German clinicians have determined that adding cupping to analgesic medication can reduce lower back pain more effectively than medication alone. In a randomised trial, 110 patients with chronic low back pain (cLBP) received eight sessions of pulsatile cupping (using a vacuum therapy device) plus paracetamol on demand, minimal cupping (with reduced pressure) plus paracetamol on demand, or paracetamol on demand only, over a period of four weeks. Both forms of cupping were effective in reducing cLBP after four weeks compared with the medication only group. There were no significant differences between pulsatile cupping and minimal cupping at the end of the four week treatment period, however eight weeks later only the pulsatile cupping group showed significant benefits relative to control in most of the outcome parameters measured.
Pulsatile dry cupping in chronic low back pain – a randomized three-armed controlled clinical trial. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2018 Apr 2;18(1):115.