Essential Oils for Herniated Disc

(Last Updated On: October 16, 2018)

What is a herniated disc? (A herniated disc is a condition in which the annulus fibrosus (outer portion) of the vertebral disc is torn, enabling the nucleus (inner portion) to herniate or extrude through the fibers. The herniated material can compress the nerves around the disc and create pain that can radiate through the back and sometimes down the arms (if the herniation is in the cervical spine) and legs (if the herniation is in the lumbar spine). You have to be so careful with back injuries especially injuries to the disc. If you do not treat it right, you could permanently damage your back. If you leave it untreated or you use the wrong treatment you could end up with a paralyzed back and spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair.

To be honest before you start any kind of treatment for a herniated disc you really need to consult a health professional to acquire their recommendations. You may consider using essential oils to treat a slipped disc but still talk to your doctor first. This will be our discussion in this article using essential oils to treat a herniated disc. Let’s go to the heart of the matter or if you prefer the back of the matter.

As we defined earlier a herniated disc occurs when the outer bone of the disc cracks and the inner portion will slip through the hole and protrude out of the disc itself. The inner portion could press against the nerves around the disc and cause unbearable pain. People are turning more to natural remedies to treat the symptoms of slipped discs these days and essential oils is one of them. However, you should see an orthopedic surgeon to determine the severity of the problem first.

Which Essential Oils are best to use:

Mighty Marjoram Essential Oil

Marjoram is effective for back pain (especially slipped discs) because it is warming, soothing and eases the joints and muscles.  Even though a good deal of the pain in slipped discs may surround the nerves. It is emotionally calming, eases stress, and generally soothing to mind, body, and emotions.

Basil Essential Oil

Basil essential oil is a natural relaxer for tight muscles and it will relax any muscular tension wherever it is applied. Apply it to the herniated disc area and it will relieve the tense muscles around that injured disc which should bring some relief from pain. It brings relief to the nerves which is key to relieving pain in slipped discs. It is a reliever of mental fatigue which is a big part of the battle when it comes to fighting and overcoming a herniated disc.  

Your mental state plays a major part in the healing process. It is great for neuritis (inflammation of a peripheral nerve or nerves, usually causing pain and loss of function) or neuropathy. In this case, rub it into the spine, lower back and up into the neck area. This again would help a herniated disc because the central point of pain is the nerves being pressed by the protruding inner part of the disc.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus essential oil is known for its strong anti-inflammatory properties which paired with its notable analgesic properties can make it effective at relieving aches, pains and stiffness. These are three conditions being reduced would help an ailing slipped disc in no time.

Eucalyptus essential oil for strong anti-inflammatory properties

Ginger Essential Oil

Another warming oil, ginger is a good application for sore, tired, and painful back muscles. It is also helpful for slipped discs, for tightness, rheumatism and arthritic conditions. If you experience any back pain or back spasms make sure you have ginger on hand.

Luscious Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender is a workhorse of essential oils. It can help with so many conditions including a slipped disc. This oil is recommended for use on herniated disc, stress, restlessness, hyperactivity, fatigue and anxiety.  It is not as warming as some of the other essential oils but it still has wonderful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that would work well on backaches.

Powerful Peppermint Essential oil    

Peppermint essential oil has powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties which will soothe a slipped disc. The oil is also soothing and refreshing which could calm those nerves around the slipped disc area. You cannot go wrong using this oil on a slipped disc.

Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary, like Lavender, is another all-around great oil for many uses. It is effective for herniated discs, aches, pains, and other conditions.

Worth Mentioning Essential Oils for a Slipped Disc:  

  1. Anise
  2. Peruvian Balsam
  3. Clove
  4. Cypress
  5. Fennel
  6. Geranium
  7. Niaouli
  8. Nutmeg
  9. Thyme
  10. Camphor
  11. Chamomile
  12. Vetiver
  13. Benzoin
  14. Juniper
  15. Angelica
  16. Oregano
  17. Sage

Essential Oil Applications for a Slipped Disc

Formula 1

  • 10 drops peppermint
  • 10 drops rosemary
  • 10 drops basil

Formula 2

  • 10 drops Lavender
  • 10 drops eucalyptus
  • 10 drops ginger

Formula 3

  • 10 drops rosemary
  • 10 drops sage
  • 10 drops marjoram
  • For each formula combine your essential oils with 2 tablespoons of carrier oil.
  • The best way to apply essential oils for back aches and pains is via massage. It’s best if you can get a massage from a friend or done professionally, but if not, you could still do a good job of self-massaging your lower back.

