In collaboration with Keck School of Medicine

Dry Cupping With An Acupuncturist May Help With Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain can be debilitating for many people. It keeps millions of people from being able to do what they want. Those with chronic back pain have often tried many different things in search of relief, but one thing they may not have tried yet is ear acupuncture with dry cupping. The good news is that research suggests that it may be worth giving it a try.

In the April 2022 issue of the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, researchers share their findings regarding a study that used ear acupuncture with dry cupping to test those with chronic back pain [1]. They conducted a randomized trial involving 198 adults who have chronic back pain. The people were split into two groups, one receiving only ear acupuncture and the other receiving ear acupuncture along with dry cupping.

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The study participants received the treatment once a week for five weeks in a row. They were evaluated before the first session, after the last session, and then again seven days after the final session. What they found was that those in both groups experienced significant changes. People had improvements in daily activities, work, mood, relationships, sleep quality, and even improvements in social, physical, and psychological relationships.

The two groups differed when it came to the person’s perception of quality of life and their satisfaction with their health. The group that had also received the dry cupping treatment scored better in this area. While the other factors were similar, those patients reported feeling more satisfied with their health and overall quality of life. This makes a big difference because what we believe about our health and quality of life can motivate people to engage more.

Acupuncture and dry cupping are both rooted in ancient Chinese medicine practices. While acupuncture involves placing tiny needles to cause a change in the body’s function, dry cupping involves using special suction cups placed on the skin, which increase the circulation and blood flow. Both are used as complementary therapies for a range of health conditions. Those with chronic back pain may want to try acupuncture with dry cupping to see if the treatment can help improve their quality of life, among other factors.

To give ear acupuncture and dry cupping a try, locate a qualified and experienced acupuncturist. Try getting referrals from those in your community, or ask your healthcare provider for a referral.

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  1. Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies. Effect of Ear Acupuncture and Dry Cupping on Activities and Quality of Life in Adults with Chronic Back Pain. April 2022.
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