any capacity can also help reduce your pain. So, while essential oils will not treat your condition directly, they can help with your overall mood and stress levels.

As always, talk to your doctor before trying any of these oils. And make sure to follow the safety advice listed here and on the bottle itself. Essential oils are non-invasive and generally safe to use, but too much can lead to skin rashes or other side effects. Further, never ingest these oils unless you’ve been advised to do so by your doctor.

These Are The 5 Best Essential Oils For Muscle Pain |

What essential oils are good for sore muscles?

We discuss some of the most commonly used essential oils for sore muscles below. But, in our research, we’ve found that the five following essential oils for muscle pain are the best and most effective options for the majority of patients:

  • Lavender
  • Black pepper
  • Arnica
  • Helichrysum
  • Peppermint

While these will help many patients, for reasons we list below, there are other options if these don’t help. Other essential oils for muscular pain include:

  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Ginger
  • Eucalyptus
  • Marjoram
  • Cypress
  • German chamomile
  • Vetiver
  • Juniper
  • Sandalwood
  • Clary sage
  • Clove
  • Yarrow
  • Wintergreen
  • Basil

Talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional about including these other essential oils into your massage or bath routine.

The 5 best essential oils for muscle pain

The following essential oils can provide a wide range of benefits, from reducing muscle spasms to improving circulation to inducing feelings of calm. Here’s what helps the most patients with muscle pain.

1. Lavender

If you’ve ever stepped into a lavender-scented bath or used a stuffed eye pillow at night, you know how calming this wonder herb can be. While these relaxation and sleep-inducing benefits are important, lavender is also one of the best essential oils for muscle pain. As Authority Health Mag writes:

“The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties in Lavender oil are effective for treating pains arising out of muscle stress and tension. Lavender oil will also ease swelling and improve blood circulation. It is excellent for relieving the muscle spasm caused by mental stress and anxiety.”

For most, lavender essential oil can:

  • Ease muscular swelling
  • Improve blood circulation
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Induce the calming response of the parasympathetic nervous system
  • Mildly sedate the body

Use lavender oil for migraines, tension headaches, and other pain conditions. You can use this oil by:

  • Inhaling it while breathing deeply
  • Mixing a few drops into a carrier oil, like coconut oil, and massaging it into the sore area
  • Adding it to a diffuser before sleeping
  • Adding 10-15 drops into a warm bath

These Are The 5 Best Essential Oils For Muscle Pain |

2. Black pepper

Yep — it’s derived from the same one on your dinner table! And this essential oil can provide some great health benefits since it:

  • Relieves pain
  • Helps warm the body
  • Improves circulation

As BelMarra Health explains:

“Black pepper essential oil is great for aches and pains. It has a warming effect when used on the skin, making it ideal for promoting blood circulation. It also contains analgesic properties to help with arthritis pain and sore muscles.”

Black pepper is a great essential oil for muscle pain after an intense workout, sore muscles, arthritis, and other pain conditions.

3. Arnica 

Arnica oil is an incredibly effective essential oil for a number of issues, especially osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel, inflammation, and exercise-induced muscle pain.

A study in Rheumatology International showed that topical arnica oil could provide pain relief from osteoarthritis in the hands. Another study showed that it could help with knee osteoarthritis. Finally, a study in the European Journal of Sport Science found that those who used arnica after intense exercise had less pain and muscle tenderness 72 hours afterwards.

As Dr. Axe explains:

“The thymol found in arnica has been found to be an effective vasodilator of subcutaneous blood capillaries, which helps facilitate the transport of blood and other fluid accumulations and acts as an anti-inflammatory to aid the normal healing processes. Arnica oil also stimulates the flow of white blood cells, which process congested blood to help disperse trapped fluid from the muscles, joints and bruised tissue.”

Use arnica oil by massaging it into the skin with a carrier oil. Most high-quality arnica preparations already include a carrier oil.

4. Helichrysum

As we wrote about in our post on essential oils for fibromyalgia, helichrysum is one of the best essential oils for that condition. It’s made from the Asteraceae plant in the Mediterranean, where it’s been used from thousands of years as a medicinal plant. Helichrysum is an anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and anti-oxidant. It also improves circulation. It’s a great option for people who are suffering from rheumatic conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve pain, or sciatica.

This essential oil can:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Decrease pain
  • Help repair blood vessels and nerves

You can inhale this oil for calming effects, add a few drops to your bath, massage it in topically, or use it in a diffuser at home.

5. Peppermint

Finally, peppermint oil is another great option for reducing muscle pain. It acts as an antispasmodic, analgesic for sleep issues, and is anti-inflammatory. For most, peppermint essential oil can:

  • Calm and decrease muscle spasms
  • Relieve nausea
  • Relax muscles, especially in the lower back
  • Reduce tension, inflammation, and pain
  • Act as a decongestant and relieve pain from sinus headaches

Peppermint oil is especially beneficial for those with muscle spasms, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, arthritis, and headaches. To use this essential oil, Dr. Eric Z suggests:

“The cooling, pain relieving effects that peppermint oil has make it soothing for headache applications. Massaged with a carrier oil onto the site of pain, such as sinus pressure, peppermint can help to work the pain of a headache away. It may also help to counter headaches that are triggered by scent.”

