Lower back pain is something that millions of people, myself included, suffer from around the world. I personally experience low back pain after many activities: sitting too long, standing too long, walking too far, etc. It’s chronic pain that I’ve suffered from for since I can remember. I’ve played many sports in my life such as tennis, horseback riding, and running. Not only would my performance in sports be decreased from my lower back pain, but sometimes the sports would make the pain worse. Then sitting at a desk all day for work or school would only make the pain increase. I had to stop playing sports. Not being able to engage in physical activity that I love made me feel depressed. Thankfully, acupressure points for lower back pain have helped me immensely – and they could help you too. When I started regularly stimulating these acupoints, my lower back pain improved immensely, allowing me to participate in all the activities I love pain-free.
Acupressure is a practice from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that uses the fingers and hands to target pressure points throughout the body. Pressure points lay on meridians, each meridian associated with one of the major organs of the body. The meridians carry “qi”, or energy, through the body. Stimulating acupoints will promote the movement of qi in the body and promote healing for almost every ailment, including back pain.
Is Acupuncture Good For Lower Back Pain?
Yes! Acupuncture treatment, as well as acupressure, has been proven by several studies to be an effective way to help your lower back without drugs. This study also shows a reduction of pain (35-36%) in all the patients who received acupressure for an extended period. During another study, researchers found not only did lower back pain improve, but fatigue also decreased by 26%. One source indicates acupressure can help with tightness in the back muscles, and thus pain in the back. This source also describes how acupressure is good supplemental pain relief to whatever treatment you may be doing for your back. So yes, acupuncture and acupressure are great for lower back pain.
Can Acupressure Help Back Pain?
Yes, using the following acupressure points for lower back pain can help reduce back pain immensely. Michigan Health conducted a study and found that patients using acupressure had less back pain after 6 weeks than those who did not use acupressure. Another study by the University of Pittsburgh shows that acupressure can help elderly people in particular, with a reduction of pain in 41% of the people who participated and a reduction of disability in 29% of the participants! Acupuncture (and acupressure) can help lower back pain, and can even help reduce disability due to your back pain.
Acupressure Points For Lower Back Pain
Many of the points we discuss are great for self-administered acupressure – some are not. Avoid trying to stimulate acupoints on your back. It can be hard to reach and you could end up doing more damage than good. Instead, get a trusted person to help you.
Acupoint: GV-3 (Other Names: The Governing Vessel-3/Yao Yang Guan/Low Back Yang Passage)
First on our list of pressure points for lower back pain is Gv-3, which is located on the governing vessel meridian. Engaging this acupoint will strengthen your lumbar, thus strengthening your back and reducing pain. Gv-3 can help with infertility in both men and women, as well as help regulate menstruation in women.
Located on the back, it is best to have someone else stimulate this acupoint for you. Gv-3 is located in the middle of the spine, just above the hips. If you are familiar with the numbering of the vertebrae, this acupoint is located between the L5 and L4 vertebrae.
Acupoint: Bl-52 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-52/Zhi Shi/Willpower Room)
Bl-52 is located along the bladder meridian, also on the lower back. This acupoint will strengthen the lower back area and can even help with urination problems. The Willpower Room can also help with infertility, particularly in men.
This point is another that should be stimulated by someone other than yourself. Bl-52 is not located in the center of the spine, but rather about 3 cun outside of the spine on either side, between the L2 and L3 vertebrae. It is on the same level as your belly button. Use caution when stimulating this point, as it can be sensitive for many people.
Acupoint: Bl-40 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-40/Wei Zhong/Middle of the Crook)
Next on our list of acupressure points for lower back pain, Bl-40 is a great pressure point for lower back pain. This point can also help with a muscle spasm in the back, various skin issues such as rashes, and stomach problems. Middle of the Crease has made our list of acupressure points for sciatica.
Located on the leg, this point is easy to engage yourself. Find the crease on the back of your leg behind your knee. Place your finger in the middle of that crease, then move your finger just slightly up. Then you have found this acupoint. Engage this point on both sides of the body.
Acupoint: SP-8 (Other Names: Spleen-8/Di Ji/Earth Cure)
Located on the spleen meridian, the Earth Cure helps with not only lower back pain, but abdominal pain as well. Other known benefits include help with fertility, diarrhea, and irregular menstruation. Stimulating Sp-8 will tonify the spleen and move vital energy all throughout the spleen meridian, resulting in many benefits.
