5 Acupressure Techniques To Relieve Lower Back Pain

Photo: Nemanja Glumac

Paige Bourassa is a licensed acupuncturist with a thriving practice in the heart of New York City. In mbg’s newest class, Essential Guide To Acupressure: Relieve Back Pain, Reduce Headache Tension & Calm Your Anxiety, Paige introduces you to the ancient Chinese medicine practice of acupressure, teaching you how to relieve pain and tension on your own, as well as learning meditation and visualization techniques to feel like the best version of yourself.

Aches and pains cramping your style? Whether you have been struggling with chronic back pain for years or it’s a new flare-up in your life, getting to the cause of the pain quickly is a top priority. The most common causes of low back pain are age, strenuous physical activity, accidents and injuries, inactivity, chronic diseases, and genetic disorders.

It's frustrating to imagine that the two-a-day cross fitter is going to be injured as well as the desk jockey who sits all day, but those are the facts. With approximately 80 percent of adults experiencing lower back pain at some point in their lives, having a secret arsenal of acupuncture points is a must for pain relief anytime and anywhere. They will hold you over, getting you through the party or off the flight in one piece until you can visit your friendly neighborhood acupuncturist. Here are my all-time favorite acupressure points for lower back pain:

1. Press on your lower middle back, on Urinary Bladder 23.

Known as the kidney tonification point, acupressure point UB23 is one of the vital acupressure points for lower back pain. Stimulating UB23 provides lasting relief from lower back pain by reducing muscle tension, and it feels amazing. Press this point with medium pressure and hold, or rub for 60 to 90 seconds. Repeat as necessary—if you can have someone do it for you, you’ll be able to relax into the treatment much better.

Locate this point: This point can be found on the bladder line. The bladder line is at the middle of the waist, the intermediate point between the rib cage and the hip bone, on both sides of the inner edge of the muscle group around your spine called erector spinae.

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2. Press into your butt to stimulate Gallbladder 30.

Gallbladder 30 is yet another significant focal point for the treatment of lower back pain and releasing tension carried from the low back and hips. GB30 relieves pain in the lumbar spine (the lower part), hips, legs, and helps to improve circulation overall.

Locate this point: This point can be found in a tender spot on the buttocks, one-third of the way from the highest point of the sacrum (top of your butt crease) to the hip point. Draw a line between the two and split into thirds; this point is found at the first third, closer to the outside of your buttock.

3. Press into the back of your knee crease for Urinary Bladder 40.

The Urinary Bladder 40 or UB40 acupressure point is a tender point that helps immensely with most pain sensations along the spine. Stimulating this point on both legs helps in relieving stiffness and lower back pain, especially pain symptoms caused by herniated discs and sciatica. It is also useful for controlling muscle spasms, knee stiffness, arthritis in the surrounding areas, leg pain, and can help release heat from the body.

Locate this point: This point, called "Middle Crook," is located in the middle of the crease in the back of the knee.

4. Press the fleshy point between your pointer finger and your thumb with Large Intestine 4.

Probably the most well-known acupuncture point, LI 4, is the main pain point in the body. It can help alleviate most pain syndromes, especially when coupled with the other local back pain points. It is tender and should be pressed for 60 to 90 seconds and repeated if necessary.

Locate this point: This point is located in the fleshy webbing between the pointer finger and thumb. You can stimulate it from both the top and the bottom of the depression in the webbing and is easily accessed by pinching with your other thumb and index finger.

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5. Press into your outer ankle, on Urinary Bladder 62.

Urinary Bladder 62 or "extending vessel" is said to release lumbar tension as well as stabilize the spirit mind, which makes this point, which can be found on the foot, a great choice to soothe anxiety caused by acute back pain. All lower foot points are excellent to treat back pain, which is why reflexology can be so useful in lumbar spasms.

Locate this point: This point is located in the fleshy depression directed under the lateral or outside ankle bone. Stimulating this point on both feet and then carrying on to massage firmly underneath the feet along the arches helps in relieving stiffness and inhibited range of motion along the spine.

You can mix and match the points mentioned above or follow the sequence—the order matters less than how you treat each. Touch the points with intention, and take your time. The technique will help alleviate immediate pain, and you can revisit it at any time, for more long-term help with back pain, contact our office located in Union Square, New York City, or find your local acupuncturist and get some needles!

Paige has created acupressure routines for many ails. Whether you're feeling nauseated or hung over, experiencing allergies, can't think clearly, have PMS symptoms like bloating and cramping, feel super tired, or can't sleep, there's an acupressure point for that! Sign up here for her exclusive, live webinar on February 13 to get your personal acupressure questions answered!

Paige Bourassa, MSTOM, L.Ac., RHN

Acupuncturist, Herbologist & Founder Of Shen
Paige Bourassa is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbologist, Holistic Nutritionist and sushi fanatic who runs her private practice in the heart of Manhattan. After studying Holistic Nutrition and Psychology, Paige became fascinated with the psyches link to illness and went on to pursue her Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine focusing on treating psycho-emotional disorders and pain. She prides herself on blending ancient Chinese Medicine with modern science then adding humor and reality to treat regular people who don't know how to pronounce quinoa. Originally a gypsy wild child from Vancouver, Canada, Paige has a passion for healing and adventure which she found happily go hand in hand while treating patients in New York City. For more information or to see how non-threatening the needles are in person, you can contact her here paige@shenmedicine.com, visit her website or her Instagram and Twitter for health tips and general randomness @theacuchick.
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Paige Bourassa, MSTOM, L.Ac., RHN

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