Acupressure for Neck Pain: Alleviating Tension Headaches and Supporting a Healthy Back

Acupressure for Neck Pain: Alleviating Tension Headaches and Supporting a Healthy Back


Sufferers of tension headaches and neck pain? Acupressure can help! For centuries, it’s been used in traditional Chinese medicine to maintain health. Let’s look at the science behind acupressure. Plus, how it helps with neck pain and instructions for a simple technique.

Overview of acupressure

Acupressure is a type of healing that doesn’t use needles. It helps people relax and feel better. It’s based on Chinese medicine. Pressure is put on certain spots with fingers or tools. Sessions can be sitting or lying down and don’t take long.

Neck pain can be helped with acupressure. It releases tightness in the head and neck. It can help stop headaches. And it can soothe stiffness and soreness. Restoring energy channels can help chronic pain. People who spend too long at desks or computers can benefit from improved flexibility and posture.

Benefits of acupressure for neck pain

Acupressure is a healing method used since ancient times in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It involves applying pressure on specific points of the body with your fingers. Neck pain can be relieved with acupressure due to the release of muscle tension, improved circulation and reduced stress. Trigger points in the shoulders or upper back may help reduce headaches and enhance neck mobility.

Acupressure helps your body to heal itself, increasing blood flow and oxygen level. It also creates a soothing effect. It is beneficial for:

  • Tension headaches
  • Upper back knots
  • Muscle pain
  • Whiplash symptoms
  • Cervicalgia (neck pain)
  • Stiffness

Acupressure will relax the neck muscles. This results in improved tissue function and circulation. Besides neck pain relief, practising acupressure provides physical advantages like improved flexibility, deeper relaxation and better coordination of spinal movement. It has a therapeutic impact on your entire body!

Acupressure Points for Neck Pain

Acupressure – an old-fashioned cure! It’s been around for centuries. It’s a type of massage that eases stress and pain. There are specific acupressure points in the neck and upper back. These points can be used to release tension headaches and neck pain.

Here we’ll see proven points for neck pain, and how to use them for the best relief:

GB20 (Gallbladder 20)

GB20 is an acupressure point on the side of the neck and head. It’s located a third of the way from your ear to the tip of your shoulder. It helps reduce tension in your neck, back, and shoulders. Plus, it can help with headaches and muscle pain.

To find this point, angle your head towards you. Then draw a line from your earlobe to the ridge at the base of your skull. You’ll feel a dip or a bump about an inch below there – that’s GB20.

Press into GB20 using three fingertips or knuckles. Do it for 30 seconds to 1 minute. You may feel slight tingling or soreness. That’s a sign you’re pressing the right spot. Keep pressing and take deep breaths until you feel relief.

When you’re done, turn your head clockwise and counterclockwise slowly. This can give you even more relief.

GB21 (Gallbladder 21)

GB21, or Gall Bladder 21, is an acupressure point in the shoulder.

Be careful when using this point, as it can be very strong. You may also feel sore after applying pressure.

To find GB21, measure three finger widths from the base of your neck. Then move two finger widths outwards towards the outer shoulder muscles.

Press with your thumb or index finger for three minutes to unlock tension. This may help with headaches due to neck tensions and may help develop back muscles.

GB14 (Gallbladder 14)

GB14 is an acupressure point located at the back of your neck. It is used to reduce neck pain. GB14 is on the Gallbladder channel. It helps to move stagnation in the meridian pathways, promoting better blood circulation and dissolving tension headaches, neck and shoulder stiffness.

This point is found below the base of your skull and at the bottom of your neck. It is between two large muscles and it pushes out slightly when pressure is applied.

To use GB14, press it 20 times for 1 minute. It has an analgesic effect, which can provide relief from neck tensions, cervical spasm and cervical decompression problems. Moreover, it improves qi circulation in your entire body – helping you get back to homeostasis quickly!

