Acupressure comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a natural alternative treatment for back pain that doesn't involve any drugs or surgery.
Acupressure points are located on the body's surface and help relieve tension in your muscles, which can lead to less discomfort and better healing.
Acupressure treatment itself has been shown to be effective in managing a wide range of symptoms and pains.
This article will cover acupressure points to relieve back pain and how to use pressure points.
How Acupressure Works for Back Pain
Acupressure uses the same pressure point system as acupuncture but without the use of needles. This therapy helps reduce muscle spasms, relaxes tense muscles, relieves pain, reduces inflammation, increases blood circulation, and improves overall health.
There are over 350 acupressure points on the human body that are found along energy pathways called meridians. When you press these pressure points, they stimulate the flow of qi (vital energy) to various vital organs.
There are different pressure points for different areas of the body. Let's take a look at the key pressure points for back pain relief.
8 Pressure Points for Back Pain
There are several acupressure points that can be used to treat back pain. These are the more common acupressure points:
1. Stomach Pressure Point CV 6
The CV 6 (Conception Vessel 6 or Qihai) acupressure point is located on the stomach area just below the navel. This pressure point helps with a variety of issues, including lower back pain relief, strengthens kidneys, abdominal pain, and irregular menstruation.
To locate the pressure point, hold your index, middle, and ring fingers together. Place them just under the navel. Where your ring finger is located is where the CV 6 point is.
2. Lower Back Pressure Point B 23
There are two B 23 (Bladder 23 or Kidney Shu) acupressure points located on the lower back and on either side of the spinal cord. These pressure points can help relieve muscle tension in the lower back, strengthens kidney qi, and benefits hearing and sight.
The points are at the same level as the belly button. To find the pressure points on the back, at waist level, measure two finger widths from the spine. On the right and left sides of the spine are the B 23 points.
3. Lower Back Pressure Point B 47
There are two B 47 (Bladder 47 or Will's Chamber) acupressure points that are also located on the lower back next to the two B 23 points. These points also help relieve lower back pain and muscle tension, as well as being known to help with vertigo, dizziness, and depression.
While the B 23 points were two finger widths on each side of the spine, the B 47 points are four finger widths from the spine.
4. Hip Bone Pressure Point GB 30
There are two acupressure points GB 30 (Gall Bladder 30) that are located on the lateral side of the buttocks, in the middle between the top of your hip bone and the base of the buttocks.
The GB 30 pressure points help to relieve leg pain, hip pain, and pressure in the lumbar region of your back.
5. Hip Bone Pressure Point B 48
Located on both sides at the bottom of your spine are the B 48 (Bladder 48) pressure points. They are found in the bony area of the right and left buttocks.
The B 48 pressure points help to relieve pain in the hip, buttocks, and lower back.
6. Knee Pressure Points B 53 and 54
The acupressure points B 53 (Bladder 53) and B 54 (Bladder 54) are located right next to each other in the back of the knees. These pressure points will help relieve stiffness and lower back pain, and leg pain.
The B 54 pressure points are located right in the center of the back of the knee. The B 53 points are next to the outside of the B 54 points.
7. Hand Pressure Point LI 4
The acupressure points LI 4 (Large Intestine 4 or Hegu) are located on the web between the thumb and index finger on both hands. These pressure points can help relieve upper back, shoulder, and neck pain.
Find the location on the web by bringing your thumb and index finger together to produce a bump between the two. The high point of the bump is where the LI 4 point is. Separate the two fingers again and apply pressure there.
8. Hand Pressure Point TE 3
The acupressure points TE 3 (Triple Energizer 3 or Zhong Zhu) are located on the back of the hand between the 4th finger and pinky. These points will relieve upper back, neck, and shoulder pain.
Locate the pressure point in the groove between the 4th and 5th fingers.
How to Massage your Back
With some of the acupressure points, you will be able to self-massage, but others will be harder to reach and require someone else to do it for you.
For example, the pressure points on the lower back are hard to self-massage and apply firm pressure to, but the pressure points on the hands are easily accessible.
Once you locate the pressure points, use your thumbs to press down firmly until you feel the pressure and a tingling sensation. Hold for 1 minute and repeat 3-4 times.
Repeat the pressure and massaging up to 5 times daily for continuous relief.
You may need to experiment with different pressures to find what feels best for you. You can also apply gentle pressure to acupuncture points and massage in a circular motion.
When applying pressure, be sure that it is not painful. Stop pressing if it hurts and move on to another pressure point, or you may risk further injury.
If you prefer to find a qualified acupressure practitioner, you can find one on the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine website.
Acupressure Tools for the Back
There are many tools available that allow you to practice acupressure techniques without having to go through all the steps of locating and applying the pressure yourself.
1. Acupressure Mat
An acupressure mat is an easy way to get started practicing acupressure. You simply place your body over the mat and your body weight will apply pressure to many pressure points at one time.
That will help relieve pain in your back, neck, shoulder, and more.
The Kanjo Memory Foam Acupressure Mat Set comes with the mat and an acupressure pillow.
2. Acupressure Back Cushion
A back cushion targets pressure points in the mid and lower back regions. It also offers lumbar support, as well as aligning the lower back and tailbone for pain relief.
The Kanjo Acupressure Back Pain Relief Cushion uses high-density foam that adjusts for comfort.
3. Acupressure Belt
An acupressure belt offers flexibility in targeting acupressure points in various places on the body, such as the back. You can use it while sitting, standing, lying down, or even during yoga.
Acupressure Points to Relieve Back Pain Final Thoughts
There are many ways to relieve back pain naturally. Some people choose to try acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage therapy, physical therapy, exercise, and other methods. But acupressure is a natural remedy that has been proven effective.
Acupressure is not a good option for chronic back pain, so be sure to consult with your doctor on a pain treatment plan to improve your quality of life.