Acupressure for Athletes: How to Prevent and Treat Sports-Related Back Pain

Acupressure for Athletes: How to Prevent and Treat Sports-Related Back Pain


Sports-related back pain is a common issue for athletes. It can stop them from performing at their best. Luckily, acupressure may be an effective treatment. Acupressure is an ancient healing method. It applies finger pressure to special points of the body.

This article will tell you how acupressure can help athletes prevent and treat sports-related back pain.

Definition of acupressure

Acupressure is an alternative form of medicine that can treat various conditions. It is a kind of touch therapy which involves pressing manual pressure to certain points on the body. Acupressure therapists use their fingers, palms and hands to press firmly yet gently on particular parts of the body’s muscle pathways known as meridians.

This practice has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. It is based on the idea of chi or qi (spoken as “chee”) pathways in the body. It is said that these pathways carry life-giving energy to all tissues, organs, muscles and systems within the body, thus promoting balance and health. Through finger pressure on these pathways, improved flow of chi is achieved.

In recent times, it has become popular with athletes. This is because it helps to relieve tension from tired muscles through increased blood circulation and loosening of tightness in affected areas. Thus, athletes are able to go back to their activities free from pain.

Benefits of acupressure for athletes

Acupressure is an ancient form of healing. It can help prevent and treat sports-related back pain. It has many benefits for athletes. These include

  • muscle relaxation
  • more flexibility
  • improved circulation
  • reduced inflammation and swelling
  • lower tension in muscles

It also increases endorphins, decreasing stress and improving well-being.

Combining acupressure with other holistic therapies – like yoga or massage – can reduce pain and help with muscular recovery. So, it’s great for athletes who want to improve their performance or health.

Common Causes of Sports-Related Back Pain

Sports-related back pain is an issue for athletes of all ages. It can range from mild to severe and cause muscle pain, stiffness, tightness, and tingling.

Three causes of sports-related back pain are:

  • Overuse
  • Bad posture
  • Incorrect form whilst exercising

Let’s take a closer look at these causes.

Poor posture

Poor posture can put more strain on the spine, causing back pain and even muscle sprains, strains, and herniated discs. Keeping correct posture decreases pressure on the body’s regular spinal curves. When muscles in the back or neck become tight or strained, it causes the body to share its weight away from the spine, to other parts of the body.

Poor posture includes:

  • Slouching
  • Leaning to one side
  • Having an excessive lordosis (excessive sway in the lower back)
  • Kyphosis (rounded shoulders)

When your body is misaligned due to poor posture, nerves and nearby tissues can be compressed. This boosts tension across various muscles and joints, causing pain in many areas. Sometimes, the tension or aches are due to a pinched nerve, not the muscles. Acupressure techniques for athletes help lessen the discomfort by providing healing touch to mended small tears in strained muscles around the spine. Regular care along with the right stretching and exercise of those muscles are key to long-term relief from posture-related muscle pain.


Back pain due to overuse is common among athletes. It usually occurs when they use the same movements repeatedly. This injury can involve tendons, ligaments, muscles, bones, and joints. It usually develops slowly. Imbalances in opposing muscle groups or lack of flexibility can also lead to back pain.

If you’re an athlete and suffer from back pain, prevention is key. Stretch before and after activities. Take rest periods to give your body time to recover. Do strengthening exercises for weak muscles. Improve flexibility with yoga and pilates.

If the pain is severe or persistent, see a doctor. They may prescribe medication or physical therapy. Follow these tips to prevent and treat sports-related injuries:

  • Stretch before and after activities.
  • Take rest periods to give your body time to recover.
  • Do strengthening exercises for weak muscles.
  • Improve flexibility with yoga and pilates.

You can stay active without it being painful.

Muscle imbalances

Muscle imbalances are a frequent source of sports-related back pain. This occurs when certain muscles become weaker or tighter than their opposing muscles. This causes an imbalance in posture and movement, which may lead to back pain.

