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By P. Sze | Last updated: December 11, 2022

13 Acupressure Points For Shoulder And Arm Pain I Absolutely Love

I’ve been dealing with shoulder pain for a while. I think it has something to do with the way I sleep. I sleep on my side with my arm tucked under my head. When I wake up, I’m incredibly stiff. However, after using these acupressure points for shoulder and arm pain, my shoulder feels much better.

Is It Possible That Acupuncture Can Help With Frozen Shoulders?

 Yes, a clinical trial study of 40 patients with frozen shoulders administered acupuncture as a treatment for frozen shoulders to half of the patients. Results showed that three months after treatment, those who received acupuncture treatment had a greater improvement than those in the control group.

Can Acupuncture Help With Arm Pain?

Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash

 A 2008 study in The Clinical Journal of Pain looked at 123 participants with persistent arm pain and randomly assigned them to either a group that would receive 8 true or sham acupuncture treatments over 4 weeks. They measured intensity of pain, arm symptoms, arm function, and grip strength at 2 weeks and 4 weeks during treatment, as well as one month after treatment ended. The results did not find evidence to support the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of persistent arm pain due to repetitive use.

However, TCM emphasizes that everything is connected and although this study may not have shown a direct connection between treatment, many of the acupressure for shoulder and arm pain function indirectly, so more research is needed. Another study also concluded there was not enough evidence to say that acupuncture helps, but they note that it may improve pain and function over the short term.

Acupressure Points For Shoulder Pain Relief

Acupoint: LI-4 (Other Names: Large Intestine-4/He Gu/Joining Valley)

He Gu

 LI-4 is located on the dorsum of the hand, between the first and second metacarpal bones, in the middle of the second metacarpal bone on the radial side. It is classified as the Yuan-Source point of the Large Intestine Meridian and the Command Point of the head and face.

It is indicated for diseases of the head and face, including external pathogenic headache and body ache, dizziness, congestion, swelling and pain of the eye, nasosinusitis, nosebleed, toothache in the lower jaw, lockjaw, deafness, swelling of the face, facial paralysis, facial tic, swelling of the pharynx, and the inability to speak. It is also indicated for an aversion to cold, fever and febrile disease, anhidrosis, and hidrosis. It’s also used to treat dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, dystocia, gastric pain, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, and dysentery, as well as hemiplegia, finger spasm, infantile convulsion, manic psychosis, irritability, malignant sore, urticaria, scabies, and every type of pain and psychogenic tense. In conjunction with LIV-3, it is indicated to strongly move the qi and blood in the body in order to remove stagnation and alleviate pain. Like the SP-5 acupuncture point, it is helpful in detoxing the spleen and other organs. It is one of the great acupressure points for shoulder and arm pain.

It functions by expelling wind and releasing the exterior, tonifying qi, and strengthening immunity, stopping pain, regulating the face and head area, and inducing labor. It is a very common and useful point for any condition related to the face and head, as well as Wind-Heat conditions, such as the flu. It is the main pain point for pain anywhere in the body.

Acupoint: SI-3 (Other Names: Small Intestine-3/Hou Xi/Back Stream)

With a loose fist, you will find the point on the ulnar aspect of the hand, proximal to the 5th metacarpophalangeal join, at the end of the transverse crease of the metacarpophalangeal joint, at the junction of the red and white skin. It is classified as a Shut-Stream point of the Small Intestine Meridian and a Master Point of the Du Meridian when combined with UB-62.

It is indicated for pain and rigidity of the head and neck, malaria, pain in the lumbar and sacrum, acute spasm in the finger, elbow, and arm, manic psychosis, epilepsy, deafness, and eye congestion. This makes it one of the notable acupressure points for shoulder and arm pain.

It functions by benefitting the neck and back, activating the meridian, expelling exterior Wind, regulating the Du meridian, calming the Shen, and treating malaria. SI-3 and BL-40 acupuncture point can help maintain good health.

Acupoint: Bl-10 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-10/Tian Zhu/Celestial Pillar)

Bl-10 Urinary Bladder-10 Tian Zhu Celestial Pillar

BL-10 is on the nape of the neck, in the depression on the lateral border of the trapezius muscle, within the posterior hairline, and 1.3 cun lateral to the midline. It is classified as a Sea of Qi point and a Window of the Sky point. It is indicated for dizziness, headache, neck stiffness, pain in the shoulder and back, nasal congestion, and sore throat. It is also one of the best acupressure points for the eyes. It functions by expelling Wind, activating the meridian, soothing the sinews, benefitting the head, alleviating pain, and opening the sense orifices.

 Acupoint: GB-20 (Other Names: Gallbladder-20/Feng Chi/Wind Pool)

GB-20 is located on the nape, below the occiput, in the depression between the upper portion of the sternocleidomastoideus and trapezius muscles. It is classified as the crossing point of the Gall Bladder Meridian and the Yang Wei Vessel.

 It is indicated for the common cold, nasal congestion, headache, redness, swelling, and pain of the eye, rhinorrhea, epistaxis, rigidity, and pain of the neck, limitation of the shoulder, dizziness, vertigo, hemiplegia, and epilepsy.

It functions by dispelling exterior and interior Wind, clearing the head, benefiting the eyes, nose, and ears, subduing Liver Yang, activating the meridian, and relieving pain. It is also one of the best TMJ pressure points.

