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Parts of this were taken with permission from Essential Oils Overview and Reference Guide, published by: The Family Tree, 2008


see also Back Pain

Sciatic nerveSciatica is used to describe the symptoms that result when the sciatic nerve is damaged or compressed.  The symptoms are sharp pain couple with or, followed by, numbness and loss of strength in the lower back, hip, or leg down to the foot.  The sciatic nerves (left and right) are the largest nerves in the body with nerve roots coming from the spine at vertebrae, L4, L5, and S1.  (Minor nerves also go to the upper leg and buttocks from S2 and S3.) 

Depending on where the nerve root originates sciatica symptoms may be different.

·  L4 – Pain, numbness, tingling symptoms on the inside lower leg and foot.  Difficulty in rotating foot upward.

·  L5 – Pain, numbness, tingling symptoms on the top of the foot and between great toe and second toe.  Weakness will be in ankle and great toe.

·  S1 – Pain, numbness, tingling symptoms to the outer side of foot.  Difficulty in raising the heel or walking on tiptoes.

The sciatic nerve roots leave the spinal column in the three vertebrae mentioned then come together as one.  The nerve then travels through the hip and thigh area and divides and subdivides as it continues down to the foot.  Damage or compression anywhere along this path can cause the symptoms described.


[search helps: sciatic nerve, lumbrosacral radicular syndrome, radiating low back pain, lower back pain, nerve root pain, nerve root entrapment]

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & Blends:  Massage Blend, Grounding BlendC, Birch, Soothing BlendC, FrankincenseC, HelichrysumC, White Fir, Wintergreen

Essential oils based products: Massage Blend Technique

Also consider: BasilC, Black Pepper, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Lavender, LemonC, Marjoram, Myrrh, Oregano (use Oregano topically with a carrier oil), PeppermintC, Rosemary, SandalwoodC, ThymeC

Note: to understand the E and C superscript go to Home and scroll to New Helps.

note: These protocols are very similar to those suggested for back pain in general.  Remember the sciatic nerve starts in the lower back, vertebrae L4, L5, and S1 then thru the hip area to the legs.  The nerve pressure or damage can be anywhere along this path.  It is important to identify the distressed spot and to apply the oils that reduce inflammation, heal, and regenerate to this area.

Suggested protocols:

Any back pain usually includes the following scenario:

1) There is an injury or degeneration that leads to damage of nerve, muscle, or connecting tissue.  With the back most commonly nerve pressure or damage is involved.

2)  Pain may be accompanied by loss of feeling and/or loss of strength

3)  Inflammation compounds the pressure on the nerve

4)  As the back muscles try to compensate there are often muscle spasms or cramps in the back area that add additional pressure and intense pain.

This leads to the conclusion that the protocol should include:

1)  Oils for immediate pain relief

2)  Oils for inflammation reduction

3)  Oils to relax muscles and eliminate the spasms

4)  Oils for increased circulation to facilitate quicker healing

5)  Oils that heal and rebuild the damaged tissue


·  The single best possible step is to use the Massage Blend Technique described elsewhere on this website.  Daily if possible.  Follow with a hot compress.

·  Supplement this with the oils listed below.


Oils for immediate pain relief:

·  Soothing Blend, Birch, or Wintergreen

·  Apply 2 -3 drops topically to the area where the pain is manifested as often as required.  (For some Wintergreen may need to be applied with a carrier.)

·  To make the Massage Blend Technique or other oils and blends applied to the back more effective use a hot compress after the application to drive the oils deeper into the tissues and muscles.

Oils to reduce inflammation:

·  Basil, Bergamot, Myrrh, Roman Chamomile, Rosemary, or Wintergreen

·  Apply topically to spinal area.  This is the location on the spine where the nerve is being pinched and will probably be different that where numbness or lack of strength or even muscle cramps occur.  For example, if numbness and loss of strength is in the leg then the lower back area where the sciatic nerve originates may well be where there is nerve compression.  Two or three drops topically 2 - 3  times daily.  (For some Wintergreen may need to be applied with a carrier.)

Oils to relax muscles and eliminate spasms:

·  Massage Blend, Helichrysum, Lavender, Marjoram, or Melissa

·  Apply 2 - 3 drops topically to the area where the spasm is occurring.

