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Can cupping make lower back pain feel better?

Cupping For Lower Back Pain
3 minutes, 24 seconds

Cupping is an alternative treatment technique that involves the use of cup-shaped devices, usually made from glass or silicone. These cups are usually heated up and placed onto a patient’s skin and then allowed to cool. As the heated cups cool, a suction effect is created, drawing skin and muscle up into the cups. This technique can be performed in a variety of health care settings, including at physical therapy clinics. 

You may have heard of cupping for lower back pain, which is a common treatment method. It works for many different conditions including back pain. To learn more about how cupping works and other treatment methods for back pain, keep reading the information provided in the sections below.

What are the general benefits of cupping?

  • Increased circulation — Cupping is believed to boost circulation and draw more blood up toward targeted areas.
  • Reduced muscle tension — It’s also been known to reduce muscle tension and tightness.
  • Stimulation of tissue repair — Since it can increase circulation to specific areas, the increase in circulation can encourage the repair of damaged tissue in the body.

How does cupping specifically help lower back pain?

Cupping helps those with lower back pain especially, because it can help reduce muscle tension and stimulate the repair of tissue by increasing blood flow

What conditions can cupping help?

  • High blood pressure.
  • Tension headaches.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Arthritis.
  • Scar tissue buildup.
  • Lower back pain.

How often should you get cupping done for your lower back pain?

How often you should get cupping done for your lower back pain generally depends on the severity of your pain. For more extreme cases, you may benefit from getting cupping done several times a week, but for others that frequency is not as necessary. It’s important to know that cupping works best across multiple sessions. 

Will you have bruises on your back if you get cupping for lower back pain?

Chances are, yes, you may have several large bruises on your back. Cupping has been known to leave large, circular marks. These bruises probably won’t cause you any pain, but they’ll be noticeable to others if you remove your shirt.

What are some other side effects of cupping for lower back pain?

  • Muscle soreness — One of the primary side effects of cupping that patients report experiencing is muscle soreness. This typically only lasts a few days.
  • Nausea or dizziness — While this side effect isn’t as common, some people may experience nausea or dizziness immediately following their session.

The side effects of cupping for lower back pain may be worse if you have any skin condition or organ disease. You should speak with your physician or physical therapist before deciding if cupping is right for you. It may be in your best interest to avoid cupping to prevent any serious side effects.

Can cupping benefit everyone?

Cupping should be avoided by people with certain conditions. If you have any of the following, you may risk injury or experience complications.

  • Eczema.
  • Psoriasis.
  • Diabetes.
  • Liver disease.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Heart disease.
  • Anemia.

What treatments besides cupping can help keep lower back pain under control?

  • Physical therapy — Physical therapy is another great treatment option for lower back pain. Yes, cupping can be done by physical therapists, but it is most effective when performed in conjunction with other modalities. Physical therapists can come up with a detailed treatment plan designed to address your lower back pain through a series of target movements and exercises. These exercises will strengthen your muscles, improve flexibility, and boost your range of motion for increased comfort and decreased pain.

Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PTs who can perform cupping for your lower back pain

At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. 

Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you address lower back pain via cupping and a uniquely made treatment plan. Physical therapy can give you the tools you need to manage pain and improve strength. If you’re interested in using cupping and physical therapy to manage your pain levels, let us connect you with a compassionate, licensed physical therapy clinic.

Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform. 


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