An estimated 7% of Americans suffer from hip pain. Although not as common as back pain, the underlying issues that cause hip pain are typically more serious than those that result in back ache. Moreover, hip pain is more common in seniors than in young and middle-aged individuals, which itself presents a huge problem since older patients also suffer from other joint and bone related issues and hip pain only adds to their woes.
In recent years, there has also been a rise in the number of young patients complaining of lateral hip pain, yet the condition is more prevalent in people above 65 years of age. If you are suffering from chronic hip pain or intermittent bouts of acute hip pain, this is what you need to know about the condition and how you can use essential oils to treat and subdue hip pain in a safe manner.
Why Does My Hip Hurt?
The problem with your hip is that it has a whole lot of space in it, which offers enough room for trouble! Essentially a ball and socket joint that connects your legs with your torso, your hip includes large bones, cartilage that enables the smooth movement of the joint and thick bands of tissue that maintain stability.
Any injury, impact or irritation of any of these components will lead to inflammation and all that empty space will quickly fill up with fluid/blood causing stress on the hip capsule and leading to pain. Now, this irritation may be temporary if it is linked to an injury. It may also be caused due to something serious like a bone fracture or it can be chronic in nature and be linked to the loss of bone density, cartilage or inflammation of the joint.
In fact, if there is something wrong with the muscles or other structural components that surround the hip, this too can lead to hip pain.
Are you actually suffering from hip pain or is it something else?
The big problem with hip pain is that people often confuse lower back discomfort for hip pain. If the pain starts in the small of your back and then radiates down, it may have to do more with your spinal cord or the muscles in your lower back than your hip.
On the other hand, if it is a hip related condition, the pain will be experienced in the bony swelling right above the crack of your buttocks. You may also feel pain at the head of the thigh bone. The groin is also another area which may get sore due a hip related inflammatory condition. Hip pain will often radiate down to the muscles in your buttocks and upper thighs.
The pain can be acute or chronic and nagging, depending on the underlying condition. If it finds its roots in an autoimmune or degenerative disorder like arthritis or rheumatism or osteoporosis, it will have a gradual onset and will be chronic, but it may turn severe with time. Acute hip pain is typically linked to an injury or accident.
What Are The Causes Of Hip Pain
Osteoarthritis is one of the leading causes of hip pain and hip replacement surgeries. Other conditions that can also lead to pain in the hip area include:
- Bursitis or tendinitis of the hip joint, both of which are inflammatory conditions
- Gynecological issues such as endometriosis
- Hip fractures
- Workout injuries
- Stress on the hip caused by sitting for long hours
Do not ignore hip pain if…
Typically, the first line of treatment for hip pain includes bed rest for 2-5 days and OTC painkillers. But, if these measures fail to yield favorable results, you should consult a doctor, particularly if the pain is accompanied by:
- Swelling, tenderness, redness in the sore area
- If the pain does not subside even after a week of rest
- If it creates extreme difficulty in movement
- If the pain creates a hindrance in leg movement
- If the onset of the pain is sudden and you have sickle cell anemia
- If the pain increases when you put weight on your leg
- When the pain is felt in the hips as well as other leg joints
If your symptoms can be traced to a fall or any other type of accident, you should see your doctor at once.
Can Essential Oils Help Against Hip Pain?
It is true that essential oils cannot cure muscular and skeletal degeneration, but neither can any other form of treatment currently available. However, essentials oils can help greatly to control two aspects of hip pain:
Although OTC painkillers help to marginally control the inflammatory response of the body, their side effects often annul any of the benefits that you can get from them. Moreover, NSAID cannot be used over the long term. Unfortunately, if hip pain is related to a degenerative condition, you can be sure that it is here to stay.
But, at some point, you will need to get off the pain pills simply because they can wreak havoc on your vital organs such as your heart, kidneys and liver. In contrast, essential oils are just as effective as these pain pills, sometimes even more because they produce almost immediate results. Plus, the biggest advantage is that essential oils blends are completely safe. So, yes you can use them for months and even years if need be.
