What is Kinesiotape?
A lot of chiropractors, osteopaths or physiotherapists advocate the use of kinesiotaping in an attempt to help ease low back pain.
You must have seen athletes or sportsmen and women taped with brightly coloured strips on various joints from their shoulders, knees, legs or back.
Kinesiotape is made of a thin, light and stretchy fabric that is said to improve athletic performance and the risk of injury better than other taping.
Why Use Taping?
Kinesiotaping was introduced in 1973 and the biological rationale for using it is that taping was believed to generate convolutions in the skin, which would then ‘lifts’ the skin away from the injured tissues below. The reduced pressure on the receptors under the skin would reduce any adverse stimulation that causes pain and so reduce pain and improve blood flow and lymphatic drainage.
I have also heard of taping being used to help support joints and muscles. The idea is to try to create stability whilst allowing you to move but it serves to prevent you from over stretching and causing joint sprain/strain by not allowing the joints to separate too much.
Taping can also act to remind you not to slouch or bend too far in the direction that irritates your low back.
It might help people playing sport but can it really help reduce pain in those presenting with chronic, non specific low back pain in our clinics?
I keep on and on about doing exercises to increase the strength of your low back naturally but would taping help too if used as well as exercise or even instead of them? Sounds good to those who hate exercising?
Is it relevant to helping you if you have non specific low back pain?
A study published in Spine volume 44, number 1, 2018 by Antonia De Luz Junior et al was the first to examine the effectiveness of kinesio taping in patients with chronic, non specific low back pain.
The researchers examined the outcomes of 11 randomised controlled trials – some of which compared groups who had taping with groups who used exercise as well as taping and also those using exercise alone and other studies compared groups who had no treatment at all with those who had been taped.
There is very low to moderate quality evidence that taping was no better than any other intervention for those with chronic, non specific low back pain. This means that there is no evidence to support the use of kinesiotaping in the treatment of patients with this condition.
There could well be some placebo effect and Jim Thornton, the president of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association says that it may be possible that it does have some health benefits but he calls it ‘Taping your head’ rather than doing anything physical to help!
Therefore, you really need to keep exercising – there is no better way to help, I promise!