Neck pain is one of those conditions that sneak up on us when we least expect it. When it does come up, it is a pain to deal with. However, it doesn’t just end at the physical pain we feel in the moment. Sometimes neck pain can trigger other issues such as headaches. And unfortunately, we are all in this together. It is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders in the adult population with a prevalence of about 20%. Much of it can be attributed to our poor postures from sitting for most of the day. There isn’t any cure, but the best treatment for it is prevention. Besides fixing posture, you can treat the acupressure points for neck pain to manage your symptoms. We will soon go over how to do this in the most effective way possible.
Is Acupuncture Effective To Help Or Reduce Back Pain, And Is It Safe?
Acupuncture is a form of holistic treatment that originated from traditional Chinese medicine. During this treatment, needles are strategically inserted into specific points in your body deemed “acupoints”. It is believed that stimulating these points will help treat any disease or pain associated with the specific organ or system that the points are connected to. While there is not enough solid research to determine whether acupuncture is effective for back pain, preliminary research suggests that there is potential in this type of treatment. There is no risk to you if you try out acupuncture, even if just once. It is completely safe if you are under the care of an experienced practitioner. Like any other treatment, there are some inherent risks involved, such as infections or punctured organs, but these rarely happen if your practitioner knows what they’re doing. If you do give it a shot, keep in mind that acupuncture isn’t a cure-all. It is only meant to provide temporary relief, so repeat treatment is necessary.
Can Acupressure Help With Neck Pain?
On the other hand, acupressure relies on applying firm pressure rather than needles to stimulate the same acupoints. The best thing about acupressure is that anyone can do it. Other than being careful, there is no specific experience needed to treat oneself with acupressure. It is similar to giving yourself a massage but with more targeted treatment and a specific end goal. Some evidence has shown that acupressure for neck pain is effective in reducing pain. However, most research is still inconclusive. You can still try this treatment at home with virtually no risk. Later in this article, we will discuss how to perform acupressure for neck pain and what acupressure points for neck pain to target.
How To Stimulate The Neck Pain Acupressure Point
Acupressure is easy enough that you can perform it on yourself wherever you are. Before we discuss specific acupressure points for neck pain, we must go over the proper technique.
Step #1: Position yourself in a comfortable area
Find an area where you can sit or lie down comfortably to perform acupressure on yourself. Ideally, this would also be a quiet area that will help you relax so that you can get the most out of your self-treatment.
Step #2: Gently apply pressure to acupoints
Once you have located your desired acupoint, gently and firmly massage the area. You can do so in circular or up-and-down motions. Continue to do this for each point.
Step #3: Rinse and repeat
If you feel relief after performing this treatment, feel free to continue doing it throughout the day and as part of your daily regimen. You can do it as many times as you want.
Step #4 (Optional): Massage with a hard object
For further relief, you can consider performing acupressure with a hard object such as a tennis ball. You would still do it as you normally would, as described in step 2, but with an object in hand.
Be careful not to work on any open injuries or abnormalities in the skin, as these can be particularly sensitive to any form of manipulation. If you feel a lot of pain or soreness while performing acupressure for neck pain, stop immediately.
Acupressure Points For Neck Pain
Even though there isn’t a solid scientific basis to prove the effectiveness of acupressure treatment, most people have benefitted from it in some form. The act of massaging itself is relaxing and should help improve your pain. The best thing about acupressure is that there is no harm in trying it out, even if there is little to no benefit. Now that you have mastered the acupressure technique, you can learn the following acupressure points for neck pain that you will treat on your own.
1. Acupoint: SI-14 (Other Names: Small Intestine-14/Jian Wai Shu/Outer Shoulder Transporter)
SI-14, also known as “jianwaishu” or “outer shoulder transporter”, is located 3 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of T1. This point specifically treats stiff neck and shoulder pain. Research has also found that it plays a role in stimulating the autonomic nervous system.
2. Acupoint: LU-1 (Other Names: Lung-1/Zhong Fu/Middle Palace)
LU-1, also known as “zhongfu” or “middle assembly”, is located just under the collar bone. It is effective for treatment of neck, shoulder, and back pain. However, this point is mainly known for treating diseases such as asthma or tuberculosis because of its role in supporting the lungs. It can also be targeted for strengthening the immune system and healing emotional trauma.
3. Acupoint: LI-10 (Other Names: Large Intestine-10/Shou San Li/Arm Three Miles)
LI-10, also known as “shousanli” or “arm three miles”, is located about three fingers below the elbow fold if you flex the elbow. This point helps relieve general pain throughout the body, such as neck pain. It can be used as acupressure for tennis elbow, and it is also an acupressure point for carpal tunnel. Practitioners often use it to relieve pain caused by incorrect needling techniques. Otherwise, the majority of its benefits are related to the digestive system.
4. Acupoint: GB-20 (Other Names: Gallbladder-20/Feng Chi/Wind Pool)
Gb-20, also known as “fengchi” or “wind pool” is located in the hollow areas underneath the base of your skull. This is a great point to treat, especially if you have shoulder pain, but it is equally as effective for stiff neck and headaches. It is also recommended for migraines, eye fatigue, and commonly used in acupuncture for jaw pain. Successful acupuncture studies have shown that when Gb-20 is treated along with other acupoints, it can significantly help with migraines and dry eyes.
5. Acupoint: GB-21 (Other Names: Gallbladder-21/Jian Jing/Shoulder Well)
Gb-21, also known as “jianjing” or “shoulder well”, is located on the shoulder between the shoulder tip and spinal column. It is usually used to treat neck pain, neck stiffness, and shoulder pain. Research has shown that it can help relieve chronic headaches and myofascial pain in the upper trapezius muscle. Gb-21 also helps with eye strain, back pain, anxiety, bruxism, and toothaches. Don’t use this point if you are pregnant because it might induce labor.
6. Acupoint: Bl-43 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-43/Gao Huang Shu/Vital Region Shu)
Bl-43, also known as “gaohuangshu” or “vital region shu”, is located 3 cun to both sides of the fourth thoracic vertebra spinous process. The main indications for this point include asthma, cough, tuberculosis, and other lung ailments. However, it also helps with neck, shoulder, and back pain. You can also treat this point if you are looking to lose weight and boost your immune system.
Does A Hot Shower Help Neck Pain?
A hot shower can definitely help with neck pain. Not only does the force of the water soothe the soreness in your neck, but the warm temperature helps to relax the muscles and increase blood circulation. It is recommended that you first use warm water for a few minutes, then switch to cold water for a minute or two. You can continue to alternate between the two water temperatures if needed. The reason for this is because keeping your neck under hot water for too long can cause the inflammation to worsen. The cold water keeps the inflammation in line while helping promote healing. This same treatment can be done using hot and cold compresses outside of the shower.