Dry cupping for low back pain

...does it lead to better outcomes than sham therapy?

Chronic low back pain is a common problem in adults and can result in disability, physical and psychological impairment, limitations in daily activities and participation restriction.

Most low back pain is non-specific low back pain, which means that it is not possible to attribute it to a reliable pathoanatomical cause. Clinical practice guidelines recommend non-pharmacological interventions as the first-line management for low back pain, including exercises, psychological therapies and, in some cases, multidisciplinary biopsychosocial rehabilitation.

Cupping is an ancient Chinese alternative therapy, which became famous worldwide after it was used by swimmer Michael Phelps during the 2016 Olympic Games held in Brazil. Google Trends reported a 2,100% spike in searches for cupping therapy in 2016, and cupping therapy became a trending topic that year. While many patients have expressed interest in receiving cupping for low back pain, currently, there is a lack of studies that investigate the effects of cupping therapy in individuals with chronic low back pain.


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