So here’s a conversation I had with a client recently:
Client: My shoulder hurts when I move it like this. (she demonstrates) Can I make an appointment to come in for some bodywork?
Me: Absolutely, but my next available opening is next week. I know you’re in pain so I’m sure that feels like a long time…have you tried kinesio tape?
Client: No I haven’t…what’s that? Oh, wait, is that the colorful tape I see athletes on TV wearing?
Me: Yes, it is. It’s by no means a cure to fix the underlying problem, but it will most likely ease the pain until you can get in to see me next week.
Client: Does it really work?
Me: Absolutely! I use it on myself and clients all the time. The tape works due to its stretch qualities and it can be used in several different ways.
Client: Ok, let’s do it.
15 minutes later…
Client: WOW! I feel much better. You were right, the pain’s not completely gone but it’s tolerable and I can move my arm with more range of motion than before.
Me: Great! Now let’s set up that appointment for you to come in for a full treatment.
I’ve had this conversation or one just like it many times. It doesn’t always involve the shoulder; sometimes it’s the knee, wrist, hip, ankle, back or even the neck. The area of concern doesn’t really matter, if it’s applied correctly, kinesio tape will still do the job of easing your pain until you’re able to get some real relief.
Here are some of the ways kinesio tape can be used:
- Joint Support – By applying the tape with enough tension and using the correct method, the tape will support most joints, minimize the pain, and not inhibit range of motion. That is not something that can be said for a standard brace.
- Muscle Facilitation – By applying the tape with the correct tension, in the correct direction and using the correct method, the tape will facilitate muscle movement. It will help the muscle work better through its correct range of motion.
- Muscle Inhibition – By applying the tape with the correct tension in the correct direction and using the correct method, the tape will inhibit muscle movement. It will help the muscle relax forcing the supporting muscles in the area to do a little extra so that muscle has more recovery time.
- Supports Lymph Drainage – By applying the tape in the correct method it will support lymph drainage. It will help to reduce swelling, inflammation, and bruising faster than normal.
- Spot Corrections – By applying the tape in a star pattern, with or without a hole cut into it, you can add or remove pressure to pinpointed locations, thereby reducing pain to that specific area.
These are just a few of the many ways kinesio tape can be used. The best part about it is that the tape is temporary. If you don’t like the way it feels or if it bothers you at all, just take it off. No harm, no foul.
Lastly, here’s a couple of little notes about this fantastic tape:
- If you’re allergic to adhesives (for example, you have a reaction when you use band aids), beware. Kinesio tape can still be used but you will need to apply a thin coat of Milk of Magnesia prior to applying the tape. Milk of Magnesia will act as a barrier between the adhesive and your skin without reducing the therapeutic affect the tape has.
- Make sure your skin is dry and completely free of oils or lotions before application or the tape will not stick.
- After application of kinesio tape, make sure you allow 20-30 for the adhesive to completely stick before getting it wet. Once the allotted time has elapsed you may do anything you like. The tape should stay applied no matter what you’re doing; sweating, showering, or even swimming.
- Kinesio tape is good to leave on for approximately 3-5 days. Most of the time it tends to start coming off within that time frame. However, I’ve seen it stay on almost 2 weeks. That’s way too long, after about 3-5 day the stretch quality of the tape has diminished enough that it’s not really working any more.
- When it’s time to remove the kinesio tape, soaking it with either warm water or oil will help to loosen and break down the adhesive just enough so that it’s not painful coming off.
- There are many different brands of kinesio tape. Some the more popular brands are: KT Tape, Kinesio Tape, Rock Tape, even Longs/CVS has their own brand. Find the one that works best for you and stick to it.