10 magic acupressure points for lower back pain

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Let’s discuss 10 effective acupressure points for your lower back pain – or use them to help someone in need.

But where should you press? What are the best points?

In as little as 5 minutes of simple acupressure work, you can bring about significant improvements in back pain, with these points that work like magic!

Acupressure points for Lower back pain

What types of low back pain does acupressure work for?

From stress and poor posture to knee and hip conditions and lack of exercise, the modern lifestyle is destined to cause chronic low back pain for many of us.

As stress accumulates on our spine (vertebral joints) problems like disc bulges and pinched nerves can arise. With prolonged dysfunction, osteoarthritis pain may now be a factor, too.

Enter: Acupressure! You’re likely already familiar with acupressure and acupuncture. If not, skip ahead to the FAQ section to get familiarised.

Please be aware that all the information on physickle.com is strictly for general education purposes only. 

Nothing viewed on this site should delay you from seeking out medical advice or substitute any advice, diagnosis or treatment prescribed by your health professional – please see our website terms if you’d like any more clarification.

What are the best acupressure points for lower back pain?

GB 29

We start with GB 29, on the gallbladder meridian. This point is located between your greater trochanter (the bony outer part high up in your femur) and your iliac crest a few finger-widths above it.

Underneath is the TFL muscle which is hugely influential in lower back pain due to its actions at the hip and knee, and its habit of becoming tender from trigger points. Hence, this point is great for when you have hip pain too.

GB29 acupressure point
GB 29 acupoint location at the lateral hip

BL 23

Bladder 23 is associated with the kidneys in acupuncture literature. It’s also known by the glorious name the “sea of vitality”. As you feel above the dimples in your low back which are outcroppings of your posterior ilium (hip bone), move upward a few finger spaces to the first dense, muscular area in the lumbar spine.

BL23 lower back acupressure point
BL23 acupoint
BL23 acupoint pressure with ball
using a ball to press BL23 acupoint

BL 31

BL 31 is located on the highest point of the sacrum, the sacral base. This is the top, slightly bony area where your sacrum begins. Roughly just below the level where you would wear a belt. Pressing down on this point influences the Sacroiliac joint (SIJ) and local sacral nerves, making it a must-try spot for chronic lower back pain.

BL31 acupressure sacrum points
BL31 acupressure sacrum points

SP 6

The SP 6 spleen Meridian point is located on the inner part of your leg, just below halfway from your knee to your ankle. Press this point with thumb pressure, by grasping your lower leg with the opposite side hand.

SP6 acupressure point
SP6 acupressure point with a ball

GB 21

The GB 21 Gall Bladder Meridian point is a powerful massage spot that responds wonderfully to pressure. Located over the apex of the upper trapezius muscle (and usually, its firmest spot, where you will likely find a trigger point) this point can help to relieve tension and stiffness in the muscles of your shoulders and neck.

I’ve included this one because it’s a go-to for my own low back flare-ups. Don’t be surprised to experience a pain referral up to the temple on the same side!

GB21 acupressure upper trapezius
GB21 acupressure point overlies the upper trapezius

GB 20

The GB 20 Gall Bladder Meridian point, is located at the base of your skull on either side of your spine. It’s Find this pressure point by pressing down with your thumb or index finger. Feel for the slight dish, or drop-off, underneath your occiput, but stay just on the firm portion of it rather than descending to the upper neck.

GB20 acupressure points
GB20 acupressure points

LI 4

LI4, or Large Intestine 4, is the most famous acupressure and acupuncture point in history, for its reported ability to help almost any pain in the body.

Located at the web of the thumb, at the back side of the hand, find the apex of the muscle bulge when the index finger and thumb tips are pressed together.

LI4 acupoint

Squeeze LI-4 by pinching the center of the mound of flesh here, and hold a tolerable pressure for 30 seconds. Repeat as needed, usually 3-4 times.

SP 10

SP10 is often overlooked, but pressing here to relieve pain in the muscles of your legs and thighs will relieve tension in your lower back as well. You can press a massage ball easily upon SP10 to increase the release if desired.

Sit with this part of your leg facing upward, knee slightly bent, to access SP10. The area is a nexus of 3 muscles that connect here, including some adductors which reach up to the pelvis.

SP10 acupressure point
SP10 acupressure point

UB 18

UB 18 bladder point is located in the mid back. Due to the muscles being thinner here, and the rib joints underlying, use less pressure here.