Oils to increase circulation:

·  Invigorating Blend, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Geranium, or Lemon

·  Apply 2 -3 drops topically to the spinal area 2 -3 times per day

Oils to heal and regenerate tissue:

·  Frankincense, Helichrysum, or Sandalwood

·  Apply 1 -2 drops topically to the spinal area 2 -3 times per day followed by a hot compress

Also consider:

·  Baths with oils will help relaxation

·  Diffusion of Invigorating Blend, Lavender, or other relaxing oils at bed time will help


Experiences and Testimonials of others

Amber - Does anyone have any recommendations of what oils to use for sciatica? I can think of a few to try but I would love to hear what has worked for people and what hasn't.

Rob - I have heard of people relieving the symptoms by using an Massage Blend Technique.  This uses Grounding Blend and Lavender for stress, Melaleuca and Protective Blend for the immune system, Massage Blend and Soothing Blend for inflammation (and pain), and Wild Orange and Peppermint for homeostatis.

After the Massage Blend, cover your back with a dry hand towel and then apply a hot towel, either from the dryer or that has had hot water poured on it, then wrung out.  Then place a blanket over this to keep the heat in as long as possible.  If it gets too hot, take it off for a few minutes.  You can replace the hot compress with a new one every 5 min or so.  Let the compress drive the oils in for 8-10 minutes.

This technique can be very effective, and you should know that sometimes as the oils drive inflammation and bacteria out of the body, the person will sometimes feel worse for a day after the technique.  If you can continue ATT once in the morning and once at night for 3 days, then 1 per day after that is usually sufficient until symptoms are greatly reduced.

Maren - I always get sciatica pretty bad while I am pregnant.  I can not get out of bed or hardly walk.  This time around was no different.  Friends  recommended that I try Lemongrass and Marjoram and it worked like a charm!  I had my hubby rub it on my lower back and left hip area (with coconut oil just in case) right before we went to sleep.  Next morning I was virtually pain free-awesome!  I did that  about every other day for about a week. 


Melanie – Here is an email from an acquaintance -Severe nerve pain in my back, severe debilitating migraines accredited to the nerves, and worst of all, the sciatica, which is absolutely killing me.  I can't sit, stand, lay down, rest, work, turn, etc.  Neurontin doesn't work on me, and I had serious issues with the Lyrica (besides gaining 10 pounds in 7 days).  I'm starting Topamax when I go to bed tonight, and the possible side effects are scary.

Pat - Would it be possible to get her some Birch or Tension Blend for the headaches, adding Frankincense to either of these would be great. I would also suggest Lemongrass, Birch and Frankincense for the sciatica. To apply to the sciatica have her run her fingers Firmly down the back of the buttocks until she feels the zinging pain. That is where she applies the three oils. Using a little carrier oil will help the spreading of the oil.  It is best for her to rub it down the buttocks and follow the pain, usually down the sides of the thighs. She can repeat this protocol every hour until relief is found. It would help if she would do a foot bath with 2 cups of Epson salts Lemongrass, Birch, Peppermint and Frankincense. Soak feet at least 15 minutes if possible.


Kathy - What oils for Sciatica?

Julie Ann - For sciatica you will find your release points for it by taking your hands and putting them on your back beside your spine at the waist, and then where your middle finger rests start digging around on your tushy cheek and you will find the point of entry (that is what I call it). You will know you have found it when it takes your breath away.  This is the area to massage with oils that have previously been mentioned.  Peppermint and Soothing Blend with Basil works great and also Birch if you have it or if not Wintergreen for the pain.

Dian - Thanks Julie Ann.  You have given me more relief in one email than years with a chiropractor!


Grace - I just met friend who has terrible sciatica and has even had surgery for it.   Soothing Blend isn't helping so yesterday I gave her a Tension Blend to try ...haven't heard yet if that worked.   Helichrysm is  listed as being good but I figures if Soothing Blend didn't work then Helichrysum probably wouldn't either.   She is open to trying several oils if she has to.

Dian - I use Massage Blend with FCO every morning on my lower back and around to the front of my hips.  This oil has really helped me keep my sciatica at bay.  She should pin point the source and apply the oils to that point first. Others add Soothing Blend to the Massage Blend.

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NOTE: The advice shared in this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. As members offer or look for answers, kindly understand that essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance - thus helping the body's natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Essential oils are not used to "treat" medical problems.