Have you ever been watching your favorite sport on TV and noticed the players wearing colored strips of tape on their shoulders or knees? That is no ordinary tape. It is Kinesio tape. Unlike regular wraps or braces, kinesio tape helps stabilize the muscle or joint without restricting the movement.
Kinesio taping was developed in the 1970’s by chiropractor, Dr. Kenzo Kase. The tape itself is an elastic, non-medicinal material that stretches to form along the muscles and joints of the human body. It is used to decrease pain, correct abnormal movements in muscles and joints, and increase vascular and lymphatic flow. Kinesio tape is designed to mimic the skin and move freely while still giving adequate support. Although it is widely used by athletes to improve performance, it is becoming a common therapy among the general population. Many professions, including chiropractic and physical therapy, use kinesio tape to aid in the healing process of the body.
Due to the tape’s ability to form to the skin, it has been shown effective in helping overcome instabilities in the body. The body was made to move and that is how the joints get their nutrition. When the body becomes unstable due to restricted movement and/or muscle imbalances, we start to feel pain in those areas. Receiving regular chiropractic adjustments helps restore movement and muscle specific exercises can improve muscle function, but what happens when you leave the office? That is where kinesio tape kicks in. For instabilities that may take more than a few days to rehabilitate, kinesio tape acts as a movable brace to support you while you go about your day. The tape is designed to be fitted to you so that it is comfortable. While some pieces can come pre-cut, most tapes come in a roll. This gives whoever is doing the taping the ability to measure you and cut pieces accordingly.
Kinesio taping is used for a variety of problems. Some conditions that may improve with taping include; low back pain, plantar fasciitis, knee pain, and poor posture.
With certain types of low back pain, the muscles of the lower back are overworked and cannot support the strain that is placed on them with everyday movements such as lifting or twisting. Kinesio tape is applied to the muscles and other areas of the low back that are strained. The tape adds a layer of support to stabilize the muscles and in turn allows you to move more easily without relying completely on the muscles of the lower back. In the case of poor posture, the role of the tape is to activate the muscles that are not working and support the ones that are being overworked. If you sit at a desk for too long, you may notice your shoulders start to slump forward and your head starts to jut out. This position causes the muscles in your mid back to become tight and weak and the muscles of the chest to become tight and short. This creates an imbalance in your muscles and you may start to notice pain or tightness throughout the mid back and neck and even experience headaches. The tape is placed in the mid back area to help roll the shoulders back into a more proper position. This takes the strain off the mid back muscles and creates a better posture so you can work without having to worry about slumping.
Plantar fasciitis is another condition that can be improved with kinesio tape. Plantar fasciitis occurs when there is inflammation in the ligamentous band on the bottom of your foot. It is the most common cause of heel pain and can take months – years to fully improve. While there are several factors that can effect whether or not you develop plantar fasciitis, one of the most important is not having enough support in the arches of your feet. Kinesio taping the arch of the foot can help give support to your arches and decrease the healing time for this particular condition.
While research shows kinesio tape’s effectiveness with different conditions, it is always important to consult with your local chiropractor to see if you can benefit from this therapy. To speak with a chiropractor in the Edwardsville, IL area about kinesio taping, call Dr. Nikole Hunter at 618-692-0000 or contact us. Dr. Hunter is a board certified chiropractic physician.