Acupressure Points for Pain Relief

These days the once little-known meridian points of acupuncture are much more well known than previously. If you know the meridians and points for the cause of your pain, there are various types of stimulation that may help alleviate that pain. I have experimented with a number of these to find relief from sciatica. My experiments may well apply to your situation even if you use different points for other kinds of pain..

I was intrigued by the Be Active brace that is designed to fit just below the knee. I read up on it and the youtube video advised that this brace pressed the meridian point for sciatica that is just behind the knee. I was looking for a local source for this brace  and it was hard to find at first. So I decided to try tying something around that point. It ended up being a cloth dog collar I carry in my car for strays. I buckled it around the point and some of the time it eased my sciatic pain.

Eventually I did find the brace in a local store and purchased it. And I found that pain could be remedied by positioning the sewn in disc either at the back of the knee as instructed or at the side of the leg just below the knee.

I was fortunate to view a webinar from Big Tree School of Natural Healing that explained sciatica in depth. Cindy Black founder and teacher, named the following points as the ones with which she works for sciatica.

The sciatic nerve is comprised of several nerves originating in the lower part of the spine which join, then continue down the leg as one nerve into the foot. Compression or obstruction of any or all of them cause pain. While Western Medicine talks about inflammation, which can compress and obstruct, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) talks about Chi, the LifeForce, becoming stagnant instead of flowing  and thus causing pain.

There are two meridians that may be involved in sciatica. The bladder meridian runs from the lower part of the spine down the back of the leg with points where thigh meets buttocks BL36,  and another point further below behind the knee BL40. The meridian continues into the foot but these are the points I work with due to leg stiffness.


image courtesy of Big Tree School of Natural Healing

The other meridian is the gall bladder meridian. Gallbladder 30 (GB30) is on the buttockover the sciatic nerve. The meridian then runs down the outside of the thigh with a point just below the knee on the outer side of the leg, GB34.


image courtesy of Big Tree School of Natural Healing

.Like some of the other brace users who wrote testimonials, I found that the brace does not always alleviate all pain. However it usually lessens the pain considerably so it isn’t crippling. 

Before I knew about these pressure points, one of my pain remedies was FGX PowerStrips. These are like medicated band aids and they frequently eliminated pain in just minutes. I was not totally happy with them though, because they are expensive and the adhesive wasn’t that good. It was hard to get them to stick around elbows for example. And the stickiness didn’t last that long. So sometimes it was better to apply one on a pressure point rather than on the actual site of the pain.

A naturopath clued me into one of the Power Strip ingredients: magnesium. She spoke of Epsom salt gel which is magnesium sulphate. The health food store clerk showed me magnesium chloride which is stronger. It comes in both liquid and gel forms which you apply topically. It’s goopier, not as neat as Power Strips, but it is easily applied to uneven surfaces, there is no adhesive issue and it is less expensive. And the pain relief is quick and usually thorough. I normally apply this to my sciatic points when I wake up and again later if exertion causes extra pain.

Sometimes it is difficult to apply pressure to your own meridian points due to their location on your body. GB30 is difficult because it is normally well padded as well as being difficult to reach. This video shows one way to massage that point. A number of years ago a naturopath recommended a similar technique for foot pain: rolling a tennis ball under the arch of the foot.

Another method for stimulating less accessible points is electricity. TENS units (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) and EMS units (Electrical Muscle Stimulation) are available for stopping pain and preventing muscle atrophy when movement is limited. I have one that combines both these types though I primarily use the EMS setting and apply the self-sticking electrodes to my meridian points. I usually resort to this only when pain has been more or less constant over several days.

One last thing to consider is your diet. That topic is too detailed to be covered here, but suffice it to say that certain foods will cause inflammation in people who are sensitive or allergic to those foods. That inflammation can make conditions like sciatica even more painful.

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