UB18 acupressure back points
UB18 acupressure back points

UB 40

The UB 40 urinary bladder point is on the bulge of tissue at the back of the knee. Pressing here engages powerful changes in muscle tension, thanks to the underlying popliteus muscle.

It can feel uncomfortable, so start light. When you can handle more pressure (for up to 1 minute) you will notice the benefit of this soothing location.

Starting out with low back acupressure

How to get the pressure right

To stimulate these pressure points, you can use gentle but firm pressure with your fingers, or a smooth rounded instrument such as a massage ball or roller. It is important to ensure that you maintain a comfortable body posture while performing acupressure techniques, so that you can fully reap the healing benefits of this ancient practice.

How many treatments to give

If you want to get the most out of your acupressure treatments for lower back pain, try to give yourself between 3-5 sessions per week. Reduce the frequency or pressure if you notice significant tenderness after acu-sessions.

For chronic low back pain or pain with sciatic nerve involvement, you really want to apply acupressure with some frequency – especially at the points at the bottom of your spine. This is to elicit blood flow and nervous system changes that have a chance to break the pain cycle.

This will allow your body time to fully absorb the healing energy, and discover the best points of acupressure treatment that get you the best results.

Lower back Acupressure FAQ

What is the best acupressure point for lower back pain?

If you could only choose one point, then the most effective would likely be the B47 bladder acupressure point. This is because it overlies important anatomical structures involved in chronic back pain.

These include your Quadratus Lumborum (QL), and Lumbar Erector Spinae muscles.
Of course, different acupressure points work better for different people. It is worth mentioning the stomach point also – one of the most important and highly regarded acupuncture points. We believe it is better addressed as a needling point at your local acupuncturist’s office.

What is acupressure?

Acupressure is an ancient form of healing that has been used for thousands of years in China and other parts of Asia. While western medicine focuses on using pharmaceutical drugs and invasive procedures to treat various health conditions, acupressure relies on stimulating pressure points located on the body.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, this unlocks “chi” – the vital life force that can also be known as innate intelligence. Some say it’s the power that made your body and heals your body.

How does acupressure work?

The exact mechanism by which acupressure works is not fully understood. However, experts believe that it helps to relieve tension and pain in the body by stimulating blood flow and helping your body release hormones like endorphins, whilst de-inflaming trigger points in muscle tissue.

This can naturally reduce inflammation and promote healing – a godsend for those with chronic pain!

If you are experiencing lower back pain or want to try an alternative healing method for chronic conditions like arthritis or fibromyalgia, then acupressure is definitely worth a try.

What is the difference between acupressure and acupuncture?

While acupuncture treatments use thin needles to access the flow of energy across your body’s meridians, acupressure is performed using gentle but firm finger or tool pressure. Acupuncture needles pierce the skin; acupressure does not break the skin barrier.

Some practitioners of acupressure may also use heat, electrical stimulation, and other techniques to augment. Nowadays, dry needling has increased in popularity as a deeper form of needle therapy, which often elicits muscle spasms when a trigger point (TrP) is reached.

Physical therapists typically offer this, but not all parts of the United states have laws granting this to them yet.

Should I try acupressure or acupuncture first for lower back pain?

It is best to try acupressure points yourself at home first for a few days, to see if you can bring about pain relief. It’s a safe, cheap, and effective way to begin.

Then, if you are not getting the relief you need, consult your healthcare professional for a course of acupuncture. You can’t perform acupuncture yourself at home because of the risk of injury with the fine filament needles.

If you have sciatic pain, leg pain, shoulder pain or structural issues with your body, it’s a good idea to consult with a chiropractor or physical therapist to talk through these various acupressure points. Even then, they may recommend further hands-on care, like massage therapy, to help remove deeper layers of interference at your spine and nervous system and treat the surrounding area.

What meridians have you explored for pain, and which specific lower back points brought relief? Let us know below, so the knowledge of acupressure spreads further.

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Author Bio

Dr Jason Whealing headshot

Dr. Jason Whealing is a Chiropractor with extensive experience across the UK and Australia. He is passionate about family care and injury management. The cases Jason works with daily include back pain, neck pain, jaw pain, sciatica, knee pain, shoulder pain, headaches and migraine.

Please be aware that all the information on physickle.com is strictly for general education purposes only. 

Nothing viewed on this site should delay you from seeking out medical advice or substitute any advice, diagnosis or treatment prescribed by your health professional – please see our website terms if you’d like any more clarification.

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