Acupressure Points for Neck and Shoulder Pain

September 15, 2022
4 mins

Acupuncture Points Mentioned in this Article

If you're frequently plagued by shoulder and neck pain, you're not alone. Whether it's due to sitting at a desk all day, stress, or overexertion, these aches and discomforts can really put a damper on your day.

Common Reasons for Neck and Shoulder Pain

Chronic pain in shoulders and neck arises from issues like "turtle neck," shoulder injuries, and sometimes psychological causes. Having pain in your shoulders and neck is something a lot of people deal with. Sometimes the pain stays for a long time, even longer than 3 to 6 months, which we call chronic pain. Here are some easy-to-understand reasons why this pain happens:

  • Neck and Spine Problems: When people spend a lot of time looking down at their phones, it can make their neck muscles stretch and feel tired. This is often called "turtle neck." This can cause pain and numbness because parts of the neck rub together in a way they shouldn't. To avoid moving the painful parts, people might unknowingly make their neck muscles tight.

  • Shoulder-Related Issues: Sometimes, our shoulders can be hurt by things like being pulled or twisted, or from getting injured over time from doing activities. For example, this might cause tendinitis, which is when a tendon (a stretchy piece of tissue that connects muscle to bone) gets inflamed or bursitis (when a bursa, which is a small fluid-filled sac that helps protect our joints, gets inflamed). You might not feel it much at first, but if it keeps getting hurt, it can cause long-lasting inflammation and even make it really hard to move your shoulder.

  • Psychological Causes: Sometimes, if there is no physical reason for the pain, it might be related to emotional stress or mental health issues. There is a condition where mental or emotional problems actually cause physical pain and discomfort, known as a somatoform disorder.

Remember, it’s always best to talk to a doctor or a healthcare professional for accurate advice and help with health issues.

Traditional Chinese Medicine on Neck and Shoulder Pain

Chinese medicine targets Qi flow via meridians using acupressure to alleviate shoulder and neck pain. Chinese medicine recognizes the presence of Qi (pronounced "chee"), which is the vital energy that flows through our bodies along specific pathways called meridians. When the flow of Qi is balanced and unobstructed, we experience good health and wellbeing. However, when there is a blockage or imbalance in the flow of Qi, it can result in pain, discomfort, and illness.

By stimulating specific acupressure points along the meridians, Chinese medicine aims to restore the balance and flow of Qi, thereby promoting healing and wellness. Acupressure involves applying gentle pressure to these points using your fingertips, thumbs, or a specialized massage tool.

Pressure Points for Neck Pain

Wind Pool (Feng Chi 風池) Acupoint GB20

Wind Pool eases stiff neck and provides relief from cold symptoms. It is also very helpful when you have a cold. It can make you feel better if you have joint pain, a fever, a cough, or if you are feeling tired because of the cold. It's also good for other things like helping you sleep better, easing stiff necks, and helping with headaches, dizziness, and back pain. It can also assist if your eyes are tired, you have a hangover, or if you’ve slept in a bad position and hurt your neck.

Where is Acupressure Point GB20?

The Wind Pool point is right at the back of your head, where your hairline meets the bottom of your skull bone.

How to find Acupuncture Point GB20?

  1. Place the palms of your hands over your ears.
  2. Move your thumbs upwards until they touch your hairline.
  3. Slide your thumbs upwards and the first dent you feel is the GB20 point.

Celestial Glue Point (Tian Liao 天髎) TH15 Acupoint

Celestial Glue Point provides relief from neck and shoulder stiffness and pain. Known for providing relief from stiffness and pain in the neck and shoulders, the Celestial Glue Point is a pivotal acupoint for dispelling wind, promoting energy flow, and eliminating stasis in individuals experiencing headaches and pain in the shoulder and arm.

Where is Acupuncture Point TH15?

The Celestial Glue point is situated above the shoulder blade and below the center of the shoulder, specifically in a slightly recessed area.

How to Find Acupressure Point TH15?

  1. Begin by locating the shoulder blade on your back.
  2. Find the center point of the shoulder.
  3. Move approximately one inch downward (using the horizontal width of your thumb as a measure).
  4. Feel for a slightly recessed or indented area. This is the Tian Liao point.
  5. Remember that Tian Liao is present on both left and right sides of the back.

Shoulder Well (Jian Jing 肩井穴) GB21 Acupoint

Shoulder Well alleviates neck and shoulder stiffness and pain. It is renowned for its capability in relieving neck and shoulder stiffness and pain, especially beneficial for those suffering from a stiff neck. It contributes to invigorating the blood, removing blood stasis, and enhancing overall comfort and flexibility in the neck and shoulder region.

Where is Acupuncture Point GB21?

The Shoulder Well acupoint is located at the midpoint of a line connecting the end of the collarbone and the Dazhui point on the seventh cervical vertebra.

How to Find Acupressure Point GB21?

  1. Identify the end of your collarbone and the Dazhui point on the seventh cervical vertebra.
  2. Visualize or draw a line connecting these two points.
  3. Find the midpoint on this line.
  4. This is the Jian Jing point.

Pressure Points for Shoulder Pain

Middle Island (Zhong Zhu 中渚穴) TH3 Acupoint

Middle Island provides relief for shoulder and back pain and aids finger movement. Middle Island is particularly beneficial for pain relief in the shoulder and back, and it can effectively alleviate difficulties in flexing and extending fingers, making it invaluable for those struggling with shoulder and back pain.

Where is Acupuncture Point TH3?

Middle Island is in depression between the fourth and fifth metacarpal bones, near the proximal end of the fourth metacarpophalangeal joint.