 Acupoint: SI-14 (Other Names: Small Intestine-14/Jian Wai Shu/Outer Shoulder Transporter)

SI-14 is located on the back, 3 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of T1. It is one of the best acupressure points for neck pain, as well as shoulder and back pain, as well as suddenly stiff neck. It functions by activating the meridian, benefitting the shoulder and scapula, and alleviating pain. It’s one of the extremely useful acupressure points for shoulder and arm pain.

Pressure Point To Relieve Arm Pain

Acupoint: LI-10 (Other Names: Large Intestine-10/Shou San Li/Arm Three Miles)

LI-10 is located on the outer, lateral surface of the forearm and three fingers width below the elbow crease, in the depression between the muscles, when the elbow is bent 90 degrees.

It is indicated for abdominal pain, diarrhea, and paralysis of the upper extremities, making it important in acupressure for carpal tunnel. It’s a great pressure point to relieve arm pain.

It functions by regulating Qi and blood, tonifying Qi, activating the meridian, and stopping pain.

LI-10 is commonly used for neck tightness, shoulder pain, and tennis elbow. You should relax and breathe deeply as you apply pressure and massage the area for 4 to 5 seconds. You can either do it yourself or someone else can do it for you. You shouldn’t apply pressure to an open wound or swollen or inflamed areas. Also avoid areas with scar tissue, boils, blisters, rashes, or varicose veins.

Acupoint: LI-5 (Other Names: Large Intestine-5/Yang Xi/Yang Stream)

LI-5 is located on the radial side of the dorsal crease of the wrist, when the thumb is pointed upwards, it is in the depression between the tendons of the extensor pollicis longus and brevis muscles. It is classified as a Jing-River point of the Large Intestine Meridian.

It is indicated for frontal headache, congestion, swelling and pain of the eye, toothache, and weakness of the wrist. Like the PC-9 acupuncture point, it is a great acupoint for eyestrain, neck and shoulder stiffness.

It functions by expelling Wind, clearing Yangming Fire, and benefiting the throat.

Acupoint: SI-5 (Other Names: Small Intestine-5/Yang Gu/Yang Valley)

 SI-5 is located on the ulnar aspect of the wrist, in the depression between the styloid process of the ulna and the triquetral bone. It is classified as a Jing-River point of the Small Intestine Meridian.

It is indicated for neck pain, the pain of the hand and wrist, and febrile diseases. It functions by clearing heat, clearing the meridian, and reducing swelling.

Acupoint: LU-6 (Other Names: Lung-6/Kong Zui/Maximum Opening)

LU-6 is located on the radial palmar aspect of the forearm, on the line joining LU-5 and LU-9, 7 cun above the transverse crease of the wrist. It is classified as the Xi-Cleft point of the Lung Meridian.

It is indicated for acute hemoptysis, bleeding hemorrhoids, and epistaxis, as well as one of the main acupressure points for cough. It also helps with a sore throat, febrile diseases without sweating, and pain in the forearm.

It functions by descending and regulating Lung Qi, stopping bleeding, and clearing heat.

Acupressure Points For Frozen Shoulder Pain

Acupoint: HT-2 (Other Names: Heart-2/Qing Ling/Green Spirit)

HT-2 is located on the medial aspect of the upper arm, 3 cun above the transverse cubital crease on the line connecting HT-1 and HT-3, in the groove medial to the biceps brachiii muscle.

It is indicated for cardiac pain, pain in the hypochondrium, and pain in the shoulder and arm. It functions by activating the meridian, benefiting the arm, and alleviating pain.

Acupoint: SP-21 (Other Names: Spleen-21/Da Bao/Great Embrace)

SP-21 is located on the lateral aspect of the chest, on the mid-axillary line, in the 6th intercostal space. It is about 6 cun below the armpit. It is classified as a Major Luo-Connecting point of the Spleen Meridian.

It is indicated for general aching and weakness of the limbs, asthma, and pain in the chest and hypochondrium. It functions by moving blood, regulating Qi, and benefiting the sinews and joints.

Acupoint: TE-14 (Other Names: Triple Energizer-14/Jian liao/Shoulder Crevice)

TE-14 is located on the region of the shoulder, when the arm is abducted, the point is posterior to LI-15, in the depression posterior, and inferior to acromion. It is indicated for pain and limitation of the shoulder and arm. It functions by activating the meridian, alleviating pain, benefiting the shoulder, and dispelling Wind-Damp.

Acupoint: SI-9 (Other Names: Small Intestine-9/Jian Zhen/True Shoulder)

SI-9 is located posterior and inferior to the shoulder joint when the arm is adducted. It is 1 cun above the posterior end of the axillary fossa. It is indicated for pain in the shoulder and arm, scrofula, and tinnitus. It functions by activating the meridian, alleviating pain, and benefiting the shoulder.

Written by

P. Sze

P. Sze

P. Sze is the founder of TCM Tips and Dragon Acupuncture®. She graduated from the National University of Singapore with a first-class honor in Civil Engineering. She also holds a master’s degree in Engineering and is the brain behind the innovative TCM products of Dragon Acupuncture®. She is the author of The Beginner's Guide to Auricular Therapy: Application of Ear Seeds (ISBN 978-1520451398) and Facial Gua Sha - Fight the Signs of Aging Naturally and Inexpensively (ISBN 978-1980678922). She has dedicated her life to ensuring that the complex theories behind oriental medicine and the seemingly dangerous techniques that involve needles and fire do not scare you from trying oriental medicine. This is why she writes endlessly about acupressure and its countless health and wellness benefits.

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