Simple Tips for Keeping Your Family Healthy

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

8 Important Acupressure Points for Herniated Discs to Avoid Severe Pain

Herniated or bulging discs are a common cause of back, leg, and hip pain. The intervertebral disks serve as ligaments to hold the backbones together and as a cushion between the backbones. A herniated disc puts pressure on the spine’s nerves and muscles. If left untreated, herniated discs can cause severe nerve damage. Acupressure points for herniated discs can relieve nerve stress and effectively treat lower back pain and sciatic pain caused by a herniated disc.

How Does TCM Regard Herniated Discs?

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According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are meridians which are channels that form a network in the body. The vital energy Qi flows through the network of channels and meridians. Blocked Qi causes back and sciatic pain or illness. The bladder channel, governing vessel, and organ of the kidneys are close to the lower back region, where herniated discs and sciatic pain mostly occur.

Trauma to the backbone area obstructs the flow of qi and blood in the channels and meridians, causing herniated disc pain. This stagnation in the movement of vital energy in the body (Qi) causes pain and other symptoms. Cold and kidney deficiencies also cause lower back pain, so internal medicine physicians use acupressure for herniated discs l4-l5 in physical therapy.

Does Acupuncture Cure Herniated Discs?

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Previous studies have proven that acupuncture for herniated discs l5-s1 offers instant, short-term alleviation of severe back and sciatic pain. Acupuncture boosts the body’s natural healing process for sciatica, herniated, slipped, or bulging discs.

Can acupuncture help with a herniated disc?

Acupuncture successfully reduces inflammation and pain caused by a herniated disc. Researchers from Hannan District Peoples Hospital found that acupuncture combined with moxibustion had a 90% success rate in treating herniated discs in the lower back. The overall effectiveness rate for acupuncture as a stand-alone therapy was 85%. In addition, the treatment significantly reduced lower back pain and radiculopathy. The researchers also confirmed functional motor improvements with diagnostics.

Can acupuncture heal a herniated disc?

This clinical study reports a Spontaneous regression of severe radiculopathy herniated cervical disc treated with acupuncture, pharmacopuncture, and herbal medicine. After receiving treatment for 12 months, the symptoms significantly improved. In addition, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was conducted, demonstrating significant regression of the herniated disc. The primary outcome of this case illustrates a herniated cervical disc spontaneously regressing after non-surgical treatment.

Can acupuncture help with herniated disc pain?

A systematic review and meta-analysis compared celecoxib, an anti-inflammatory drug, to acupuncture and herniated disc herbal remedies. According to the Xinzheng Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital clinical outcome, combining acupuncture therapy with herbs relieves lumbar disc herniation(LDH) pains.

After receiving acupuncture and a modified Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang herbal formula, patients with lumbar disc herniation experienced pain reduction and improved quality of life. Patients with lumbar disc herniation who had acupuncture and the herbal formula reported reduced pain. The complementary and alternative medicine had a total effective rate of 90.69%, and no side effects were noted.

What Are The Acupressure Points For Herniated Discs?

Acupressure points for herniated discs aid in promoting the movement of life-giving energy (Qi) through the meridians that connect the body’s major organs. The first step in effective treatment is diagnosis. Selecting the best acupressure points for herniated discs is necessary because massaging or needling the wrong point can lead to adverse events. Below are the most commonly used acupressure points for herniated discs:

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

Bl-10 Urinary Bladder-10 Tian Zhu Celestial Pillar

Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to Bladder 10 as the Windows of the Sky. The Bl-10 acupuncture for herniated discs in the neck harmonizes the lower body (earth) and the upper body (heaven). The Bl-10 acupressure points are where the triple warmer channels, gallbladder, small intestine, and bladder connect. Activating the Bl-10 acupressure points opens the meridians, which improves the qi flows to nourish and energize the body.

Bl-10 improves brain function by increasing circulation to the brain and is considered among the acupressure points for dementia. In addition, it treats neck and shoulder pain, stiffness, dizziness, and nasal congestion effectively. Bl-10 is situated 1.3 cun from the centerline near the top of the neck, on the outer border of the trapezius muscle. It is 0.5 cun below the occipital hollow. Apply moderate pressure with your finger simultaneously on the two Bl-10 points.

Acupoint: Bl-23 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-23/Shen Shu/Kidney Transporter)

Acupoint: Bl-23 Or Ub-23(Other Names: Urinary Bladder-23/Shen Shu/Kidney Transporter)

The lower back and either side of the spinal cord have two Bl-23 acupressure points. These acupressure points for herniated discs relieve lower back pain and improve core strength. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Bl-23 is the kidney’s back shu point. It controls the kidney’s qi (both kidney yin and yang) and eliminates dampness in the lower back.

