Pressure Points

Pressure Points Post | Header Image by © PepeGallardo / Adobe Stock

Pressure Points

Header Image by © PepeGallardo / Adobe Stock

No Tourniquet? You should always be prepared and carry a dedicated tourniquet like the C-A-T®, but if you don’t have one, then what? PRESSURE POINTS. Applying pressure with your thumb proximal (above) where the bleeding is coming from is a quick and effective way to stop bleeding. No equipment required, just a thumb!

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Upper Arm

Find the subclavian artery by placing your thumb at the base of the patients’ neck (use your right hand for their left side, left hand for right side) just over the collarbone (clavicle) and you should be able to feel a pulse. Try it now on yourself or your buddy. Direct pressure down and back.

Lower Arm

Find the brachial artery by feeling for a pulse just above the medial olecranon (inner elbow- pinky side). Apply pressure against the bone until bleeding stops.
© Anatoly Repin | Adobe Stock
© Apicha | Adobe Stock


2 main arteries supply the hand. Find these arteries by placing your finger on the inside of your wrist, just above the joint on either side. You should be able to feel a pulse on both sides. Apply pressure until bleeding stops.

Pressure points are a quick and simple way to slow or stop bleeding but it can be difficult to maintain enough pressure over time so think of this as a temporary way to slow bleeding until a proper pressure dressing (which works on a lot of wounds) or tourniquet (if needed) can be applied. These take practice so find a buddy and get to work.

Special thanks to Pat Thompson for putting on a great clinic on this at the @thethornetwork 2022.

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