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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 429718, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/429718
Research Article

The Effect of Traditional Cupping on Pain and Mechanical Thresholds in Patients with Chronic Nonspecific Neck Pain: A Randomised Controlled Pilot Study

1Chair of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, University of Duisburg-Essen, Knappschafts-Krankenhaus, Am Deimelsberg 34a, 45276 Essen, Germany
2Department of Community Medicine, The National Research Centre in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NAFKAM), Faculty of Health Science, University of Tromsø, 9037 Tromsø, Norway

Received 18 August 2011; Revised 7 September 2011; Accepted 13 September 2011

Academic Editor: Gerhard Litscher

Copyright © 2012 Romy Lauche et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Introduction. Cupping has been used since antiquity in the treatment of pain conditions. In this pilot study, we investigated the effect of traditional cupping therapy on chronic nonspecific neck pain (CNP) and mechanical sensory thresholds. Methods. Fifty CNP patients were randomly assigned to treatment (TG, ) or waiting list control group (WL, ). TG received a single cupping treatment. Pain at rest (PR), pain related to movement (PM), quality of life (SF-36), Neck Disability Index (NDI), mechanical detection (MDT), vibration detection (MDT), and pressure pain thresholds (PPT) were measured before and three days after a single cupping treatment. Patients also kept a pain and medication diary (PaDi, MeDi) during the study. Results. Baseline characteristics were similar in the two groups. After cupping TG reported significantly less pain (PR: −17.9 mm VAS, 95%CI −29.2 to −6.6; PM: −19.7, 95%CI −32.2 to −7.2; PaDi: −1.5 points on NRS, 95%CI −2.5 to −0.4; all ) and higher quality of life than WL (SF-36, Physical Functioning: 7.5, 95%CI 1.4 to 13.5; Bodily Pain: 14.9, 95%CI 4.4 to 25.4; Physical Component Score: 5.0, 95%CI 1.4 to 8.5; all ). No significant effect was found for NDI, MDT, or VDT, but TG showed significantly higher PPT at pain-areas than WL (in lg(kPa); pain-maximum: 0.088, 95%CI 0.029 to 0.148, pain-adjacent: 0.118, 95%CI 0.038 to 0.199; both ). Conclusion. A single application of traditional cupping might be an effective treatment for improving pain, quality of life, and hyperalgesia in CNP.