Acupressure can reduce lower back pain, new research finds.
Acupressure is a technique similar to acupuncture that involves applying physical pressure with special devices or the elbows, palms and fingers on specific points on the body.
This can be performed as a self-massage technique to relax the muscles in the targeted area.
The are two types of self-administered acupressure treatments, which are known as stimulating and relaxing.
Both stimulating and relaxing acupressure treatments have been shown to lessen fatigue in survivors of breast cancer.
Additionally, the relaxing acupressure technique can effectively improve sleep quality.
Researchers found that self-administered acupressure can reduce pain in people with cancer or osteoarthritis.
Now a new study shows self-administered acupressure can reduce the pain and fatigue in people with chronic low back pain (CLBP).
Dr Susan Murphy, the study’s first author, said:
“Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but instead of needles, pressure is applied with a finger, thumb or device to specific points on the body.
Relaxing acupressure is thought to be effective in reducing insomnia, while stimulating acupressure is thought to be effective in fatigue reduction.”
Participants in this study were trained to apply acupressure to certain points of the body for 30 minutes every day for six weeks.
There was another group in the study, these participants were in the usual care group and were asked to continue their usual treatment for back pain and fatigue.
Dr Murphy said:
“Compared to the usual care group, we found that people who performed stimulating acupressure experienced pain and fatigue improvement and those that performed relaxing acupressure felt their pain had improved after six weeks.”
Patients with chronic pain cannot easily overcome the pain and its additional symptoms such as depression, sleep disturbance and fatigue.
These type of non-pharmacological treatment options can be effective in managing the pain and the above symptoms.
Dr Murphy said:
“Better treatments are needed for chronic pain. Most treatments offered are medications, which have side effects, and in some cases, may increase the risk of abuse and addiction.”
About the author
Mina Dean is a Nutritionist and Food Scientist. She holds a BSc in Human Nutrition and an MSc in Food Science.
The study was published in the journal of Pain Medicine (Murphy et al., 2019).