The Bl-23 acupressure points are located two finger widths from the spine, at waist level. The points are located on the right and left sides of the spine. Bl-23 is also regarded as an important point in acupuncture for back inflammation. Use a gentle circling motion over the points for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Acupoint: Bl-25 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-25/Da Chang/Large Intestine Transporter)

Bl-25 removes stagnant qi and blood that could be the source of pain and numbness in the lower back and legs. Activating Bl-25 removes the blockage from the channel, improving the flow of meridians, qi, and blood. It is regarded as an important point in acupuncture for herniated discs in the back. People suffering from a prolapsed disc and other lumbar disorders may get tremendous pain relief from massaging this acupressure point.

The Bl-25 acupoint is often selected for needling in acupuncture for bowel inflammation. The point is 1.5 cun lateral to the spine, at the junction of the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae. Press both Bl-25 and apply lateral pressure for lumbar and sciatic pain reduction.

Acupoint: Bl-40 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-40/Wei Zhong/Middle of the Crook)

Bl-40 is the bladder channel’s He-sea point. Bl-40 clears dampness in the bladder channel. As a result, it reduces the channel obstruction and blood stasis that cause lower leg and hip pain. Bl-40 is a common and crucial acupressure point for sciatica. Treatment for sciatica includes needling Bl-40 as it relaxes the piriformis muscle, reducing sciatic nerve compression.

It supplements the kidneys and improves blood circulation and the movement of qi in the meridians. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Bl 40 is one of the best acupoints used in acupuncture for herniated discs in the lower back.

This acupoint is situated in the crease that develops at the back of your knees when you bend your legs. Gently massage with your thumb for 30 seconds. If you are unable to properly massage the point, you can use an Acupressure mat for herniated discs. Acupressure mats are designed to achieve similar effects as acupressure massage and can help relieve pain.

Acupoint: Bl-60 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-60/Kun Lun/Kunlun Mountains)

Bladder 60 is a jing river point of the urinary bladder channel. The qi of the meridian starts to flow more heavily at Jing-River points. Chronic lower back pain caused by cramping in the lower back muscles or kidney insufficiency can be effectively treated with Bl-60.

Bl-60 is located in the depression midway between the tip of the external ankle bone and the outer edge of the Achilles tendon. It is one of the excellent acupressure points for Achilles tendonitis located in the bladder channel. Use your thumb to apply light pressure to Bl-60 and massage the point for a few minutes.

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

GB-20 is often known as the Wind Pool point due to its capacity to relieve any type of “wind” condition, such as flu or cold. A combination of acupressure point GB-20 with western medicine may help relieve headaches, neck pain, shoulder tension, and nasal obstruction caused by the common cold.

Feng chi point strengthens the lower back, relaxes the muscles, and is one of the most effective clear heat acupuncture points and treatment of sciatica. The point is located between the trapezius and the sternocleidomastoid muscle at the base of the neck. Apply moderate pressure in a circular motion to this region for 30 seconds to 3 minutes, then repeat as needed.

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

Applying pressure to GB-21 acupressure points for a neck herniated disc activates the meridian and descends Qi in the body. Tightness in the shoulders restricts the range of motion in the neck, which constrains vision. GB-21 is one of the primary acupoints used in acupressure for better vision. Acupressure stimulation of GB-21 is effective for shoulder and back pain, tension headaches, neck rigidity, and difficult labor.

This point is located on both shoulders midway between the acromion and spine. Gently massage the point with your fingers. If you are unable to properly massage the point, you can use an acupressure mat for herniated discs. Acupressure mats are designed to achieve similar effects as acupressure massage and can help relieve pain.

Acupoint: GV-3 (Other Names: The Governing Vessel-3/Yao Yang Guan/Low Back Yang Passage)

The Yao Yang Guan acupressure point supplements kidney yang and dispels cold wind from the channel causing back pain. GV-3 is a warming point in the lower warmer for cold or cold damp. It’s one of the primary acupressure points for lower back pain. A combination of acupressure GV-3 with moxibustion effectively treats pain in the lumbar area.

GV-3 is one of the effective acupuncture points for lumbar disc herniation. It is situated in the depression below the spinous process of the fourth lumbar vertebra on the posterior midline. Apply consistent pressure to the point for 1-2 minutes.


  • Bl-10 expels wind in the face, clears blockages from the bladder channel, and strengthens the lower back.
  • Bl-23 helps strengthen kidney qi, eases lower back muscle tension, and eliminates dampness in the lower back.
  • Bl-25 removes cold dampness in the back and improves the flow of qi and blood in the meridians.
  • Bl-40 clears dampness in the bladder channel, helps in the treatment of sciatica, supplements the kidneys, and improves the movement of qi and blood flow in the meridians.
  • Bl-60 is an excellent acupoint for treating the Achilles tendon and strengthening the back.
  • GB-20 clears the gallbladder channels, activates the meridian, and dispels exterior and internal wind.
  • GB-21 activates the meridian, descends Qi, promotes labor, improves lactation, and clears Phlegm.
  • GV-3 expels damp cold in the lower back and strengthens the back.

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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