The Best 7 Essential Oils For Hip Pain
- Wintergreen: One of the most effective natural treatments for sore muscles, nerve pain and joint aches, wintergreen essential oil is a potent anesthetic that can dull pain within a few minutes of application. Its anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory effects can rival those of cortisone as it contains methyl salicylate as well as salicylic acid. In fact, wintergreen oil is one of the few ingredients that offer lasting relief from chronic pain.
- Oregano: The “go-to” treatment for any type of inflammatory condition, oregano oil can provide quick and lasting reprieve from joint and muscle pain. The oil contains a bioactive compound called carvacrol that impacts the function of the T cells, which control the inflammatory response of your body. In fact, its ability to contain auto immune linked joint damage is simply unparalleled. Moreover, this is a deep penetrating oil that can reach the synovial fluid in the joints and reverse inflammation and pain.
- Eucalyptus: This fresh, woody, earthy-smelling oil will infuse a sense of calmness in both your mind and body. The anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, decongestant and antibacterial properties of eucalyptus essential oil are so significant that they offer relief from a wide range of respiratory diseases such as cough, colds, asthma, sinusitis and bronchitis. Plus, the aromatic oil acts as a mild sedative, which makes it ideal for nighttime pain relief blends.
- Camphor: The cool sensation created by this oil immediately alleviates joint and muscle pain. Moreover, camphor essential oil has superlative anti spasmodic and nerve pacifying abilities, which can be used to quickly dull even intense pain. Furthermore, camphor oil stimulates the circulatory system and aids in the faster removal of toxins from the muscles and joints.
- Myrrh: When it comes to dealing with inflammation and pain, myrrh essential oil is one of the most popular choices, and with good reason. Myrrh essential oil contains terpenoids such as limonene, alpha pinene and eugenol along with sesquiterpenes, which play a crucial role in lowering the inflammation causing reaction of the immune system. Since lower inflammation equates to lower pain, myrrh is often found in pain relief preparations.
- Clove: The warming effect of clove oil along with its significant eugenol content helps to rapidly control both inflammation and pain. The most significant impact of clove oil when used topically is its ability to numb nerve endings, which is one of the reasons for its efficacy against dental pain. But, there is simply no reason why you cannot use the anesthetic ability of clove oil on muscle and joint ache as well.
- Marjoram: This fragrant oil (woody, spicy, herbal scent) is mild on the skin but has “out of this world” antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can be used along with other aromatic compounds to curb the inflammatory response of your body. Marjoram may not be the first choice when it comes to pain relief, but its inclusion is vital in any blend that is made to combat chronic joint or muscle conditions, which are linked to inflammation in one or the other way.
Hip pain is usually more than just a dull ache and feels like it originates from deep inside the pelvic bone, a sore point that is out of reach. So, to deal with hip pain, you need not just the most potent anti-inflammatory and anesthetic essential oils, but also carrier oils that have greater penetrative abilities and bring their own anti-inflammatory and soothing effect to the blend.
Keeping this in mind, arnica, calendula, sweet almond, hempseed and sesame oil are perfect for the job. Arnica, calendula and sweet almond aid in controlling inflammation, while hempseed oil with its cannabinoids helps to numb the sore muscles and joints. The linoleic acid in sesame oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Not to mention that these oils get soaked into the skin with relative ease. So, the essential oils go deeper into the muscle tissue and act to control inflammation where they are needed the most.
For the carrier blend, you can use arnica and calendula infused oils mixed with hempseed oil. Although both arnica and calendula infused oils are easily available, if you cannot get your hands on these for some reason, use a mixture of evening primrose oil with either arnica essential oil or calendula essential oil.
6 Therapies And Recipes With Essential Oils For Hip Pain
Recipe 1: Blend for lightning fast relief from pain
This is a simple 2 ingredient recipe that starts working almost immediately on intense pain. All you have to do is apply the oil to the sore area and rub it in gently and by the time the blend penetrates into the skin, your pain will be gone.
For this recipe, you will need 10 ml Arnica or calendula infused oil and 10 ml hempseed oil. If you don’t have arnica or calendula essential oils, use 10 ml of evening primrose oil mixed with 5 drops of calendula/arnica essential oil added to it. Once you have the 20 ml of carrier oils mixed together, add 1 ml oregano essential oil to it. We are going for a ratio of 1:20 here, which is quite high considering the normal dilution for essential oils is 2-3%. However, this comes up to 5%.
