Did you know back pain is one of the most chronic forms of pain experienced? In fact, back pain is often one of the first types of nagging pain that people experience as they age. Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute estimates that 16 million adults – roughly 8 percent of the population – experience back pain annually. Back pain can be particularly problematic for people who sit for long periods of time, have bad posture, or lift things incorrectly.
While there are many treatments for back pain, one of the most accessible is acupressure. In fact, research has demonstrated that acupressure reduces chronic back pain. Acupressure has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine but has risen in popularity over the years due to its applicability in assisting with a number of maladies. It operates on the principle that there are certain pressure points where the flow of our natural energies can be controlled to stimulate our ability to heal infections and address pain. Let’s look at some of the best acupressure points for relieving back pain and how to activate them.
- Below Fourth and Fifth Fingers
This pressure point is known as Zhong Zhu, which translates to “central inlet.” It is a very easy acupressure point to locate. Simply sit with your hand placed palm down. This point lies just below the knuckles between the fourth and fifth fingers where the tendons diverge. The pressure point lies in that groove.
Triggering this pressure point should be done by using deep, firm pressure to massage the area for four to five seconds at a time. Alternate triggering the point in one hand at a time and consider repeating a few times. Consider doing this a few times during the day. Before bed, it can be helpful for promoting rest.
The Zhong Zhu pressure point is associated primarily with relief of upper back pain as well as that in the shoulders and neck. It can also have applications for headache relief. A medical study found that triggering it can also help ease vertigo.
- Below the Belly Button
This point is called Qi Hai, which means “sea of life.” It is located on the mainline at the front of the body (an imaginary line that cuts the body in half vertically). It is located slightly below the belly button. Simply take three fingers together and place them just below the belly button. You should feel a firm area. This is Qi Hai.
To trigger this point, keep the three fingers in place and press firmly inward. If you experience discomfort, you are pressing too hard. Maintain consistent, firm pressure for approximately one minute. Trigger the point three times in a row with ten minute intervals between. If the three finger approach causes too much force, you may substitute the base of your palm for lighter pressure.
This acupressure point can successfully relieve lower back pain. Triggering it once may provide relief that lasts most of the day. This exercise can also strengthen the muscles in the lower body.
- Below the Interior Collarbone
Shufu is the name of this point which translates to “elegant mansion.” To find this point, simply place your fingertip on the lower edge of your collarbone and trace it inwards towards your sternum. Near the sternum, you will feel a notch. This is Shufu.
Triggering this point is easiest if you use your opposite hand. In other words, use your right hand for the left side of the body and your left hand for the right side. Press firmly on this point and hold for two minutes while breathing slowly and deeply. You may also gently rub the area. This exercise can be repeated up to five times a day.
Shufu is effective for relieving upper back pain as well as tension in the chest and throat. It is known as the neurological center of the body’s acupressure circuit, meaning it serves as somewhat of a central switchboard and has been associated with many benefits including improved energy and thinking.
- Between Thumb and Index Finger
He Gu is the name of this point, which means “enclosed valley,” which is an apt name when you consider the location. To find this point, simply hold your thumb and index finger together. You will notice the muscle bunch up on the top of your hand just inside the base of the thumb. This is the point.
To trigger this point, use your other hand to grasp it with your thumb and index finger (much like a pinching motion). Provide deep, firm pressure for up to five seconds. Alternatively, massage the area for ten seconds. Repeat this three times.
This point is effective for treating upper back pain, facial tension, and toothaches. It is also known to help relieve pain from constipation and can be helpful with general pain. It is one of the easiest pressure points to locate visually and to trigger.
Did you know this is the acupressure point our Aculief Wearable Acupressure clip targets? Learn more here.
- Behind Knee
This point is referred to as the “commanding middle,” which is a very good indication of its function. To find this point, sit down with your legs extended and straight. Place your hand beneath your knee. Position your index finger or middle finger in the center of the area behind your knee and press firmly.
Press firmly for up to 30 seconds. It is helpful to trigger each knee separately. In lieu of pressing, you may also opt to firmly massage this point in a circular motion.
This acupressure point is useful for addressing lower back pain and is particularly effective for pain stemming from sciatica or herniated discs. Frequent triggering of this point can reduce general stiffness in the lower back. It has also been associated with reduction of muscle spasms.
Acupressure is a method of treating pain and other issues that has been around for hundreds of years. Much is known about acupressure points and their effect on the body. For those suffering from back pain, triggering these points can provide valuable relief. Skip the OTC medications and try acupressure as a natural alternative to ease your back pain instead!