Natural Pain Relief for Sprains with Essential Oils

It was bound to happen sooner or later…. Again!

As I was twisting and turning on silks, learning new gravity defying tricks, I sprained my ankle.

That rush of excruciating pain that makes your stomach turn told me instantly I’d be grounded for quite some time.

Natural Pain Relief for Sprains title image

Sprains are painful, very painful. And they need a lot of time to fully heal.

One thing I have learned after far too many sprains is that it is imperative to take the time needed to let your sprain heal completely. Most of us forget about the injury as soon as the pain subsides and go back to our crazy antics before we really should.

But trust me on this, you won’t regret those few extra days off your feet when you realize how much stronger your ankle will be.

As you know I don’t like being tied down longer than I need to so I take my sprain care very seriously. Since I’m not a huge fan of taking traditional pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs I’ve developed my own all natural protocol to speed up my recovery


When it comes to managing pain and swelling, ice is your best first line of defense. The sooner you can ice your injury the less swelling you will experience and the quicker you will be on the road to recovery. For the first couple of days, ice your injury as often as you can 20 minutes at a time.

The most effective way to ice a sprain is to immerse it in a bucket of iced water and keep it there for a good twenty minute. Fill the bucket about a third of the way with ice then add cold water up to a few inches from the top of your bucket to avoid spilling when you place your ankle or wrist in the water.  Keep your injury in the iced water for a good twenty minutes.

Let me warn you: it HURTS!!! That is until the ice does its job and your ankle becomes numb, but up to that point, and especially when you first place your injury in the iced water it is killer pain!  I strongly encourage you to use this method for icing your injury despite the initial pain. It makes an unbelievable difference when it comes to swelling.

After the first 24 hours or so you can move on to the protocol outlined below.  Do this once in the morning and again in the evening for 5 to 7 days.

Olive Oil and Essential Oils Massage

The anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil were discovered by doctor Gary Beauchamp, PhD, during an oil tasting visit to Sicily.  Studies of olive oil revealed that a specific compound called oleocanthal prevents the production of pro-inflammatory enzymes in a fashion similar to that of pain medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin.  The higher the level of oleocanthal, the greater the potency of the oil [source: arthritistoday,org]

Olive oil with peppermint and lavender

In addition to drizzling delicious olive oil unto your salads you can use it topically to massage your injury.

You may add a few drops of essential oils known for their anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-spasmodic properties to the olive oil for added benefits.  Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Clove are all wonderful choices.  Remember to test the essential oils for sensitivity before committing to using them with the olive oil.

This is my go-to recipe:

  • Heat 1 to 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil. Oi should be hot but not burning.
  • Add 8 to 10 drops of lavender plus 8 to 10 drops of peppermint
  • Gently massage oil onto sprain

Turmeric Poultice

Turmeric, also known as curcumin, has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.   What makes turmeric such a potent anti-inflammatory is it’s gorgeous, deep yellow pigment. Through multiple studies, turmeric has been found to be as effective or more, as potent medications such as hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone, and over the counter drugs such as Ibuprofen.  What makes turmeric a much healthier, and in my opinion. more effective choice, is that there are absolutely no toxic side effects!

Turmeric is also a powerful anti-spasmodic which makes it even more valuable in the treatment of sprains.

In a small bowl combine the following to make a thick paste:

  • 2 Tablespoons powdered turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon lime or lemon
  • warm water as needed for consistency


Mix lime or lemon with turmeric and add just enough warm water to make a smooth but thick paste.

Apply this paste liberally to your injury.

Applying turmeric paste to sprained ankle

Wrap snuggly with gauze bandage or an ace bandage.  You may add a layer of plastic film to keep paste warm and your socks or sheets clean. Yes turmeric leaves a beautiful golden stain on your skin and wherever you rest your injury.

Leave on for 10 to 12 hours.

Wrapping ankle with a gauze bandage

If you’d like a little more pain management you can add half a teaspoon to a teaspoon of dried turmeric to a cup of warm milk and savor as you sip slowly.  I personally love the taste of this unique and slightly spicy beverage and find it quite relaxing.


