Does Acupressure for Back Pain Work?

Have you tried simple acupressure for your back pain? Acupressure is such a simple technique compared to what many people go through for pain relief that it’s easily dismissed as “hooey”. But, I can tell you, acupressure for back pain does work!

Does Acupressure Work?

I am not going to get into whether Asian type acupressure treatments work for back pain or not.

However, I am going to tell you about a different approach to acupressure that can definitely work for back, shoulder, neck, and leg pain.

I can make my own story short for this post.

After years of dealing with physicians, chiropractors, prescription and over the counter pain pills, acupressure has saved the day.

Most western physicians and even acupressure therapists don’t really believe in the meridians or that they even exist.

What they do know is that there are definite pressure points in your body that can be manipulated with great results.

With the use of a foam roller,

You can easily identify for yourself these pressure points and massage them yourself.

When you do, you will reduce stress in muscle tissue that causes pain, boost the flow of blood to the area, and excite pain killer endorphins that work naturally.

How Acupressure Works

Professional practitioners of acupressure employ their palms, elbows, feet, fingers, and a variety of special contraptions to apply direct pressure to particular points in the body.

Woman probing back for trigger points to massage
Woman massage therapist probing for trigger points to massage

According to professional charts there are as many as 361 acupoints in a body that follow meridians. Acupressure itself starts out as an ancient Chinese medical method for treating illnesses and pain.

The end goal of Asian acupressure methods is the restoration of health through the balance of energy.

In fact, it is purported to treat not only back pain but settle your mind and emotions. Personally I can’t help but go along with this, because any massage therapist should help with that.

Common Causes of Back Pain

Back pain is one of the leading and most common complaints sending people to the doctor. Many of these complaints wind up as chronic pain and long term disabilities that stem from:

  • Overused muscles causing muscle and tendon strains
  • Arthritis

Not all, but the majority of back pain originates from muscles being used and overused from a variety of causes. Here are a few common causes of back pain:

  • Work related issues
  • Bending over desk all day
  • Regular exercise over training
  • Sports activities
  • Automobile accidents
  • Aging

As you get older the cartilage in joints wears out which often causes muscle and tendon pain in and around the affected joints.

I have been surprised to learn how cartilage wearing out in one knee causes a series of skeletal events that wind up with sore muscles in my back. How one arthritic shoulder joint affects muscle pain all the way to my waistline.

How To Relieve Back Pain At Home

The good news is that there are measures you can take at home for relief and prevention of back pain.

I don’t know about you, but I much prefer simple home remedies and preventive measures to medical treatments, hospitals, pain relievers, and surgery.

I already knew about using a professional masseuse specializing in acupressure to release pressure points. But learning that I could foam roll my back pain has been a real boon.

This is actually a method of applying manual pressure to the same places used for acupuncture.

Professionals use hands, fingers, wrist, elbows, and even mechanical devices to apply direct pressure to these points.

Probing with a fingertip or blunt object

Having someone probe your back for these pressure points.

It’s easy enough with someone to help find them. Let’s say you have discomfort in your upper back muscles. Have someone begin probing with any blunt object like the end of a finger or pencil around your shoulder blades.

You direct them to the general area of the pain and as they press the object into the fascia and muscle tissue, look for the very most sensitive areas.

When you locate a pressure point it means you have located a specific place that nerve endings are either bundled up or simply a place receiving a lot of pain messages.

The idea now is to apply direct and intense pressure to this point for 5-15 seconds.

This is actually activating all the nerves in this point and sending messages to all the affected muscles.

Finding and massaging pressure points with a foam roller

I’ve paid people to do this, had my wife find and release the pressure points, and bought instruments designed to do it for me.

The best results I’ve found comes from foam rolling.

There are several different types of foam rollers to do the job.

  • Some are smooth and generally apply pressure to the fascia, which is tissue between skin and muscle tissue.
  • Others have a variety of knobs, spines, and splines that go deeper to do the same thing as probing with fingers, hands, elbow, and even feet.

The main difference I’ve found is that rollers do a much better job.


There’s no doubt that acupressure for back pain works in many cases. Of course there can be back problems that only physicians and surgery can correct, but for the most common back pain issues, acupressure is well worth trying.

Of course, the best way is with a foam roller. Using your own body weight allows you to find and pinpoint the troublesome pressure points with just the right amount of pressure.

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