BL10 (Bladder 10)

BL10, also known as Bladder 10, is an acupressure point. It can help with tension headaches in the back and neck area. It’s located beneath the shoulder blades on either side of the spine. It provides a deep release of stagnant energy.

To locate BL10, first locate GB21 (Gall Bladder 21). That’s at the bottom thoracic vertebrae. Then move two fingerwidths down and towards either side of your spine. The acupressure point will be sensitive to touch. It may feel slightly tender when massaged due to harden or tight muscle.

When applying pressure to BL10, begin with firm pressure for one minute. Then move your fingers in circular motions around this area for one or two minutes. You should sense a softening or releasing in tight muscles. The massage should feel generally relaxed yet firm enough to stimulate circulation. This helps release patterns of tightness or congestion. Regular application of acupressure points can help heal more quickly.

BL11 (Bladder 11)

BL11 (Bladder 11) is an acupressure point. It’s found in the neck, at the base of the skull. To locate it, press upwards and outwards when your head is bowed forwards. Feel for a depression between two large muscles.

Apply light to medium pressure with your fingers or knuckles for 2 minutes to reduce neck pain. Studies suggest it can decrease muscle tension, headaches and stiffness. BL11 is also known to help with stress caused by emotions like anger or sadness. Don’t activate this point if you’re pregnant or have a fever due to illness like colds or flu.

Techniques for Applying Acupressure

Acupressure is an old-fashioned massage technique that has been around for ages. To relieve tension and pain, finger pressure is applied to certain body parts. In this article, we’ll discuss techniques to use acupressure to ease neck pain and headache stress.

Finger pressure

Finger pressure is key in acupressure therapy. Use your thumb, index, or middle finger to press on the specific point. Usually, apply a firm but gentle pressure for up to 20 seconds. Longer duration of pressure may be needed – leave your finger on the point for a few more seconds or even minutes.

Slow strokes are best for self-care. Rapid strokes can create stimulation overload and ineffective results. Slow strokes provide deeper relaxation and facilitate healing.

When applying acupressure with your fingers, use enough force to feel resistance. Too much can cause discomfort and lower effectiveness. Some people are more sensitive – lighter touch is necessary. Others require firmer contact to experience relief from neck pain and other discomforts.


Massaging is a popular acupressure method. Your massage therapist or acupressure practitioner will use either light or deep pressure on certain points along the body. This pressure will stimulate & relax. They will use thumb pressure – pressing & releasing slowly. This improves circulation, reduces muscle tension & relieves pain.

Massaging releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers. This helps you to feel better quickly. It brings renewed energy throughout the body & an overall sense of wellbeing & relaxation.

Acupressure mat

An acupressure mat is a tool used to give acupressure massage. It is made of foam or plastic rectangles with raised edges, fitted and covered in plastic spikes. You can use it while sitting or lying down for a comfy massage. Applying pressure on the body’s acupressure points releases muscle tension and relaxes you.

The mat is designed to stimulate acupuncture points and provide a shiatsu-style massage all over. This massage helps heal by breaking up pressurized areas in the neck, loosening tight muscles, and restoring balance in the muscles. This reduces neck pain.

To use an acupressure mat for headaches or cervicalgia, put it under your head when lying down or on a chair when sitting up. Use your fingers to press into certain spots for a minute or two. Repeat this process until you feel the release and relaxation. With regular use, you should experience:

  • Relief from tension headaches
  • Less neck pain overall!


Acupressure is a great way to ease neck pain, but there are certain things to keep in mind. Make sure you’re working with a licensed practitioner. Be aware of risks and contraindications. Avoid sensitive areas like temples and eyes.

Let’s look closer at cautions for using acupressure to relieve neck pain:

When to avoid acupressure

Before trying acupressure for neck pain, make sure it is the right treatment. Acupressure has been used to treat pain, but other forms of treatment may be better.

