Acute effects of dermal suctioning on back pain in racehorses: a pilot study

R. Nagahara, S. Suganuma, T. Tsuda, T. Shibutani, S. Enomoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Back pain is a common clinical condition that leads to poor performance in racehorses. Therefore, horse owners would benefit from a suitable and effective treatment that results in the early recovery of their horses. Dermal suctioning significantly improves chronic lower back pain in humans. Thus, if a similar effect were to be found in racehorses, it could become a new treatment for back pain in horses. In this study, we examined the acute effects of dermal suctioning on back pain in racehorses. Twelve Thoroughbred racehorses with back pain underwent 10 min of dermal suctioning in the thoracolumbar region. The pain score, mechanical nociceptive threshold (MNT), heart rate variability (HRV), and plasma cortisol concentrations were measured. Results showed that pain scores were significantly improved immediately after dermal suctioning (P=0.028), while MNT, HRV, and plasma cortisol concentrations did not show significant changes (P>0.05). These results indicate that dermal suctioning immediately relieves pain but has a limited effect on the other three parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-347
Number of pages9
JournalComparative Exercise Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Cupping
  • Thoracolumbar pain
  • Thoroughbreds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Physiology (medical)


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