The upper back is a bit more challenging for self-massage, but it’s good to at least apply the oils onto your skin – even if you can’t reach to give yourself a full-on massage.

  • TIP: You can use aids to more thoroughly self-massage your back (especially the upper back). I recommend absorbing your massage blend into a back a massage loofah and using the pressure it provides to get the oils absorbed deeply into your skin.

More Tips for a Slipped Disc Using Essential Oils

  • A slipped (or ruptured) disc occurs when there is a break in the ligaments surrounding a vertebrae (disc).
  • When these happen you should check in with a doctor. Great Advice
  • But in the meantime, there are some things that you can do to ease the discomfort and relieve your spine.
  • For the first three days after a slipped/ruptured disc occurs you should treat the area with ice intermittently throughout the day.
  • After three days have passed you can apply the following massage oil directly to the area. But be sure to apply it very gently!

Essential Oil Massage Blend for a Slipped or Herniated Disc


  • 10 drops rosemary
  • 10 drops peppermint
  • 5 drops eucalyptus
  • 5 drops ginger
  • 2 tablespoons carrier oil (argan, coconut, sesame, sweet almond, jojoba, grapeseed, macadamia)

Essential Oil Massage Blend for Herniated Disc


  • Apply it throughout the day.
  • TIP: If you’re still uncomfortable you might consider applying hot and cold presses using a cloth and hot and cold water, alternating between the two. For added effect you can put 2 drops each of basil and peppermint essential oil on the compress. Follow up your hot or cold compress with a gentle massage treatment. Three times a day is a good amount, but even just once should help.

Further Essential Oil Treatments for a Slipped Disc


  • If you’re dealing with an acute muscle strain in your back, you can follow the same directions above from the slipped disc recommendations.
  • But in the case of an acute strain it’s recommended that in the first few days after your injury that you hold an ice bag wrapped in a towel against the affected area for 10 minutes at a time. Do this intermittently throughout the day.

Essential Oil for Lumbago (painful lower back condition Including a Slipped Disc)


  • 10 drops lavender
  • 10 drops ginger
  • 5 drops marjoram
  • 5 drops rosemary


  • In a 5mL glass dropper bottle combine your essential oils
  • Shake to blend

How to Use the Above Lumbago Blend

Cool Compress:

  • In a small (non-reactive) bowl combine 2 cups of cold water with 12 drops of your lumbago blend
  • Stir water and oils well
  • Soak a cloth in the mixture. Wring out your cloth so it doesn’t drip but is fully saturated
  • Apply your cold cloth compress to the painful areas of your lower back
  • Apply once every two hours, alternating in cold packs in between


  • In a small (non-reactive) bowl combine 4 tsp (20mL) grapeseed or sweet almond oil with 8 drops of your Lumbago blend
  • Mix together well and massage over your back

Bath Form:

  • Fill your tub with warm water
  • While the tub is filling combine 1 tsp milk and 4-6 drops of your Lumbago blend in a non-reactive bowl
  • Add the milk and oils to your tub once it’s filled
  • Agitate the water to disperse the oil/milk mix
  • Soak in the tub for 20 minutes (or more, if desired).
  • Rub any floating droplets of oil into your skin

How to Use your Sciatica Slipped Disc Blend

Essential Oil Treatments for Sciatica (Try it on a Herniated Disc)

  • Sciatic pain is any pain or discomfort localized to the sciatic nerve.
  • Sciatica can be felt in the buttocks, behind the hip joint, down the back and front of the thighs – all the way down to the calf and into the foot.
  • Sciatica is often caused by poor posture (especially while sitting) over time.


  • 12 drops lavender
  • 10 drops rosemary
  • 10 drops marjoram


  • In a 5mL glass dropper bottle combine your essential oils
  • Shake to blend

TIP: If the pain is severe, massage should be limited and see your doctor. With severe pain likely comes inflammation – so cooling treatments like cold compresses are recommended.

How to Use your Sciatica/ Slipped Disc Blend


  • In a small, non-reactive bowl combine 4 tsp (20mL) grapeseed or calendula-infused oil and 12 drops of your sciatica massage blend
  • Mix well and massage over your back after inflammation has gone down some

Bath Form:

  • Fill your tub with warm water
  • While the tub is filling combine 1 tsp milk and 4-6 drops of your Sciatica blend in a non-reactive bowl
  • Add the milk and oils to your tub once it’s filled
  • Agitate the water to disperse the oil/milk mix
  • Soak in the tub for 20 minutes (or more, if desired).
  • Rub any floating droplets of oil into your skin

More Essential Oils to Remove Slipped Disc Pain

Chamomile Essential Oil

Chamomile essential oil has effective analgesic properties that can soothe pain from inflamed joints and muscles. Specifically, it can also calm pain from headaches, sore muscles and nerve pain like sciatica and slipped discs. The essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties that penetrate deeply into the skin’s surface to really attack some pain. Among the ailments that chamomile oil act as an effective pain reliever are: rheumatic pain, muscle spasms, hemorrhoids, stomach ulcers, mouth ulcers, eczema, back pain, and stomach cramps.


