Recovering from Surgery?

More than 11 million surgeries are performed each year in the United States. Most people experience pain after surgery. The severity of the pain depends on the procedure and the person’s tolerance for pain. While recovering from surgery, doctors typically prescribe pain medications to combat pain during recovery. There are also natural remedies that can complement conventional treatment plans. 

Recovering from Surgery: How Long Does It Take?

recovering from surgery natural remedies to relieve pain after surgery woman doing stretches exercise physical therapy after surgery with doctor therapist wearing green blurred background

Surgery is very hard on the body. Even a small operation will take quite a bit of time to heal. Recovery will depend on the type of surgery and your general state of health.

A large, deep surgery incision can take 6-8 weeks to heal. Some medications and health issues can extend the recovery period.

One to two months may not sound like a lengthy recovery period, but post-operative pain can make it feel like forever. Depending on the procedure and your personal pain tolerance, the discomfort can be debilitating.

Every person is unique. You may heal more quickly than someone else, or you may experience more pain than someone else who had the same procedure. 

Natural Remedies for Pain After Surgery

After surgery, it’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations for recovery. While your doctor will likely prescribe medication for pain, you may also want to try natural remedies to help further reduce your pain or alleviate discomfort.

There are many remedies you can try that may complement your doctor’s recommendations for recovery. Make sure to always talk to your doctor first about any remedies that you want to try. 

Essential Oils

Many essential oils have compounds that can help reduce or alleviate pain. The great thing about essential oils – aside from them being a natural product – is that they can be used in so many ways. 

Essential oils can be:

  • Diffused
  • Inhaled
  • Applied topically after being diluted with a carrier oil

Aromatherapy in particular can be helpful with pain management after surgery. In fact, more hospitals are implementing aromatherapy as part of their post-operative pain management plans. 

Which essential oils can help with pain?


Lavender essential oil can help with pain and inflammation. In fact, researchers have looked at lavender oil’s effects on postoperative pain. The results are promising.

  • A 2013 study found that lavender essential oil may help with pain in children undergoing a tonsillectomy. The results showed that children who inhaled lavender oil reduced their dose of acetaminophen after surgery.
  • Another study found that inhaling lavender after a cesarean section helped ease symptoms four, eight and twelve hours after the procedure.
  • A 2020 study found that aromatherapy with lavender oil helped reduce pain after hernia surgery.

With this essential oil, aromatherapy appears to be the most effective for pain. Using the oil in a diffuser or inhaling it may help reduce your pain during recovery.


Peppermint has long been used in folk medicine.  The essential oil has been used for hundreds of years for settling an upset stomach to relieving headaches and symptoms of a cold. Many studies have been done on the benefits of peppermint, some of which include:

  • A 2018 study found that when peppermint essential oil was diffused, post-operative patients experienced less nausea and committing than the control group. 
  • A trial in Germany found that a blend of oils including peppermint had an analgesic effect and reduced sensitivity to headaches. 
  • One study discovered a woman with neuralgia who had no success with conventional therapies, felt almost immediate pain relief when she applied peppermint oil topically. 

Peppermint oil is available for topical and aromatic use as well as in supplements, making it an effective and convenient option to help with your pain. 


Bergamot essential oil has a pleasing citrusy scent, but it also contains compounds that may help with your pain. 

One 2015 study found that bergamot helped ease neuropathic pain, which is difficult to treat with opioid medications.

Bergamot oil contains carvacrol and linalool, which have been shown to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anticonvulsant properties. 

Bergamot can also help with anxiety, which can contribute to pain. One 2015 study found that women who inhaled bergamot oil with water vapor felt less anxious and fatigued.


People have been using frankincense oil for centuries for health purposes. This ancient oil can help with a variety of ailments, including pain and inflammation.

Frankincense essential oil may hinder the production of inflammatory molecules associated with asthma, arthritis, irritable bowel disorder (IBS), and more.


recovering from surgery natural remedies to relieve pain after surgery woman getting a massage to relieve post op operative pain laying face down on table

After surgery, exercise and general movement may be limited for quite some time. Lack of movement can lead to stiff and tight muscles, which can also contribute to pain.

Massage may help alleviate this tension while providing potential pain relief. You can perform a massage yourself, but a professional massage therapist will be able to better understand which areas need attention. Look for a massage therapist who has experience treating postoperative patients. 

In one study, 605 veterans were divided into three groups: routine care only, individual attention from a massage therapist (but did not receive massage) as well as routine care, or back massage from a massage therapist plus routine care. The veterans were admitted to the hospital for abdominal or thoracic surgery. Opioid use was the same across all three groups.

While all three groups experienced improvements in pain, the massage group saw more significant improvement compared to the other groups.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. Most CBD in the U.S. is derived from industrial hemp. 

CBD has many effects on the body, but it’s most well-known for its potential to help with anxiety and pain.

Research has shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help alleviate pain. Cannabinoids (CBD is a cannabinoid) in general have been shown to have analgesic effects.

There are several ways to use CBD for pain, but our Pain Warrior cream makes it easy to get just the right amount of cannabidiol to help with your pain. It also contains other ingredients that can help alleviate pain, like DMSO, which allows for quick absorption of the cream’s ingredients and offers its own pain-relieving effects.


Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties may help with pain relief. Curcumin, the main compound in turmeric, is believed to be responsible for the pain-relieving and inflammation-fighting properties of this spice.

One study found that turmeric, specifically curcumin, helped improve postoperative pain and fatigue following laparoscopic cholecystectomy. 

Turmeric can be added to meals as a spice, or it can be taken in capsule form as a supplement.

The Takeaway

Postoperative pain can be difficult to manage. Conventional medications can help, but many people are looking for natural ways to augment their treatment plans and enjoy greater pain relief.

If you’re one of those people, we recommend Recovery Cream to help ease your recovery from surgery. This cream combines frankincense and peppermint with DMSO, MSM, magnesium, and more to bring you maximum pain relief.

Make uncomfortable, debilitating postoperative pain a thing of the past and recover in comfort with Herbal Mana's Recovery Cream!

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