Chronic pain in the upper back can be difficult to relieve, especially when conventional treatment methods aren’t cutting it down. However, there are alternative treatments for localized areas of upper back pain such as the use of pressure points in physical therapy, acupressure, and acupuncture.
So what are the pressure points to alleviate upper back pain? Most of the pressure points for upper back pain are found in the chest such as the surface of the stomach, the neck, the spleen, and the large intestine. Consult a physical therapist or an expert acupressure practitioner to locate the needed pressure points in your body for effective pain relief.
Pressure points are a medical concept that originated in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Though it may have been represented in popular media, the application of these pressure points do not grant instantaneous and wondrous effects. Instead, its real-world theory supposes that the body has a natural flow of energy that can be influenced through the use of meridians or energy lines.
These meridians channel energy to different organs in the body.
The intersections of these meridians are called pressure points. They can be activated through acupressure, a small amount of pressure applied through using fingers, hands, elbows, or other devices, or acupuncture, the insertion of extremely thin needles. By stimulating these areas, it can open up the energy and blood flow in a specific area of the body, alleviating pain and other health benefits.
For upper back pain, acupressure, especially when combined with physical therapy, is a well-known traditional form of pain relief treatment that carries zero risks, especially if done by a certified specialist. Once learned through their guidance, simple massages can be done at home to help ease any lingering or sudden bouts of upper back pain like shoulder pain or neck pain.
There are 12 meridians across the body that are said to connect energy across the organs. In Chinese medicine, It is said that ailments or pain are caused when the energy in these areas is blocked. Actuating the specific pressure points can help provide pain relief by increasing blood flow and loosening muscle tension.
If pain occurs in the neck, there are two pressure points in the area that can be tapped to soothe discomfort, tension, and aches: GB 21 and GB 10. GB 21 is located between the shoulders and neck while GB 10 is found on a thumb’s length below the skull and above the spine.
GB 21, also known as Jian Jing, is commonly used for neck pain, shoulder pain, and upper back pain due to tension, stiffness brought on by poor posture and strain. However, due to its meridian passing the Gallbladder, it may induce labor and should not be used by pregnant women. GB 10 can be used for greater degrees of neck pain or discomfort. Because of its location near the spine, it is theorized to boost the hormonal functions in the body.
K 27 can be accessed on both sides of the collarbone—about one fingertip under it—to help alleviate any chest pain, throat issues, and any form of tension in the area that could be causing or influencing any upper back pain. Applying pressure may help produce endorphins as its meridian is connected to the kidney.
This pressure point triggers the meridian in the lung to help clear up any blockages in the chest and congestion. By applying pressure in the center of the elbow crease, it could help upper back pain relating to conditions in the chest and any chronic lower back pain.
SI 15 is found in the area of the spine that needs the attention of a massage therapist or acupressure expert for proper treatment. It is effective for upper back pain due to cervical spondylosis or any age-related damage or worn in the spinal disks of the neck.
The pressure point found in 2 fingers’ length below the belly button is said to be the center of energy. As such, massaging it or applying an appropriate amount of pressure has a multitude of health benefits including pain relief for upper back pain and lower back pain. It is particularly effective for those recovering from surgery or childbirth.
The meridian for the large intestine can be activated by massaging the web between the thumb and index finger. This can help reduce upper back pain such as shoulder pain and neck pain, stress, and muscle tension. Another pressure point in the hand can be found in between the ring finger and the pinky. It has similar relaxing benefits that can help lower stress and tension for an easier
Though there are limited studies on acupressure, the use of pressure points is an innocuous practice that can be done alongside other pain management treatments, like pain medication, to help further ease any tension or stress outside the clinic. Simply massage the associated pressure points to comfort any pain in a certain area of the upper back, chest, and lower back or any other symptoms. It can also be done in the morning to invigorate the body for daily activity.
Acupressure when done as massage therapy is a potential alternative treatment for myofascial pain syndrome. This health condition arises when pressure or intense activity in sensitive points in the body, known as a trigger point, causes pain. It may even signal discomfort in a separate area of the body—a phenomenon known as referred pain.
Since it is a chronic pain condition, myofascial pain can be difficult to manage. Acupressure can target trigger point pain by enhancing blood circulation, nerve stimulation, and muscle tension in the affected area. It may even help lower stress and anxiety to better help the overall recovery process in the body.
However, the most effective utilization of pressure points should be done by a certified massage therapist or acupressure specialist. A massage session will definitely maximize the potential health benefits and upper back pain relief symptoms of acupressure. You may ask the physical therapist for simpler messages that can be done at home.
One of the available medical reviews on pressure points was done in 2007 where 9 out of 10 studies summarized that acupressure was able to alleviate pain caused by physical trauma, labor from pregnancy, and dysmenorrhea. 16 out of 23 studies have also reported that acupressure eased nausea in pregnant patients and those who underwent chemotherapy. Other selected studies concluded improvements in insomnia, fatigue, and dyspnea.
Though it may be a placebo, acupressure has had many anecdotal reports across different generations. It can be a simple habit to relieve any muscle knot, tension, and strain before or after the day’s activity. Other benefits include treating asthma symptoms, headaches, and digestive issues as the practice may increase activity in vital bodily systems.
Acupressure is a safe and effective practice that utilizes the body’s natural healing process to ease any tension or strain in the muscles in the upper back. Though it can be done at home, acupressure is best done with the proper tutoring and execution of a professional physical therapist along with medically-proven pain relief treatments.
At Gramercy Pain Center, we provide the best physical therapy and minimally-invasive pain management procedures in New Jersey. Our compassionate and expert staff can walk you through the most effective form of pain relief for your health conditions. Call us at 732-788-0349 or book a consultation online to start taking steps to alleviate your upper back pain.