9 Pressure Points For Upper Back Pain I’ve Learned From My Therapist

In today’s modern world, everyone, including me 🙂 is spending more and more time hunched over keyboards and looking at smartphones due to the changing trends in our lifestyle and technology.

This is the reason why an increasing number of people are complaining of back pain now than ever before due to the constant stress and pressure we endure on our neck and back. I also went through this same situation, which left me handicapped as I couldn’t go to work, perform my daily activities, or even do any form of exercise. It was something like I had never experienced before.

Fortunately, one of my friends told me to try these pressure points for upper back pain, which, in addition to conventional physical therapy, could offer significant relief to my awful back pain for good. Due to my back pain, I was ready to try anything to find relief. So here’s how it goes:

Acupressure for Back Spasms

I started learning about acupressure and pressure points that could help treat my back pain. I even visited many acupressure therapists to discuss the possible outcomes of this natural therapy.

I had no idea about acupressure or what the heck it was, so this is what I found. Acupressure is a type of treatment that has been used in Traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to relieve pain and relax the muscles. It works by applying pressure on specific acupressure points for neck and back pain and regulating the flow of energy all over the body to relieve pain and muscle tension.

The therapist I visited told me that my back pain could be due to an injury, stress, stiff muscles, or other lifestyle factors and could be treated by applying pressure in a controlled way at specific pressure points on the body. He further explained that this technique would reduce all my discomfort by interrupting pain impulses to my brain, improving blood circulation and soothing tensed muscles.

After listening to the therapist, I was dying to give acupressure for back spasms a go. Acupressure uses energy pathways or meridians in the body to release energy to provide relief from illness or pain. I even learned that acupressure is not only for treating back pain; it can effectively treat or manage many other diseases as well.

This is the reason why acupressure points for back and neck pain are gaining a lot of popularity these days due to the excellent benefits they offer. The best part – this natural therapy is free from side effects as compared to typical conventional treatment.

Acupressure points for neck and back pain

I had already tried many types of conventional treatment options that my medical specialist recommended. I was prescribed a handful of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, which offered only temporary relief for a little time. Still, due to the severe side effects of these medicines, I wanted to avoid them as much as possible.

A natural, fast, and safe way of treatment such as acupressure was something I desperately wanted to help reduce my upper back pain, muscle stiffness, and stress that I was going through.

The best knowledge that I gained along my journey of learning about acupressure was that I could even perform this natural therapy myself or with the help of a partner, free of cost at the comfort of my home.

Here are some of the best pressure points for upper back pain I found that could effectively treat my back pain and get me back to work and performing my everyday physical activities in no time.

1.   Acupoint: GV-14 (Other Names: The Governing Vessel-14/Da Zhui/Great Vertebra)

This point was hard to find as it is situated at the shoulder level on the middle line of the upper back. It reduces my pain and the tension in my neck and shoulders. It is also reported to be helpful for those suffering from cervical spondylosis.

2. Acupoint: SI-15 (Other Names: Small Intestine-15/Jian Zhong Shu/Middle Shoulder Transporter)

SI 15 tends to relieve back and neck pain associated with cervical spondylosis induced by the wear and tear of bone and cartilage. It can also ease anxiety and emotional distress.

I found this point near my shoulder, 2 fingers away from my spine or 2 inches to both sides of GV-14. Since I could not access this point by myself, I had to ask for help from my partner.

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

Then I came across this point, also called Jian Jing. It is the most widely used point to alleviate pain in the back, stiffness, shoulder discomfort, and is supposed to help people who have back or shoulder pain, according to what I learn. So I had to give this point a try.

This pressure point for upper back pain is found at the top of your shoulders, just two fingers down from the outer base of the neck.

Using my opposite hand, I massaged my upper shoulder and located the stiffest spot in my discomfort region. I was told that I have to activate this pressure point every day for at least a month to obtain long-term relief from my back pain. I felt much better after using this point.

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

He Gu
When I tried activating this point, I felt really good, and it did help reduce my muscle stiffness and tension that was generated during the day.

This pressure point for upper back pain can be found between the index finger and the thumb. To locate it, I had to bring my two fingers together such that my thumb was entirely in contact with the index finger. I noticed a bump in the muscle, and the highest point in this bump is where the LI 4 point is located.

Using my other hand, I applied pressure on this acupressure point for neck and back pain, rubbed the area for 4 or 5 seconds, and repeated 2 to 3 times, which helped a lot in alleviating my upper back pain.

Together with the sp5 acupuncture point, experts use them to detox our major organs.

5.   Acupoint: Ren-17 (Other Names: The Conception Vessel-17/Shan Zhong/Middle of the Chest)

I found this acupressure point for back muscle spasms to be one of the most effective points for back pain. It is located on the chest in the middle of the breastbone or in the midway between 2 nipples. This acupressure point benefited me by reducing stress, anxiety, and back pain.

I loved stimulating this point along with deep breathing, as it offered an incredible feeling of calmness.

6.   Acupoint: TE-3 (Other Names: Triple Energizer-3/Zhong Zhu/Central Islet)

This is another excellent point I came across that is situated underneath your knuckles and is meant to relieve upper back pain. It is found between the 4th and 5th fingers behind the knuckles. You can also hold both hands as shown in the image above and your thumb will be pressing on TE-3 directly.

My experience of using this point was good as it did offer relief from a headache that I was having that day and also eased my shoulder and back pain. But according to the instructions, I had to activate this point many times a day to relieve the discomfort in my upper body area.

Related Reading: You can relieve tinnitus symptoms with TE-3 too

7.   Acupoint: Liv-3 (Other Names: Liver-3/Tai Chong/Supreme Rush)

This is one of the best foot acupressure points for back pain that I found. I easily located this point according to the instructions by sliding my finger down along the space between my toes until I felt the tip of my joint.

To stimulate this point, I sat down in a relaxed position and started pressing this point gently with my hands. I was told to press this point for at least a few minutes and rotate it in an anticlockwise and clockwise direction. I massaged this point in a circular direction, for at least 3 to 4 times and found relief in my upper back pain.

8.   Acupoint: GB-34 (Other Names: Gallbladder-34/Yang Ling Quan/Yang Mound Spring)

This pressure point for upper back pain can be found in the outside area of the lower leg. I found it in the depression area next to and underneath the head of the fibula. After exerting pressure on this point for about 3 minutes, my upper back pain was significantly reduced.

9.   Acupoint: KD-27 (Other Names: Kidney-27/Shu Fu/Shu Mansion)

KD-27 is one of the main acupressure points for neck and back pain that helped reduce my upper back pain. Triggering this point helped me breathe more comfortably in a smooth way, which is necessary for the release of endorphins.

This point was easy to access as it is situated in the depression below the collar bone, about 2 inches or 2 finger width from either side of the human centerline.

I pressed these two points with steady pressure for a few seconds using opposite hands. I kept the pressure on it for 2 minutes while taking slow and deep breaths. I repeated the procedure 3 to 5 times every day, which helped alleviate my upper back pain.


Pressure points for upper back pain are simple to practice yourself at home and are supposed to offer outstanding results. My therapist told me that not all pressure points would work for me because the cause of back pain are different for different people. But I can say this for sure that it really helped reduce my back pain, and I went back to doing some of my everyday activities, which I couldn’t do before with the help of these acupressure points. I would honestly recommend that if you are suffering from upper back pain as well, you should undoubtedly try acupressure.


Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels, JESHOOTS.com from Pexels, James Barr on Unsplash


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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