Quick Self-Help for Joint Pain

by Ed

Yesterday, I was digging a trench. It was deep enough that I had to go below the hard pan, which is very hard on our property. So I was also using a mattock, to break up the earth. I am very healthy, but I have never been particularly strong, and I don’t do a lot of hard labour. Usually my back is the first thing to bother me, but I have been taking care of it lately. Yesterday, my number two weak point, my elbow, started hurting. When I went to bed it was sore and just slightly inflamed. As I was relieving the pain, I realized I had not mentioned this technique on my blog, yet, so here it is.

This is an acupressure technique, based on the Balance Method of acupuncture. It can bring fast relief for both acute and chronic pain in the joints. In order to make it easy to understand I will describe the technique only for very localized pain in one of the major joints of the limbs.

First you need to find a sore spot on the opposite limb on the opposite side. For instance, my pain was in the left elbow, so I found a sore spot in the right knee. The ankles go with the wrists and the hips with the shoulders.

Continuing with the elbow example, extend your hands straight out in front of you, palm up. If the pain is on the same side of the arm as the baby finger, look for a sore spot on the outside of the knee. Remember it is the opposite knee. If the pain is on the thumb side, look on the inside of the knee. The wrist and ankle are the same, the baby finger side corresponds to the outside of the ankle. For the hips and shoulders, the back of the hip corresponds to the back of the shoulder, the side of the hip corresponds to the top and side of the shoulder, the front of the hip corresponds to the front of the shoulder.

It may take some searching around to find the sore spot, but it will be obvious when you find it. It will be much more tender than anywhere else. Once you find it massage it with slow deep circles, for about one minute. You need to massage deeply enough for it to hurt some, but not too much. If it is very painful just press on the spot until the pain eases, or one to two minutes.

If you have relatively acute pain, like I got yesterday. Massage the point three or four times a day, for a day or two. As long as you don’t aggravate the problem, that should be enough to make it better. If your problem is more chronic, this technique can relieve the pain but may not be a long term solution. You may also want to try this technique along with my pain relief visualization.


1 Jude Lamare 08.31.08 at 9:07 am

I have found this to be quite helpful for a troubled hip. I have been working on opening hip joints in yoga. I noticed this also is changing my gait and balancing the relative strength/aggressiveness of each leg in walking. Before long I was getting some spasming in the muscles around one hip joint. The work on the sore spots in the opposite shoulder is smoothing things out nicely. Thanks!

2 Mark 08.28.11 at 5:40 pm

This looks promising. Can you use this for neck pain? What body part would be the neck’s opposite? Thanks.

3 Ed 08.28.11 at 6:35 pm

Hi Mark,
There are different ways of imaging the neck on other parts of the body. Generally, though, the best points for neck pain are between the bones on the back of the hand. Usually the opposite hand from the side of the neck pain, but not always. Check both hands for tender points.

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