4 Acupressure Points For Trapezius Pain You Need To Know

Does work require you to spend long hours glued to your chair and desk? Have you been experiencing severe pain in your back and neck? Chronic neck pain could be a sign that your trapezius muscle is stressed and overworked. Using acupressure points for trapezius pain is one of the best ways to treat this type of pain.

What are Trapezius Muscles?

Trapezius muscles are important back muscles. They are triangular in shape and start at the base of your neck, span the width of your shoulders, and extend to the middle of your back. Responsible for posture and movement, these muscles help you shrug, turn, tilt, and move your shoulders.

Causes For Trapezius Muscle Pain

Here are common causes for pain within the trapezius muscles:

  • Reduced blood flow caused by restricted movement. This can lead to muscle contraction and stiffness. It’s caused by poor posture, remaining in one posture for too long, constant repetitive motions, or overuse of the muscles.
  • Lack of nutrients and hydration causes cramps, muscle contraction, and spasms.
  • Fatigue and small muscle tears. This can happen due to muscle overuse and exercising past your muscle’s capacity.

Why Acupressure?

Photo by Hu Chen on Unsplash

Professional physical therapy is one solution to relieve yourself of this pain. However, what if I told you that there are acupressure points for trapezius pain that you can massage to get rid of that ache? Indeed, acupressure treatment is a great way to treat different health conditions, including stiffness and muscle pain.

Safe and drug-free, acupressure is an alternative treatment used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It can be used independently or in combination with other treatments to boost circulation, release muscle tension, and relax the mind and body. 

For centuries, people have been using reflexology and acupressure to treat neck pain. The right acupressure points can cure a number of health problems — from managing stress and anxiety to balancing thyroid glands, regulating blood circulation, and treating hormonal imbalances.

Scientific Studies On Acupressure

According to a study published on the website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the stimulation of trigger points in the body by dry needling resulted in a significant reduction in chronic pain. Out of 56 adults, 41 reported that their level of discomfort either became latent or were altogether resolved. Though acupoints and trigger points were discovered independently and have different names, they rely on the same underlying neural functions.

In yet another study, Korean researchers endeavored to find out how effective acupressure was on “nakchim,” a type of neck pain characterized by stiffness without any signs of physical trauma. They surveyed 13 case series and two case studies which all together entailed the participation of 1,037 subjects. A frequent trigger point during research was the GB 21 acupoint. Though the results were inconclusive and bear further investigation, the different studies they reviewed suggested that acupressure could be an effective treatment for “nakchim.”

Acupressure For Trapezius Muscle

Since it’s easy to do, why don’t you give acupressure a try by locating the following acupressure points for trapezius muscle pain?

Acupoint: GB-21 (Other Names: Gallbladder-21/Jian Jing/Shoulder Well)

Also known as Jian Jing, the GB 21 pressure point is generally used to relieve stress, stiffness, headaches, neck and shoulder pain. It is the primary pressure point for trapezius muscle where most muscle tension accumulates for people experiencing acute shoulder or back pain. It is also one of the top acupressure points to reduce arm fat.

If you’re pregnant, access the GB 21 with extreme caution because it can induce labor.

GB 21 is located near the top of the shoulders and to the side within a two-finger distance from the base of your neck.

Access the GB 21 with your opposite hand, exert moderate pressure with your middle, and ring fingers until you can’t push them in deeper. While in this position, slowly move your arm in a circular or up-and-down motion for 1 minute, then switch sides.

Acupoint: HT-7 (Other Names: Heart-7/Shen Men/Spirit Gate)

The Shen Men Point, also known as HT 7 and Spirit Gate, is a great acupoint to learn because of the several health benefits you can reap by accessing it. It isn’t just one of the most popular pressure points for trapezius pain, but it’s also one of the top acupressure points for sleep in hand

Its name Spirit Gate is based on the ability of this acupoint to calm the mind and emotions. If you suffer from anxiety and stress, you can give this acupoint a try. Additionally, it can be used to treat motion sickness, forgetfulness, and chest tightness.

You can find the “door to access our spirit” by turning your hands’ palms up to face you. The HT 7 is near the crease of your inner wrist and on the side of the ulnar or pinky finger under the bottom of the hand.

Acupoint: PC-9 (Other Names: Pericardium-9/Zhong Chong/Middle Rushing)

PC-9 is located in the center of the tip of the middle finger. To access it, exert pressure on the fingertip of your middle finger. 

Besides relieving neck and back pain this is one of the great acupressure points to stay awake.

It’s also used for treating eye strain, relieving heatstroke, coma, stiff or swollen tongue, cardiac pain, fainting, treating convulsions in children, fever, and soothing crying of babies at night.

Acupoint: TE-15 (Other Names: Triple Energizer-15/Tian Liao/Upper Arm Hole)

In English Tian Liao translates into the upper armhole. This is a great acupoint for relieving stiffness in your arms, shoulder, and neck.

You’ll find your TE 15 in the scapular region along the scapula’s superior angle, to the side, and a few inches from the top of your shoulder. It’s located at the posterior midpoint of your upper trapezius muscle, just above the spinous process of the scapula.

In a perfect world, we’d remember and be able to get up from our desks every so often, but when we’re pressed for time and have looming deadlines, it isn’t always that simple. For times when the pain in our trapezius area becomes too much, try these simple acupoints. They may give you some relief.

Author: 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. S he 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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