Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints and it is among the most frequently occurring chronic conditions. It can affect one joint or multiple joints. It essentially involves varying degrees of pain, inflammation, dysfunctions and deformity within virtually any joint of the body, although the hands, hips, knees and spine are the most common sites.
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, with different causes and treatment methods. Two of the most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Osteoarthritis is most common and is caused by joint usage, or wear and tear, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease.
Although arthritis is not curable, you can use essential oils to help lessen the pain that is involved with all forms of arthritis. It may take some trial and error, but if you try a few simple methods, you can learn to get rid of the pain associated with arthritis.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Early symptoms of arthritis include:
- Joint pain
- Joint swelling and redness
- Joint stiffness
- Unusual fatigue
Advanced symptoms of arthritis include:
- Reduced range of motion
- Sudden weakness
- Skin changes
Causes of Arthritis
There is no single cause of all types of arthritis; the cause or causes in any given case vary according to the type or form of arthritis. Potential causes for arthritis may include:
- Abnormal metabolism – leading to gout and pseudogout
- Inheritance – such as in osteoarthritis
- Injury – leading to post-traumatic arthritis
- Immune system dysfunction – such as in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
- Infections – such as in the arthritis of Lyme disease
Diet and nutrition can play a role in managing arthritis and the risk of arthritis, although specific foods, food sensitivities or intolerances are not known to cause arthritis. Foods that increase inflammation, particularly animal-derived foods and diets high in refined sugar, can exacerbate arthritis. Similarly, eating foods that provoke an immune system response can exacerbate arthritis symptoms.
Essential Oils for Arthritis Pain
Aromatherapy is considered an effective way to relieve arthritis pain. Although researchers aren’t sure how aromatherapy helps, they suspect that when you breathe in the pleasant aromas, it stimulates the part of your brain that allows you to relax, promoting healing. Here are top 10 essential oils that can help you get rid of arhtritis pain.
1. Cedarwood Essential Oil
Ayurvedic and Tibetan traditions have long used the essential oil extracted from the wood of cedar trees in their medicines. Cedarwood oil can be used as aromatherapy to ease arthritis pain and can also be used during massage therapy to help relieve arthritis pain.
2. Peppermint Essential Oil
Although peppermint oil is commonly used for cooking and as a beauty product ingredient, it is also great for soothing arthritis pain and inflammation. Thanks to the presence of l-menthol, one of the best features of peppermint oil is its anti-inflammatory properties. This, when coupled with its natural pain reliving properties, make the oil perfect for the topical treatment of painful inflammation.
Peppermint oil is very strong undiluted, so combine it with a carrier oil before rubbing it on your joints to relieve arthritis pain.
3. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary oil ranks among the essential oils for arthritis pain as it has an abundance of anti-pain properties, as well as anti-inflammatory benefits. Rosemary oil also helps promote good circulation.
Dilute the rosemary oil with a carrier oil (such as olive or jojoba oil), and rub the mixture onto the affected area.
4. Myrrh Essential Oil
For centuries, people have reported that applying a salve of myrrh to swollen arthritic joints helps ease pain. Myrrh oil has anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s often used in tandem to treat arthritis.
A study showed that frankincense and myrrh are highly effective in treatment of inflammatory diseases, especially when combined.
The study revealed that frankincense and myrrh, especially when used together, suppress inflammation and the intensity of joint inflammation. Results showed that the individual extract of frankincense or myrrh and combined extracts used to treat groups showed significant differences when compared with the arthritis control group.
5. Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense oil can inhibit the production of key inflammatory molecules associated with arthritis and can help prevent the breakdown of the cartilage tissue. This has been shown to significantly reduce levels of inflammation, making it a natural treatment for arthritis pain.
6. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is one of the great essential oils for arthritis treatment as it helps promote circulation and the healthy flow of oxygen to muscles and joints, as well as encompassing many relaxing properties.
Mix around 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil to some warm olive oil, and then massage the mixture onto the affected area. Alternatively, add 5 drops of lavender essential oil to your bath tub for full body relief.
7. Helichrysum Essential Oil
Inflammation is one of the main problems associated with arthritis that can lead to joint pain. Helichrysum oil has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect that may help lessen arthritis symptoms. A diffuser full of this oil on your desk can add a nice aroma to your work space and might lessen arthritis pain as the day wears on.
8. Cayenne Pepper Essential Oil
Cayenne pepper essential oil helps relieve arthritis pain by nullifying the effect of a neurotransmitter known as substance P. Apply Cayenne pepper oil directly to affected area.
Some users may experience a burning sensation when using cayenne pepper oil for the first time, which will usually reduce and subside after numerous applications.
9. Ginger Essential Oil
According to the National Institutes of Health, ginger may also have a role in treating arthritis pain. Ginger oil can be set out near your comfiest chair for aromatherapy or be rubbed into achy joints as part of massage therapy. A warm compress soaked with some diluted oil may also soothe arthritis pain.
Ginger also suppresses leukotrienes (inflammatory molecules) and switch off certain inflammatory genes, potentially making it more effective than conventional pain relievers.
10. Orange Essential Oil
A study on knee pain showed that massage with ginger oil and orange oil relieved joint pain in the knees of elderly people. The scent of orange oil has also been found to reduce anxiety and improve mood under stressful situations.
Try rubbing orange oil into your affected joints when your arthritis is flaring up. The added benefit of aromatherapy follows as the oil evaporates from your skin and wafts into your nostrils.
- Turmeric can help reduce pain and inflammation caused by arthritis about as well as most over-the-counter NSAIDs, although you need to take between 3-5x more on a daily basis.
- Using a cane to take weight off your knee(s) when you walk can be very helpful. Make sure to carry the cane in the hand opposite the knee that hurts.
- Keep well hydrated. All of your tissues and joints need water to function normally. Drink 8 eight-ounce glasses of purified water daily in order to help keep your knee joints lubricated.