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Papers of the Week

2020 Jan

J Altern Complement Med



Dry Cupping, Ischemic Compression, or Their Combination for the Treatment of Trigger Points: A Pilot Randomized Trial.


Nasb M, Qun X, Ruckmal Withanage C, Lingfeng X, Hong C
J Altern Complement Med. 2020 Jan; 26(1):44-50.
PMID: 31580695.


Chronic neck pain (NP) attributed to myofascial pain syndrome is one of the particularly common skeletal muscle disorder associated with the hyperirritable zone in the taut band of muscle. Trigger points (TPs) are the physical interpretation of the myofascial pain syndrome. In the United States, 30%-85% of pain patients have been affected by myofascial TPs. To reveal preliminary evidence on the clinical efficacy of ischemic compression therapy, dry cupping, and their combination on improving the TPs' pressure pain threshold (PPT), neck range of motion (NROM), and neck disability index (NDI) in patients with TPs and nonspecific NP. Besides, assess the feasibility of conducting a randomized clinical trial (RCT). A randomized pilot study was conducted on 24 patients with TPs and nonspecific NP. Patients were randomly assigned to three groups: the cupping group, the ischemic compression group, and the combination therapy group. PPT, NROM, and NDI were assessed before and after 4 weeks of treatment. The results showed a statistically significant improvement in NDI, PPT, and NROM compared with values before the treatment ( < 0.05) in all groups. Although no significant difference was detected between ischemic compression (IC) and dry cupping, the combination approach showed significantly higher and faster improvement ( < 0.05). It is feasible to conduct a main RCT. Both IC and dry cupping may hold promise in treating TPs; a combination of the two therapies may provide superior improving rate.