Using acupressure points to relieve shoulder pain is a tradition dating back thousands of years in Asia. According to Stanford University, stimulating pressure points provides relief of minor to moderate pain while diminishing the need for medications. Practitioners believe that manipulation of pressure points aligns energy flowing through a person's shoulder, thereby removing pain caused by disharmony in the body. Physiologically, acupressure point manipulation can increase blood flow and distract pain receptors causing discomfort.
Acupressure points for shoulder pain are based on the belief that energy runs through the body. Disruptions in this energy can manifest as pain in the shoulder. Since the energy runs throughout a person, many acupressure points treating shoulder pain are located in other parts of the body. Manipulating the pressure points are believed to purge the body of bad energy and restore the proper balance.
Pressure points for shoulder pain are manipulated with a firm and narrow object. This is most often a fingertip or knuckle. Various massage tools can also serve this function. Pressure is applied directly into the acupressure point, not at an angle. All pressure should be applied slowly and gently at first, then increase in intensity. Some acupressure points require steady pressing while others work best with a circular motion. All pressure must cease when pain or discomfort is felt.
The primary acupressure points relieving pain in the shoulder are located near the pain. One is on the ridge of muscle connecting the neck to the shoulder. According to the website PressThePoint.com, pressure should be applied in a circular motion at the midway point. Another acupressure point is on the back of the shoulder in the soft spot under the juncture of the shoulder blade and the upper arm. Direct pressure is applied there.
Shoulder pain is often caused by problems lower in the arms. To treat, the palm can be turned up and bent halfway while steady pressure is applied at the inside end of the elbow crease. The same can be done on the outside end of the elbow crease. Additional acupressure points are found in the middle of the wrist, 2 inches below the crease of the hand, and in the meaty part of the hand between the thumb and index finger.
According to Stanford University, acupressure points for shoulder pain should not be used if a patient is pregnant. The acupressure point on the ridge of the neck should especially be avoided. Use of these pressure points could be unpleasant for the fetus. Acupressure points should not be used by people with heart conditions or skin disorders at the spot of the pressure point. They are not a substitute for medical treatment by a doctor.