Use acupressure to ease lower back pain

Washington: Researchers have found that people with chronic lower back pain who perform self-administered acupressure experience improvement in pain and fatigue symptoms. “Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but instead of needles, the pressure is applied with a finger, thumb or device to specific points on the body,” said Susan Murphy, ScD, OTR, an associate professor of physical medicine, rehabilitation at Michigan Medicine and lead author of the study.

Murphy said that while acupressure has been previously studied and found to be beneficial in people with cancer-related or osteoarthritis pain, there are a few studies that examined acupressure in people with back pain. In the study, published in the journal, ‘Pain Medicine,’ the research team randomly assigned 67 participants with chronic low back pain into three groups: relaxing acupressure, stimulating acupressure or usual care.

“Relaxing acupressure is thought to be effective in reducing insomnia while stimulating acupressure is thought to be effective in fatigue reduction. 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,” Murphy said.

She said this study highlights the benefits of a non-pharmacological treatment option that patients could perform easily on their own and see positive results. “Although larger studies are needed, acupressure may be a useful pain management strategy given that it is low risk, low cost and easy to administer,” Murphy said.

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