Virtual Conference
Spine 2023

Ayman Mohamed

Beni-Suef University, Egypt

Title: Evidence-based and adverse-effects analyses of cupping therapy in musculoskeletal and sports rehabilitation: A systematic and evidence-based review


Background: Cupping therapy has been used to treat musculoskeletal impairments for about 4- thousand years. Recently, world athletes provoked an interest in it; however, the evidence to support its use to manage musculoskeletal and sports conditions remains unknown.

Objective: this paper evaluates the evidence of studies of common musculoskeletal and sports conditions.

Methods: A systematic computerized research on randomized and case series studies published from 1990 to 2019. This search involved 5 databases (Scopus, MEDLINE (PubMed), Web of Science (Thomson Reuters), Academic Search Complete PLUS (EBSCO), and CrossRef). Three analyses were included the PEDro scale for quality assessment, physical characteristic analysis, and evidence-based analysis.

Results: Twenty-two studies were included. The results showed that most of the included studies used dry cupping except 5 studies used wet cupping. Most studies compared cupping therapy to no intervention, while three studies compared it to standard medical care, other studies compared it heat, routine physiotherapy, electrical stimulation, active range of motion and stretching,  passive stretching, or Acetaminophen. Treatment durations ranged from 1-day to 12-weeks. The evidence on managing soft tissue flexibility is moderate; low back pain and cervical pain are low to moderate, and other musculoskeletal conditions are very low to low. The incidence of adverse events reported in these studies was very low. Additionally, cupping therapy has very low to low adverse effects.

Conclusion: This study provides the first attempt to analyze the evidence level of cupping therapy on musculoskeletal and sports rehabilitation. However, of the low-moderate evidence on the effect of cupping therapy, it is a useful intervention to be performed in musculoskeletal and sports rehabilitation because it decreases pain level and increases pain threshold with a low incidence of adverse effects. In addition, it can improve blood flow with anti-inflammatory substances to the affected area.