Exercising and stretching can help athletes prevent and treat sports-related back pain caused by muscle imbalances. Acupressure is another option to restore balance and reduce any tension in the body.

Here are some examples of muscle imbalances that cause back pain:

  • Core muscles that are weak (abdomen, hips and low back).
  • Tight hip flexors.
  • Tight chest muscles.
  • Weak or tight leg muscles.
  • Poor posture (sitting or standing for long periods in an incorrect position).

If left untreated, muscle imbalances can bring about serious injury. Therefore, it is wise to go to a physical therapist or healthcare professional to diagnose and treat your particular issue, if you are suffering from significant back pain due to sports activities.

Acupressure Points for Back Pain

The age-old practice of acupressure is used to treat all kinds of medical issues. For athletes, it’s a great way to treat back aches caused by sports! This article explains the various points on the body to focus on when treating back pain and how to use them to reduce pain and maximize performance.

Bladder 40 (Wei Zhong)

Bladder 40 (Wei Zhong) is an acupressure point. It’s located below the bottom edge of the kneecap. Two finger widths away from either the inner or outer side of the shinbone.

It helps alleviate low back pain. It can also provide relief for a variety of conditions involving the lower back. Such as sciatica and herniated disks.

For self-treatment, place index and middle finger tips over this location. Then press lightly with a needle-like motion. As if you’re threading a needle. Hold the pressure for 30 to 90 seconds while breathing deeply. In and out.

Gallbladder 21 (Jian Jing)

Gallbladder 21 (Jian Jing) is an acupressure point located in the mid-upper back. It can help ease tension and pain in the upper and lower back, shoulders, neck, and jaw. The name “Jing” means “well” or “spring“. This draws energy to the point like a well bringing water. It can relax muscles, reduce stiffness, and be used to treat shoulder pain, neck pain, headaches, and general fatigue.

To locate this special point, place four fingers above the middle finger’s tip. This is along the line that divides the spine from the outer side of the shoulder. Press down with moderate pressure until you feel a tender spot. You may even find two spots close to each other. Treat both points for better results.

Use a steady pressure with three-finger pads. This is index finger with thumb and middle finger. Do this for one to three minutes. Breathe deeply. This can help reduce tightness and stiffness. It can also energize, and possibly reduce inflammation. Try doing this twice daily. Increase to 10 minutes until relief is optimal. Then use as needed.

Large Intestine 11 (Quchi)

Large Intestine 11 (Quchi) is found in the lower part of the forearm between two tendons behind the elbow. It is used to reduce pain in the neck and lower back, joint and muscle sprains. Stimulating this point relaxes tense muscles, releases endorphins, improves blood flow and gives energy.

To get this acupressure point for back pain:

  • Look for a tendon-like structure roughly halfway between wrist and elbow on each arm.
  • Put thumbs on either side. The thumb should be over Quchi.
  • Massage with moderate pressure in a circular motion for 2-3 minutes, 3 times a day or as needed.
  • You may feel an increased sensation and circulation in the area – this means it’s working!

Acupressure Techniques for Back Pain

Acupressure is an old practice that urges pressure to be put on certain points of the body to lessen agony. It is often used to treat backache caused by sports, swelling, and aching.

This piece will investigate the different acupressure techniques and their possible advantages for athletes. We will also explore how these techniques can be properly used to stop and treat sports-related back pain.

Finger pressure

Finger pressure is a technique used in acupressure therapy to reduce back pain related to sports and exercise. It is a non-invasive treatment for athletes, from amateur to professional, with or without existing back issues.

To use finger pressure, apply light but firm pressure with your index finger or thumb on tight areas of your body. Follow these steps for best results:

  1. Place your fingers gently on the area of discomfort
  2. Hold pressure for 30 seconds, breathing in a regular rhythm
  3. Adjust intensity based on level of discomfort
  4. Release the pressure after 30 seconds and relax for 10 seconds
  5. Repeat up to four times per acupoint

Finger pressure can help ease muscular soreness, increase relaxation, increase mobility, strengthen blood circulation and boost energy levels. Don’t overdo it – only apply light but firm pressure for comfort and effectiveness.


