Document Type

Case Report


Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science

Degree Name

DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy)

Session and Year of Graduation

Fall 2018


Laura Frey Law


Background: Cervical disc disorders are very common in today’s population and many physical therapists treat these patients daily with varying interventions, including soft tissue massage, manipulations, stretches and exercises. Another potential intervention is dry cupping, which is a technique that decreases fascial tension under the skin and allows increased blood flow to the area, to promote muscle healing. The purpose of this case study is to describe the successful use of dry cupping with active movement as part of the physical therapy treatment of a patient with cervical disc disorder. Case Description: The patient was a 41 year old female who came to physical therapy via direct access due to prolonged bilateral neck pain that extended down her left ribs to her left hip. She also had a long standing history of C4-C5 radiculopathy. The patient presented with decreased and painful cervical range of motion and strength, as well as cervical and upper thoracic hypomobility. Intervention: The patient was seen 2 times per week for 10 weeks. The final 6 weeks of treatment included one session each week of cupping with active movement. The dry cupping treatment included 4-5 cups on both the left and right trapezius, rhomboids, and supraspinatus muscles depending on palpation of musculature and restrictions in movement each session. The patient then completed several movements with the cups on her skin. Outcome Measures: The outcome measures used were the Upper Extremity Quick-Dash, pain scale, self rated functional improvement, as well as active range of motion measured with goniometry and manual muscle testing. Discussion: This case report supports the use of dry cupping with active movement as an intervention to decrease cervical pain and dysfunction in patients with cervical disc disorders, without adverse side effects.


Dry cupping; cervical spine; musculoskeletal pain; orthopedics; physical therapy; rehabilitation


9 pages


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