Check with a doctor or acupuncturist first. Do not use acupressure if pregnant, have chronic illness, or if taking any blood thinning medications. Also, do not use it near visible deformities, tumors, cysts, or inflamed areas. Those with pacemakers should avoid acupressure near their chests.

If unsure, get professional advice before using acupressure. This will help get the safest and most effective care for the condition.

When to consult a doctor

It is vital to remember that acupressure should not replace professional medical advice. If pain in the shoulder and neck worsen, last, or spread to other parts of the body, like shoulder blades or arms – an orthopedic specialist or neurologist should be consulted. It is also important to see a doctor if you experience:

  • Constant tingling or numbness in arms and legs
  • Weakness in arms and legs
  • Loss of feeling in hands and feet
  • Severe head pain, confusion, vomiting, double vision, difficult talking or walking
  • Blurry vision or sudden decrease in vision
  • Seizures
  • Loss of sphincter control
  • Acute back pain after a traumatic incident (accident/injury).

Before beginning any kind of neck treatment – acupressure or more traditional Western methods – consulting a healthcare practitioner and following their recommendation is key to ensure safe preventive measures against injury.


Exploring the sources of neckpain and headache, plus the techniques to ease tension through Acupressure, it is obvious this ancient practice can be helpful in reducing and reverting the signs connected to tension headaches and neck pain. Remember though, the level of relief depends on the person’s condition and their dedication. Taking steps with Acupressure to soothe and support the body can be a great and natural way to keep a fit and balanced spine.

Summary of acupressure for neck pain

Acupressure is a non-invasive healing therapy. It uses acupuncture points and pressure to help balance energy flow in the body. It’s great for reducing neck pain, tension headaches, shoulder tightness, and sciatica. With practice, it can make neck muscles and joints more flexible, improve posture, and increase range of motion.

Knowing which points to press is key. For example:

  • GB20, the “Wind Pool,” is a powerful point at the nape of the neck. It releases headaches caused by air stagnation.
  • BL10 relieves neck spasms due to damp heat energy.
  • TH17 at the base of your skull helps with circulation.
  • LI04 in the forearm relaxes upper back muscles.

Acupressure for neck pain isn’t a one-time fix. It’s an ongoing practice that helps relieve discomfort and creates healthier patterns in musculoskeletal tissues. Practitioners or therapists can direct self-massage with acupoints. Mindful touch can be a great way to find relaxation.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is acupressure and how does it help with neck pain?

Acupressure is a type of traditional Chinese medicine that involves applying pressure to specific points on the body to alleviate pain and promote overall wellbeing. When applied to the neck, acupressure can help relieve tension headaches and support a healthy back by targeting pressure points that are connected to these areas.

2. Are there any risks associated with acupressure?

When performed by a trained practitioner, acupressure is generally considered safe. However, as with any form of therapy, there may be some risks involved. These can include bruising, soreness, and discomfort at the pressure points being targeted.

3. How many sessions are typically required to see results with acupressure for neck pain?

The number of sessions needed to see results with acupressure can vary depending on the individual and the severity of their neck pain. Some people may notice improvements after just one session, while others may require multiple sessions over a period of several weeks or months.

4. Can acupressure be used in conjunction with other treatments for neck pain?

Yes, acupressure can be used in combination with other treatments for neck pain, such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, and pain medication. However, it’s always important to consult with a healthcare provider before trying any new treatment to ensure that it’s safe and appropriate for your individual needs.

5. Is acupressure for neck pain covered by insurance?

While some insurance plans may cover acupuncture, which is a similar therapy that involves inserting needles into the skin, acupressure is typically not covered. However, many practitioners offer affordable rates for their services, and some may offer sliding scale fees based on income.

6. How can I find a qualified acupressure practitioner in my area?

One way to find a qualified acupressure practitioner in your area is to ask for referrals from friends or family members who have tried this therapy. You can also search online for acupressure practitioners in your area and read reviews from other patients to help you make an informed decision. It’s important to choose a practitioner who is licensed and experienced in providing acupressure for neck pain.

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.

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