How Can Acupressure Treat Back Pain?

If you have ever suffered from back pain, you’re probably well aware of the many home remedies available to alleviate back pain. Before undertaking your own home remedies however, you need to see a specialist to make sure these so-called quick fixes don’t worsen your back pain. Most home remedies for back pain, such as heating pads, neck and back braces, over the counter analgesics and over the counter or prescription pain killers, offer only temporary relief. This temporary often leads back pain sufferers to look for a less medicated method of pain relief.

Back pain suffers have begun moving away from traditional back pain remedies to Eastern methods such as acupressure. Acupressure is an appealing and effective method of back pain relief because it increases the circulation of blood in the affected area, relaxes muscles and releases natural painkillers in the body, known as endorphins. Acupressure is particularly helpful for painful pinched nerves that cause back muscles to tense up, further exacerbating the pain.

To understand how acupressure can work for back pain, you need to understand a bit about this ancient method of Chinese medicine. By using pressure at specific points on the body (called pressure points), your body’s natural energy—known as Qi—is balanced. For back pain relief, pressure is applied to the feet, finger tips and tips of the elbows. Acupressure is effective because it alternates the application of pressure between the back and other parts of the body sympathetic to the back. 

Some people are brave enough to attempt acupressure at home, but the best results will be seen by using the services of a professional acupressure specialist. If however you decide to perform acupressure on yourself here are a few things to keep in mind;

  • Stay relaxed by focusing on taking deep breaths; it will prevent pain and allow the acupuncture to work.
  • Make sure the applied pressure is continuous and applies just enough force to be effective but not enough to cause pain or discomfort.
  • Maintain focus on each pressure point as it is being applied; this will help you focus on each point of pain and keep you relaxed.

To alleviate back pain by using acupressure there are two specific areas to which pressure should be applied, they are known as urinary bladder 23 and urinary bladder 52. More information about acupressure pathways can be found by doing a cursory search online or at a holistic medicine store. To find these pressure points place your hands just above the hip bone on either side and cup them so the fingers are facing forward. Glide your hands upward and your thumbs will be on the back muscles that run parallel to the spine: these are the pressure points. Keep the pressure steady until your feel the muscles under your thumb start to loosen and relax.

The hand is yet another pressure point used to relieve back pain, and this is one you can easily do on your own without causing greater pain and discomfort. Look at your hands with the palms facing the floor, focusing on the curve where the forefinger and thumb come together. This skin feels webbed, so remember that pressure is key here. With the forefinger and thumb of the opposite hand—the right hand works the left side of the back and the left hand works the right side—feel through the webbed area all the way down to where the bones of those fingers meet. This area will be slightly tender to the touch so keep the pressure gentle but steady until the pain starts to lessen and your back feels more relaxed.

While these points of pressure can be applied personally at home, they will be more effective to relieve back pain if done by a third party, preferably a professional acupressure specialist. 

Filed Under: Back Pain
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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