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The Effect of Dry Cupping Therapy on Persistent Nonspecific Low Back Pain: A Comprehensive Study


The Effect of Dry Cupping Therapy on Persistent Nonspecific Low Back Pain: A Comprehensive Study

Note: Click here to download the research pdf.

Low back pain is a widespread issue affecting millions globally, significantly diminishing the quality of life. When this pain persists for more than three months without a specific identifiable cause, it is termed persistent nonspecific low back pain (NSLBP). Traditional treatments like therapeutic exercises and manual therapy are commonly used, but complementary therapies such as cupping are gaining attention for their potential benefits. This article delves into a detailed study published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, exploring the impact of dry cupping therapy on persistent NSLBP.

Understanding Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy, an ancient technique, has two main forms: dry and wet cupping. Dry cupping involves applying suction to the skin at specific acupoints without making any incisions. Wet cupping, on the other hand, includes a small incision to draw blood. This study focuses on dry cupping due to its non-invasive nature and ease of application.

Study Objectives

The primary aim of the study was to assess the effects of dry cupping on pain and functional disability in individuals with persistent NSLBP. Additionally, the study explored the impact of cupping on various physical and psychosocial factors, providing a holistic view of its benefits.


This randomized controlled trial included 37 participants, divided into two groups: the cupping therapy group and the sham group. Both groups underwent five 10-minute sessions of cupping therapy, administered twice a week. The therapy targeted specific acupoints associated with low back pain and emotional well-being.

Key Acupoints Used:

  • For Low Back Pain: GV4, BL23, BL24, BL25, BL30, BL40, BL58.
  • For Emotional Aspects: HT3, ST36.

Assessment Tools

The study utilized two primary tools to measure effectiveness:

  • Visual Analogue Scale (VAS): For assessing pain levels.
  • Oswestry Disability Index (ODI): For evaluating functional disability.

Assessments were conducted at baseline, post-treatment, and during follow-up to gauge both immediate and lasting effects.


The results indicated that the cupping therapy group experienced significant improvements in pain reduction and functional disability compared to the sham group. Post-treatment and follow-up assessments showed notably lower VAS scores, reflecting decreased pain levels. The ODI scores also demonstrated enhanced functionality post-treatment, although the difference was not significant during follow-up.


Dry cupping therapy has proven to be an effective method for reducing pain and improving functionality in individuals with persistent nonspecific low back pain. This non-invasive treatment offers a promising alternative for managing chronic low back pain, presenting a safe and accessible option for patients seeking relief.

Final Thoughts

The findings of this study underscore the potential of dry cupping therapy as a viable complementary treatment for persistent nonspecific low back pain. As with any therapeutic intervention, it’s essential to consult with healthcare professionals before starting new treatments. For those suffering from chronic low back pain, dry cupping could be a beneficial addition to their pain management regimen.

If you found this article insightful, share it with others who might benefit from this information. Stay tuned for more updates on complementary therapies and holistic health practices.

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