Cupping Therapy - Common Areas to Find Peripheral Nerve Entrapment

Cupping is becoming a popular treatment in the manual therapy world. While used for thousands of years  to treat inflammation and improve blood flow, it has shown can be extremely effective in helping treat common nerve entrapments. Many of these peripheral nerves run their course in the space between our muscular and skin layer of tissues. The suctioning effect of the cup separates the skin layer from our muscular layer, removing restrictions in fascia that often compress these cutaneous nerves.

Today we cover three of the most common places these superficial nerves become entrapped and how we can use cups to help relieve pain and paresthesia.

1. Cluneal Nerve (Low Back Pain)

The Cluneal Nerves are branches of our lumbar spinal nerves and innervate the skin of the upper buttocks. Some branches of the cluneal nerve pass through a tunnel formed in our thoracolumbar fascia. If they get impinged as they pass through the fascia they can cause pain and paresthesia over our iliac crest.

 
Cupping Cluneal Nerve.jpg
 

2. Saphenous Nerve (Knee Pain)

The Saphenous Nerve is a cutaneous branch of the our femoral nerve that passes through the adductor hiatus (a gap between the adductor muscles of the inner thigh). When it becomes impinged as it passes through this gap it can create medial knee pain/paresthesia and mimic medial shin splints.

 
Cupping Saphenous Nerve.jpg
 

3. Suprascapular Nerve (Shoulder Pain)

The suprascapular nerve comes from the C5, C6 branch of the brachial plexus and innervates the posterior shoulder. There are a few places that this nerve can become entrapped but is common just superior to our 'shoulder blade' or down near the triceps as it's branches turn into the axillary nerve.

 
Cupping Suprascapular.jpg
 

Peripheral Nerve Entrapments are commonly overlooked contributors to knee, shoulder and low back pain. If your injury is not responding to traditional manual therapy cupping may provide the answer.


Evolve Performance Healthcare combines full body manual therapy with movement and strength programming to provide sustainable pain relief. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out!

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