At Coastal Orthopedics, we are dedicated to keeping our patients pain free and living an active life. That’s why we’re recognizing Pain Awareness Month by bringing you the best tips and tricks to deal with your chronic pain.
During sporting events, it’s hard to miss the colorful tape many athletes wear across their shoulders, legs, and backs. It’s called Kinesiology (Kinesio) tape, and everyone from Olympians to NFL players use it to cope with muscle pain and weakness.
Kinesio tape isn’t just for professional athletes however. It is used by anyone seeking to manage pain, reduce inflammation or relax their muscles. That is why it is favored by many working in physical labor, athletes and physical therapy treatment patients.
While it is mostly seen on athletes, Kinesio tape is used by anyone who experiences muscle tension or soreness. Dr. Kenzo Kase, the inventor of Kinesio tape, claims there are four major functions that the tape serves. These functions are:
- Muscle Support: Kinesio tape supports the muscle’s ability to contract. This can relieve any pain or fatigue felt in the muscle and prevents cramping.
- Joint Corrections: Using the tape properly will increase the range of motion in your joints and loosen your muscles.
- Endogenous Analgesic System: There is no medicine or drugs in Kinesio tape. It instead works by allowing your body to heal itself, or like the wording itself suggests “endogenous” meaning something that is self-originating and “analgesic” meaning painkiller.
- Allowing flow of body fluids: Kinesio tape promotes and improves blood and lymphatic circulation. This will reduce inflammation in your body’s tissue.
How it Works
Traditional taping methods work by constraining your muscles and holding them together tightly to prevent movement and further injury. Kinesio taping works in the opposite way. It aims to allow full movement by opening up your muscles.
Kinesio tape is applied on and around an injury or strain, but the muscle or tendon is never encircled with the tape as this constrains movement. The tape works by moving the skin and connective tissue away from the injured area, allowing lymphatic fluid to flow freely and heal the inflamed tissue. This allows your body to naturally heal yourself, and many claim it relieves pain, reducing the need for prescription medication.
Despite its popularity with athletes, there are many health care professionals and scientists who dispute the benefits of Kinesio tape. So far, there has been no solid evidence to support the claim that Kinesio tape can reduce pain, and research that it increases range of motion has been inconsistent. What is clear is that Kinesio tape has a large effect on muscle activity, although it is unclear if this change is beneficial.
While the science might still be out on the benefits of Kinesio tape, what is clear is that thousands of athletes and physical therapy patients rely on it every day to reduce their pain. If you are suffering from muscle or joint pain or weakness, contact a Coastal Orthopedics physician today to find out if you could benefit from Kinesio tape. This Pain Awareness Month, take control of your pain, and get back in the game.