How to Find Acupressure Point TH3?

  1. Turn your hand over to view the back of your hand.
  2. Locate the depression between the fourth and fifth metacarpal bones.
  3. Identify the proximal end of the fourth metacarpophalangeal joint.
  4. The Middle Island Point resides here.

Shoulder Bone (Jian Yu 肩髃) LI15 Acupoint

Shoulder Bone aids in mitigating shoulder pain and assists in managing shoulder joint diseases. **Shoulder Bone holds a reputation for mitigating pain in the shoulder, particularly assisting in the management and recovery from shoulder joint diseases and providing relief from arm pain and paralysis resulting from a stroke.

Where is Acupuncture Point LI15?

Shoulder Bone point is located in the deltoid area, specifically in the depression that appears when the elbow is bent and the arm is raised to shoulder height.

How to Find Acupressure Point LI15?

  1. Bend your elbow and raise your arm to shoulder height.
  2. Locate the depression that forms in front of your shoulder.
  3. Apply gentle pressure to this depression.
  4. You have found the JianYu point.

Pressure Points for Arm and Shoulder Pain

Heavenly Gathering (Tian Zong 天宗) SI11 Acupoint

The Heavenly Gathering point assists with arm and shoulder pain by enhancing blood and energy flow. It is a point on your back that can help with many things, especially pain or difficulty moving your arms and shoulders. If you massage this point often, it can help blood and energy flow better in your shoulders and arms. It can also help women who are not producing enough milk for breastfeeding, and can treat mastitis (breast infection), face swelling, chest pain, and pain in the sciatic nerve in your back.

Where is Acupressure Point SI11?

Heavenly Gathering is located in the middle of your shoulder blade on your back.

How to Find Acupuncture Point SI11

  1. Find the middle of the bony part of your shoulder blade and the bottom corner of it.
  2. Imagine a line that connects these two points and divide it into three equal parts.
  3. The SI11 point is in the dent that is one-third of the way from the bony middle part of your shoulder blade.

Shoulder Crevice (Jian Liao 肩髎穴) TH14 Acupoint

Shoulder Crevice alleviates shoulder and arm pain and assists with blood pressure maintenance. It is prominent for its effectiveness in alleviating shoulder and arm pain, and it stands out when dealing with frozen shoulder by minimizing pain and enhancing fluid metabolism. This point is crucial in not only unblocking meridians, dispelling wind, and promoting circulation but also in assisting in maintaining optimal blood pressure.

Where is Acupuncture Point TH14?

The Shoulder Crevice point is situated in the depression between the upper end of the clavicle and the outermost point of the acromion.

How to Find Acupressure Point TH14?

  1. Locate the upper end of the clavicle.
  2. Find the outermost point of the acromion.
  3. Identify the depression between these two points.
  4. Apply pressure gently, and you have found Jian Liao.

Pressure Points for Frozen Shoulder

True Shoulder (Jian Zhen 肩貞穴) SI9 Acupoint

True Shoulder alleviates pain and provides relief for frozen shoulder. The Shoulder Truth Point stands out for providing notable relief for conditions like frozen shoulder, cervical spondylosis, and occipital headaches. It plays a critical role in alleviating pain, particularly at the back of the shoulder and neck, as well as the occipital bone.

Where is Acupuncture Point SI9 Point?

The Shoulder Truth Point is located below and behind the shoulder joint, and about an inch above the beginning of the posterior axillary crease.

How to Find Acupressure Point SI9 Point?

  1. Stand upright with your arms hanging down.
  2. Measure one horizontal finger width upward from the beginning of the posterior axillary crease.
  3. The Shoulder Truth Point is located here.

How to Use Acupressure Points for Neck and Shoulder Pain Relief?

Simulating specific acupressure points alleviates neck and shoulder pain.Points such as GB21 (Jian Jing), GB20 (Feng Chi), TH15 (Tian Liao), and SI11 (Tian Zong) are pivotal for mitigating pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders.

Here are some practical tips to get the most out of these acupressure techniques:

  • Create a serene environment: Choose a quiet space where distractions are minimal. This calm setting will enhance your focus and heighten the healing effects of acupressure.

  • Deep breathing: Initiate your session by inhaling and exhaling deeply. This not only calms your mind but also prepares your body for the acupressure session, making it more receptive to the process.

  • Clean hands: Hygiene is essential. Ensure that your hands are clean before you start. This will prevent any potential infections, especially when dealing with sensitive areas.

  • Consistency is key: Regular application of these acupressure techniques is more beneficial than sporadic sessions. Aim to integrate these into your daily or weekly routine for a sustained impact

Individual responses can vary. If these acupressure techniques don't offer the relief you're seeking, consider consulting with a licensed acupuncturist or TCM practitioner for tailored advice.

Simplify Your Acupressure Sessions with Moxa

The Moxa Acupressure App guides users through tailored acupressure sessions for enhanced well-being. If you're looking for a convenient and user-friendly way to incorporate acupressure into your wellness routine, consider using the Moxa Acupressure App. This app is designed to provide an array of rituals and tailored sessions aimed at rejuvenating your body and enhancing your overall well-being. Try acupressure points for right shoulder pain to enhance the therapeutic effects.

With the Moxa Acupressure App, you can easily identify the correct acupressure points specific to your needs. The app guides you through session durations and even allows you to track your progress over time. By simplifying the process of acupressure, it becomes more accessible and manageable, allowing you to develop a consistent routine. Try acupressure for shoulder blade pain to enhance the therapeutic effects.

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