Massage is a great way to ease tension in your back and shoulders. It boosts motion in the spine and relaxes stiff muscles. There are lots of types: Swedish, deep tissue, sports massage, Shiatsu (Japanese), acupressure, and hot stone massage.

During a session, your body and mind chill out; your muscle tension is released; and your spine loosens.

When you’re looking for an effective way to relieve back pain due to physical activity, choosing a type of massage is key. Sports massage concentrates on improving range of motion in sports-related movements like tennis or running. Shiatsu utilizes finger pressure along points known as “tsubo” across the body’s meridians. Acupressure releases muscular tension through deep pressure on points related to active areas in need of pain relief. Hot stone massage is great for releasing trigger points along the spine. Stones that can hold heat for longer let this technique treat chronic muscle issues caused by overuse or strenuous exercise.

Gua sha

Gua sha, also known as “spooning“, is an ancient Chinese medical technique used for centuries to treat chronic and acute pain. To do this, your practitioner uses a flat object, usually a wooden or metal spoon-like tool. This scraping action helps release tension from the muscles and increases circulation in the area, helping to alleviate pain.

Gua sha can be used to relieve muscle stiffness and spasms in the back or any other area of pain. Your practitioner will lubricate the skin with an oil or balm before gently scraping the affected area. This will last several minutes, depending on your diagnosis and condition. You may experience slight redness with Gua sha, which is a sign it is working effectively. After treatment, you should feel improved range of motion and decreased pain. Some practitioners may use complementary modalities such as massage therapy or cupping to enhance results during a session.


Acupressure is great for sports-related back pain. It can target painful muscles in the spine, neck, hips, and legs. So, regular acupressure sessions can reduce pain frequency and intensity.

Foam rollers are a great investment for athletes. They help with self-massage and stretching exercises to increase flexibility. Dedication and proper technique are essential for achieving total body balance. Just remember to be cautious when trying new things. With regular acupressure and foam rolling, athletes can stay injury-free and improve performance!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is acupressure, and how can it help prevent and treat sports-related back pain?
A: Acupressure is a traditional Chinese therapy that involves applying pressure to specific points on the body to relieve pain and promote healing. For athletes, acupressure can help prevent and treat sports-related back pain by reducing inflammation, improving circulation, and releasing tension in the muscles and nerves.

Q: What are some common acupressure points for back pain?
A: Some common acupressure points for back pain include the Bladder 23 point (located on the lower back), the Gallbladder 34 point (located on the outer side of the leg), and the Large Intestine 4 point (located between the thumb and index finger).

Q: Is acupressure safe for athletes?
A: Yes, acupressure is generally safe for athletes when performed by a trained professional. However, it should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment or physical therapy, and athletes with severe back pain or other medical conditions should consult their doctor before trying acupressure.

Q: How often should athletes receive acupressure treatments?
A: The frequency of acupressure treatments depends on the individual athlete and the severity of their back pain. Some athletes may benefit from daily or weekly treatments, while others may only need treatment on an as-needed basis.

Q: Can acupressure be used in conjunction with other therapies?
A: Yes, acupressure can be used in conjunction with other therapies such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, or massage. Combining different therapies can help provide a more comprehensive approach to treating sports-related back pain.

Q: Can athletes perform acupressure on themselves?
A: Yes, athletes can perform acupressure on themselves, but it is important to receive proper training and guidance to ensure that the techniques are performed correctly and safely.

the back recovery program by alex larsson
Jane Smith is a natural health enthusiast on a mission to uncover effective methods for achieving pain-free living. Through her personal journey with chronic back pain, she has become well-versed in holistic approaches such as yoga, Pilates, and essential oils.

Related Articles