This is another great and easy acupoint to find and engage yourself. On the inside of your calf, place your finger in the middle (relative to your shin and back of your leg). Run your finger up until it’s in line with the largest part of your calf: then you have found the Sp-8 acupoint. It is also approximately 9 cun above the tip of the medial malleolus.
Acupoint: SP-9 (Other Names: Spleen-9/Yin Ling Quan/Yin Mound Spring)
The Sp-9 acupoint is another pressure point for lower back pain located on the spleen meridian. Yin Mound Spring can help with urine issues, bowel issues, abdominal issues, pain in the knee, and pain around the genitals. Sp-9 is one of the best acupressure points for fertility. This acupoint accomplishes all these benefits by regulating the functionality of the spleen.
Sp-9 is easy to find if you have found Sp-8, detailed above. Place your finger on Sp-8 then move your finger up about 3 cun (your finger will be just below the line of your knee). See above for a diagram.
Acupoint: GV-4 (Other Names: The Governing Vessel-4/Ming Men/Life Gate)
Yet another acupoint located on the governing vessel meridian, Life Gate serves many incredible purposes throughout the body. Not only will it help with lower back pain, but Gv-4 will also help with diarrhea, menstruation, fertility, and general stiffness in the lumbar region. Gv-4 has even made our list of acupressure points for kidneys – be sure to check out that link if you need help with kidney health.
Gv-4 is located in the middle of the spine above Gv-3 and on the same level as your belly button. To experience the pain relief by engaging this acupoint, move your fingers up about 1.5 cun from Gv-3. Or, alternatively, if you are familiar with the numbering of the spine, Gv-4 is located between L2 and L3 vertebrae.
Acupoint: SI-3 (Other Names: Small Intestine-3/Hou Xi/Back Stream)
The Si-3 acupoint, located on the small intestine meridian, can help greatly with the comfort level of the back. Stimulating this acupressure point will help with rigidity in the neck as well as the lumbar region. The Si-3 acupuncture point is great to use if you wake up with a stiff neck. It can help with other issues around the head, including eye diseases and epilepsy.
The Lesser Marsh point is located on the hand. On the very outside side of your hand, place your finger in line with your pinky. Then move your finger down the outside of your hand about one centimeter and you have found this acupoint.
Acupoint: KD-9 (Other Names: Kidney-9/Zhu Bin/Guest House)
The Kd-9 acupuncture point is located along the kidney meridian and can serve a variety of purposes. This acupoint can help grow your hair, strengthen your lower back, relieve pain in the genitals, and help with healing hernias. Kd-9 has made our list of acupressure points in legs for fertility – be sure to check out that post to see how acupressure can help fertility. This acupoint is able to accomplish these amazing feats by tonifying the kidneys and moving energy throughout the body.
Kd-9 is located on the inside of the leg. Place your finger on the inside of your ankle, about halfway between the knobby bone and your Achilles tendon. Then move your finger about 6 cun up your leg and you have found this acupressure point. Be sure to stimulate the pressure point on both legs.
Acupoint: Bl-23 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-23/Shen Shu/Kidney Transporter)
The final acupoint on our list of acupressure points for lower back pain is the Kidney Transporter, located on the bladder meridian. Bl-23 will alleviate lumbar pain, help with infertility/irregular menstruation, and can even help with issues such as asthma and deafness. The Kidney Transporter has made our list of best acupressure points for constipation.
This point, like many of the others we have gone over, is located on the lower back and at your belly button’s level. Locate the spot in between the L2 and L3 vertebrae on the spine (this is where the Gv-4 acupoint lies). Move your finger directly to the outside on either side of the spine, about 1.5 cun. Engage this point on both sides of the spine.
Is Acupressure More Effective Than Physical Therapy?
Acupressure and physical therapy are two different paths on the road to any type of recovery. Acupressure can certainly supplement physical therapy, but if you were prescribed PT by a doctor: do not replace it with acupressure. Sometimes physical therapists will even use acupressure to supplement their work. It all depends on the state you are in and what your recovery process looks like.
Can We Use An Acupressure Mat For The Lower Back Pain?
Yes! Acupressure mats are available for purchase and can be a great option if you don’t have anyone to help with acupressure (and you need help). However, they are not necessary to see the full benefits of acupressure. Here is a great example.
Is Acupuncture Suitable For Pregnant Women With Lower Back Pain?
Pregnant women can greatly benefit from the acupressure points we listed above but these are the five acupuncture points to avoid during pregnancy.
If you are looking for acupuncture, we highly recommend seeing a specialist for acupuncture treatments. They will work with you to safely administer acupuncture and give the best advice for acupoints to target.