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Acupressure Points & Back Pain

By Melissa Smith ; Updated August 14, 2017

When your back hurts, it can feel like the foundation of your body is crumbling. Traditional Chinese medicine views muscular pain as a product of blocks to the smooth flow of qi or energy. Learn to manipulate key acupressure points to help release blocked qi, ease muscle tension and relieve your back pain. Consult your doctor if your back pain is persistent or severe.


According to traditional Chinese medicine, qi or energy naturally rises, peaks and falls throughout the course of a day, ebbing and flowing through your body and your environment. As long as qi moves freely through your body, you maintain a state of health and relaxation, according to Matther Bauer, licensed acupuncturist practicing at La Verne Acupuncture in California. In his book “The Healing Power of Acupressure and Acupuncture,” Bauer notes that any obstruction to qi results in illness, including muscle tension and pain.


In one clinical trial, acupressure demonstrated more than twice the effectiveness of conventional physiotherapy in treating patients with low back pain, according to Sarah Stewart-Brown and Helen Frost, researchers from the Division of Health in the Community at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom. In their 2006 article published in the British Medical Journal, Stewart-Brown and Frost noted that patients who received acupressure experienced less disability, more pain relief and greater functionality even six months after acupressure treatments ended.


When an acupressure practitioner uses pressure points to treat your back pain, he can feel shifts in your muscle tension and qi flow with his fingers, notes John Cross, doctor of acupuncture and founder of John Cross Clinics in the Isle of Skye, United Kingdom. In his book “Acupressure: Clinical Applications In Musculo-Skeletal Conditions,” Cross says that the practitioner can offer you insights into the underlying causes of your back pain as he feels how qi is moving—or not moving—through key pressure points. Because acupressure is non-invasive, you can learn to self-treat at home.


While you might be able to trace your pain back to an accident or moment of overexertion, mysterious back pain can indicate an imbalance in one of your internal organs, according to TCM. Pain between the right shoulder blade and spine can indicate an issue with your liver or gall bladder, notes Synthia Andrews, bodywork therapist and co-author of “Acupressure & Reflexology for Dummies.” Consult your doctor if you are uncertain about the cause of your back pain.

Try This

Relieve pressure to your lower back by massaging two acupressure points that sit on either side of the spine, just above the pelvic bones. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Place your hands on your hips. Slide them around to the back, stretching your thumbs toward the spine. Probe either side of the spine for two tender points. Press and hold these points with your thumbs. Inhale, slowly pushing your head up toward the ceiling and expanding your chest upward. Exhale and allow your chest to return to its normal position. Relax fully while performing this exercise, advises Ilchi Lee, originator of Brain Education System Training, or BEST, in his book “Meridian Exercise for Self-Healing.” Continue until the points no longer feel tender.

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