Arnica was probably the most common remedy in my home when I was growing up. At the time it was mostly available as an ointment that you massage into your skin. Mom used it to minimize bruising whenever we fell or hit ourselves somehow. You can now easily find homeopathic arnica tablets that dissolve under the tongue. Use the gel or cream as you would the olive oil and take internally as indicated on the instructions.

Rest and Elevate

I cannot stress enough the importance of REST! Remember when you sprain your ankle the ligaments which stabilize the joint are stretched or torn.  The more severe the sprain the longer the recovery process. Don’t rush!  If you get back on your feet before you are fully healed you risk further and more damaging injury. So be good to yourself and be patient 🙂  Elevating the injury helps to promote blood flow and decrease swelling so go ahead and put your feet up as often and for as long as you can.

Make sure to consult your physician to confirm the injury and follow up when you are told to. You’ll also most likely need a little physical therapy to strengthen  the muscles surrounding the injury site and prevent future injuries.

I get my 100% therapeutic essential oils from Young Living. You can buy them wholesale which is a great money saver! I have to say this was the best decision for my family. It’s a natural way to help ease stress, pain, allergy symptoms and so much more. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

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  1. Very interesting! Never knew this! Adding this to my essential oils Pinterest page!! LOVE my essential oils!!

  2. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    I have heard so much buzz about essential oils, but yet to try them. I need to start doing more research because it seems like they have a million uses.

  3. Interesting! I have never used essential oils but keep hearing the most amazing things about them. It’s very cool the healing powers that they have.

  4. Thankfully (knock on wood!) I haven’t sprained anything in a long time. I’m glad to hear that there are pain relief options for it, though. I hope you are up and at it again soon!

  5. Ooh I actually have both of those oils- I’m totally doing an essential oils massage next time I need it. I have back issues sometimes from a car accident a long time ago & this would be helpful. Thanks!

  6. alicia szemon says:

    I really need to get some oils because i feel like there are so many uses for them!!

  7. Linda Manns Linneman says:

    It just amazes me what all essential oils can be used for. I did not realize this about olive oile either. Thank you so much for sharing this great article

  8. Lavender and peppermint oil are two of my favorites! This is great information and so happy you shared it! Have a great weekend!

  9. I love this!! I actually have tried that turmeric remedy. It stinks, but really works!!

    • I love that you have tried it Lora! I’ve found the turmeric to be amazing! My 8 year old recently twisted her ankle and she kept asking me to make her the “special” paste. She loved it!

  10. I will definitely try the peppermint and lavender but in terms of rest, I only agree to a point. My docs said to basically sit around and I didn’t because I watched a ton of physical therapist videos that said if you sit, scar tissue appears and you stiffen up. I have been hobbling around in a way that avoids pains and I feel SO much better. I feel like ice in the first 24 hours is good but beyond that, it is blocking the blood in he swelling that naturally heals your body. And exercising the area is ten times better than sitting about.

    • You make a lot of good points. Yes scar tissue builds up and doing some movement will speed up healing but it’s best to consult a physical therapist to do the proper exercises. I’ve had far too many sprained ankles and what I’ve found works best for me is to do gentle stretches and rotations in the first week to 10 days… no weight bearing activities but keep the ankle mobile and the muscles working, both to increase blood flow to the region and to speed up recovery. But I won’t do any real training or physical therapy type of exercises until the swelling has gone away.

  11. Dorie Lim says:

    Great, easy advice. Thanks!

  12. Hi. Love your post. I use peppermint and eucalyptus oil on my twisted ankle-I hope it will help. Also I soak my foot in ice cold water twice a day.
    The only thing is I have to ride a bike every day-no other option. It’s very painful ?

    • I’m so glad the oils and ice water help Lena 🙂 So sorry about your not being able to get to work without being able to give your ankle a break. Try to do most of the pedaling with the other foot. That should help keep pressure of the sprain.

  13. Svetlana says:

    Hi thank you for useful suggestions!
    Would the turmeric paste help to reduce knee joint pain?

    • I should reduce knee pain Swetlana as long as it is caused by inflammation. My mom suffers from arthritis and this brings her much needed relief. Another thing to consider with pain is making sure you are properly hydrated. One of the first signs of dehydration is pain, especially joint pain, not dry mouth. I hope you find some relief!

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