It can also be used in a diffuser, applied topically with a carrier oil for a massage, added to a bath, or used in a cold or hot compress.

These Are The 5 Best Essential Oils For Muscle Pain |

How to use essential oils for muscle pain

There are a number of ways to use essential oils. You can:

  • Combine the oil with a carrier oil and perform a self-massage or ask a partner to to help
  • Draw a bath and add 10-15 drops of these essentials oils
  • Create a hot or cold compress
  • Add it to a diffuser while you sleep

While some of these can be ingested, it’s always best to avoid this unless your doctor has approved you to do so. Always use a carrier oil to dilute these oils before they come into contact with your skin. Carrier oils may include jojoba, avocado, magnesium, or coconut oil. If you’re pregnant, you should also talk to your doctor before trying any of these. We also recommend using a small amount of these oils in a test area to make sure you’re not allergic to them.

Finally, always buy high-quality essential oils. Any preparations should only have a few number of ingredients listed (the oil itself and perhaps a carrier). Avoid any that contain fragrances as these irritate the skin. If you use high-quality oils, you’ll get the most benefits from them and can avoid many potential side effects.

If you suffer from muscle pain, these essential oils can help. However, if your pain has lasted for more than three months and is greatly affecting your quality of life, it’s time to talk to a doctor. A pain specialist can diagnose the cause of your pain and suggest a number of traditional and complementary treatments to help your pain. They’ll work closely with you to find the treatments you’re most comfortable in pursuing, while also using cutting-edge techniques to get to the source of your pain. These may include trigger point injections or physical therapy. Click the button below to find a pain specialist in your area who can help.

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By | 2018-01-18T12:24:03-07:00 July 26th, 2017|Tags: , |18 Comments

About the Author:

Pain Doctor
Pain Doctor was created with one mission in mind: help and educate people about their pain conditions, treatment options and find a doctor who can help end their pain issues.


  1. Avatar
    Shamra Morgan July 28, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    The article on essential oils for pain – thank you! -Was very good for me

    • Pain Doctor
      Pain Doctor July 31, 2017 at 6:40 pm


  2. Avatar
    Mr Mike Hale September 12, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    I have used essential oils for many years, but not as successful on myself for some reason. Will definitely be buying some helichrysum as I have a very rare condition that effects my nerve linings. I am in constant touch with my doctor but they only offer more powerful medication which I am not too happy about. I want a life I can enjoy to an extent and not drugged up like a zombie, I hope a new mixture of oils will give me the relief I am looking for. Thank you for your help.

    • Pain Doctor
      Pain Doctor September 18, 2017 at 6:48 pm

      Hope that helps!

  3. Avatar
    greg September 26, 2017 at 6:29 am

    CAUTION! Black Pepper will HEAT things up. Not exactly what I’d use when I’m felling a burning pains I get.

    • Pain Doctor
      Pain Doctor October 2, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      True Greg — some patients really like this sensation but for others, like yourself, it can be completely not-okay! That’s why we recommend testing on a small test patch before using any of these oils.

  4. Avatar
    Jake November 28, 2017 at 10:15 am

    I found mixing the cooling peppermint an warm black pepper to be very soothing

    • Pain Doctor
      Pain Doctor December 4, 2017 at 6:18 pm


  5. Avatar
    Melissa April 13, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    I love essential oils! I use them on all my clients in massage. They love the smells and different scents. I believe the oils are therapeutic and healing! ❤

  6. Avatar
    Cherie May 8, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    Sir how many drops per essential oil plus how many ml carrier oil

    • Pain Doctor
      Pain Doctor May 14, 2018 at 2:55 pm

      Hi Cherie — It depends on the exact recipes or types of oils used. We recommend looking through the linked mixes here to get a better idea.

  7. Avatar
    Robin January 28, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    can you just rub these oils on a very sore muscle

    • Pain Doctor
      Pain Doctor March 4, 2019 at 4:40 pm

      Please see the last section in this post for more information on how to use these.

  8. Avatar
    Rohit February 28, 2019 at 5:51 am

    Hello sir.
    Due to intense cycling my back muscles (in center of back and at left side only) got stretched. Despite using anti inflammatory drugs and commercial oils this part regularly hurts.
    What mix of oils should I use.

    • Pain Doctor
      Pain Doctor March 4, 2019 at 4:41 pm

      Hi Rohit — Unfortunately we can’t answer specific medical questions on the blog, nor can we encourage the use of these oils without getting a proper diagnosis for your pain first. We recommend reaching out to a doctor in your area: or to learn what’s causing your pain and treatment options.

  9. Avatar
    rj April 30, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    This article is really informative and educative. I am satisfied that you shared this useful information with us. Thank you for sharing.

    • Pain Doctor
      Pain Doctor May 6, 2019 at 10:12 am

      Thanks for your feedback!

  10. Avatar
    Tally July 21, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    Thank you soooooo much! You’ve literally saved my life today, the day my back went twang and I was wondering what to do. Thankfully I have all the right essential oils on hand to implement all that you’ve written here. Thanks again, and many, many blessings.

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