This oil almost works like magic but it should not be used too often. In fact, reserve this one for emergencies when the pain is creating an issue in mobility. Mix the oils together and store them in a dark glass bottle, preferably with a roller ball top, so that the oil can directly be applied on the skin. Do not exert too much pressure when massaging, just lightly stroke the sore area and let the skin soak up the oils. The blend is best used at night and after a hot shower.
Recipe 2: Anti-inflammatory and pain relief blend
- 1 oz carrier oil blend
- 5 drops marjoram oil
- 4 drops birch oil
- 7 drops camphor oil
- 3 drops oregano oil
Mix the essential oils with the carrier blend and store the concoction in a dark glass bottle, away from direct sunlight and heat. To use, massage the oil on the sore area, using firm pressure and kneading motion, but do not exert pressure directly on the spine, the tail bone or the hip bone.
Recipe 3: Night time pain relief blend
- 1 oz. carrier oil
- 6 drops wintergreen oil
- 3 drops oregano oil
- 8 drops eucalyptus
- 4 drops clove oil
As its name suggest, this blend works well when used at night because eucalyptus oil also acts as a mild sedative. So, as it dulls your pain, this blend will also lull you to sleep and a good night’s rest is crucial in dealing with any kind of health concern.
Recipe 4: Cold compress
- A handful of mint leaves
- 2-3 cups of water or better yet green tea
- 6 drops of oregano oil
- 8 drops of myrrh oil
- 7 drops blue tansy
- 5 drops camphor
Add the mint leaves to the water that you intend to use to prepare the tea. Use more tea leaves than you normally do, thrice as much in fact, because you want a particularly strong blend. At the end of the brewing process, you should have about 2-3 cups of mint-green tea. Let the liquid cool to a gentle warm.
Add the essential oils to the tea and give the mixture a good whisk. Pour the concoction into small paper cups and freeze. To apply, cut the top of the cup to expose the frozen tea and apply on the sore area, moving the icicle around in circular motion. If you have very sensitive skin, cover the sore area with a piece of thin cloth and then use the pain relieving icicle.
Recipe 5: Pain relieving bath blend
- 2 cups Epsom salt
- 10 drops peppermint
- 8 drops marjoram
- 5 drops myrrh
- 4 drops clove
Mix the essential oils with a teaspoon of vegetable oil and set aside. Add Epsom salt to the bath water, followed by the essential oils mixture. Make sure there are no large oil droplets floating on top by agitating the water well. Soak in the bath for a good 20-30 minutes.
Recipe 6: Salt sac and essential oil blend for hot compression
You will need 1/2 lb. sea salt or Himalayan pink salt and a cup of uncooked rice. You can also use an old salt cooking/serving slab which does not find use now or is broken. Simply pound it till you get small particles and put it to good use. Apart from the salt and rice grains, you will also need:
- 1 tsp carrier oil blend
- 7 drops camphor oil
- 5 drops clove oil
- 6 drops sage oil
Put the salt and the rice grains in an old pillow case or any large piece of cloth that can be tied together to make a pouch. Heat the salt and rice mixture in the oven or in a pan. Using a microwave or oven is more effective because you get more heat.
Prepare the essential oil blend beforehand and once you have the hot salt and rice sac ready, tie its mouth to prevent the hot salt and rice from getting out. Then, drizzle about 10 drops of the blend on the base of the pouch (the part that will touch your skin) on the outside. Apply on the affected area, moving the pouch around to prevent burning.
Once the mixture cools down enough for it to be held in one spot with the heat being bearable, start holding the pouch on the sore points continuously for 30-60 seconds. Use this method of hot compression for 20-30 minutes every day or even twice a day if needed.
If you don’t want to buy a whole lot of oils or it sounds all to hard or you simply don’t have the time to make up the above recipes, don’t fret! The proprietary blend of L’orpur pain relief blend, consisting of essential oils and carrier oils is designed for all types of pain. Click here to find out more!
The Bottom Line
Finally, remember that although sore hips should be rested at first, the sooner you get back to light workouts, the faster you will be able to chase away hip pain and improve mobility. Also, always start your workout routines with a warm up session that includes stretching, which will reduce the risk of ligament injury.