  • To use chamomile oil for pain relief, add a few drops of the essential oil to a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, olive oil or sweet almond oil and massage the sore muscle or the painful joint. You can also add a few drops of chamomile essential oil to your diffuser.
  • Inhale the therapeutic vapors deeply for around 15 minutes until your headache or migraine pain has eased or gone away completely. This method may work with slipped disc pain as well.

Thyme Essential Oil

If you suffer from a slipped disc, backache, muscles pains, or inflammation in joints, then thyme be able to help you with acute or chronic pain relief. The anti-inflammatory properties of thyme can easily penetrate the skin to reach deep under the surface to relieve pain. It has to reach deeply to relieve herniated disc pain.

A study published in the “Journal of Lipid Research” concluded that a compound in thyme, carvacrol, blocks COX-2, an enzyme related to inflammation. The researchers also indicated that the analgesic and inflammation-reducing properties of thyme oil have a use in the treatment of many diseases. Don’t forget about a slipped disc.

Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood is an essential oil to fight joint inflammation which may help with slipped disc pain. It will also control muscle pain and reduce muscle spasms. Sandalwood also reduces the pain associated with the nervous system by sedating it. This would help to stop the pain in the nerves compressed by a herniated disc.

A study found in the journal “Planta Medica” discovered that inhaling sandalwood essential oil can have a relaxing effect and slow down the production of adrenalin. This too could help in reducing the pain of a slipped disc.


  • Sandalwood essential oil can be mixed with a carrier oil to make a pain-killing ointment for sore muscles, knee pain, and rheumatic conditions. Or, you can add a few drops to your diffuser to inhale to get relief from headaches, migraines, anxiety, and stress. Try these same methods for a herniated disc.     

Juniper Essential Oil

Juniper Essential Oil help to relief disc pain

Juniper essential oil can help to relief disc pain associated with a slipped disc. The doctors at WebMD that people take juniper essential oil to numb the pain and treat painful muscles and joints. Throw slipped disc pain in there as well. It may be able to help to numb this pain.


  • The website says that there are many ways you can use juniper essential oil to relieve pain.
  • You can add some to a bath and soak in it to relieve muscle pain. Or you can get rid of the painful symptoms of gout and rheumatoid arthritis by applying a juniper berry compress on the painful joint.
  • Of course, you can also mix juniper oil with a carrier oil to make a natural pain-relieving ointment.

Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense one of the oldest essential oils on the planet can help slipped disc pain with is analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It can reduce muscle tension in the affected area and help the body to relax. You can rub frankincense essential oil with a carrier oil into the joints of the affected slipped disc area and help relieve pain. The “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” in 2016 published a study showing how frankincense has pain-reducing qualities. The oil blocks the enzyme Cox-2, the enzyme related to inflammation and it has notable anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects on this enzyme. This too could help control slipped disc pain.

Yarrow Essential Oil

This essential oil may be applied topically to inflamed joints around a herniated disc to reduce the inflammation and possibly help to reduce the pain of that injured disc.

Winning Wintergreen Essential Oil

Use wintergreen essential oil to treat chronic lower back pain, (slipped discs) muscles aches, and ease stiff joints. Wintergreen has been used for hundreds of years for pain management and has pain-relieving properties like aspirin.


There were a couple of testimonies read that people with slipped disc pain applied essential oils to their injured discs and they experienced relief. One woman who suffered a slipped disc in the same place for a second time said the essential oils completely healed her slipped disc. She had surgery the first time to correct the problem.


It seems as though essential oils can be a promising treatment for herniated discs. They certainly are a cost-effective treatment compared to surgery which can run into the thousands of dollars. So, keep cost in mind and if you suffer with a slipped disc you may consider essential oils to treat it.

Updated: October 16, 2018 by Dr. Kimberly Langdon M.D. All medical facts and points stated on this page are correct as of this date. Please be aware that new content and additional references were added in this last update. All the content and media has been uploaded by Lily Greene our webmaster, who is also in charge of page design.

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.