Stop Bleeding by Knowing Your Pressure Points

Knowing how to stop someone’s bleeding is perhaps one of the most important things we can learn for our survival as well as our friends and family. Many people have a vague idea of how to tie a tourniquet but don’t necessarily know how often to loosen it or where exactly it should go when tying it off. I know very few people who know and understand how to stop bleeding by pinching pressure points. Our friends over at SurvivalKit have written and excellent primer on how to pinch pressure points to stop serious bleeding.

Every human body has a series of pressure points that can be pinched in order to stop severe bleeding following an injury. Pressure points are essentially places where veins or arteries can be pinched like a hose in order to slow the rate of blood flow so that wound sites have a chance to clot. They are located throughout the body and provide a first line of defense against excessive blood loss or shock. Let’s take a look at the location of some common pressure points so that you will be prepared to take immediate action if necessary.

pressure points for bleeding

Neck and Head

There are pressure points atop the temples, along the neck, below the jaw and on top of the shoulders, about a third of the way down from the neck. Blood flow from head or neck wounds tends to be greater than what is experienced at other locations on the body. This is due to the large volume of blood that passes through the area at high levels of pressure. Even a small wound can lead to significant blood loss in this area.

However, it is important that you only apply pressure to the points that are on the same side of the head or neck as the wound. Never pinch both sides of the head, neck or shoulders at the same time or you can restrict blood flow to the area and deprive the brain of oxygen. Patients who get both sides pinched can lose consciousness and face medical issues that are more serious than the wound itself.

Arteries and bleeding

Arms and Hands

You always want to apply firm and direct pressure on points that are situated above the location of the wound site in this area. Fortunately, there are a few different points to choose from. Start with the one that is nearest to the wound before moving upward if necessary. The points are located under the biceps, atop the fleshy part of the elbow and the underside of the wrist. The points along the arms may be hard to find at first, and an easy way to locate the “sweet spot” is to feel for a pulse and pinch when you find it. Applying pressure to the bicep area is arguably more challenging due to the need to get around and beneath the muscle to be effective.

Thighs, Legs and Feet

A severe wound to the thigh or leg can lead to significant bleeding due to the thick tissue and large arteries and veins that pass through the area. Bleeding in the thigh area can be slowed by applying firm pressure to the left or right of the groin area, just next to where the groin and leg meet near the abdomen. However, it is impossible to pinch these two pressure points. Rather, you want to take a fabric or gauze pad and press down firmly on the area until the flow of blood diminishes at the wound site. You can also elevate the extremity as a way to support minimizing blood flow and to hasten clotting.

Blood flow from wounds in the lower leg or feet can be controlled by pressing firmly on the fleshy part behind the knee or at the front and back of the ankles. Place your hand around the ankle and squeeze firmly. You also want to wrap your hand behind the knee and pull the flesh tightly to constrict the flow of blood through the area.

Keep in mind that using pressure points can do wonders in terms of reducing the flow of blood through a wound. However, they do not promote the clotting of internal injuries or tears on arteries or veins. These injuries require immediate medical attention and usually surgery to repair damage. However, maintaining consistent pressure in these situations can help to reduce the flow of blood until the patient can reach a hospital.

Memorize these locations and take some time to practice applying pressure on different areas on the body to become more familiar with this technique. Just remember to apply brief amounts of pressure so that you don’t cut off the flow of blood through the body of a healthy person as you are learning.

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