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How to Apply Kinesiology Tape for Pain Relief

posted by Tape Expert

There are three basic kinesiology taping techniques, depending on the goal of the taping. Kinesiology tape can be applied to:
1. Relieve Pain
2. Reduce Swelling
3. Provide Support

Each of these three techniques uses a different combination of stretching the tape and/or stretching the muscles. This feature is one of the main things that separates kinesiology tape from regular athletic tape. This post will examine how to apply kinesiology tape for relief of acute or chronic pain.

The general principle for obtaining maximum pain relief is to STRETCH THE MUSCLE, NOT THE TAPE. The following image shows a SpiderTech Precut Hamstring Application about to be applied as the hamstring muscle group is held in a stretched position.

stretched_hamstring

By placing the muscle in a position of maximum stretch during the tape application, the tape will appear puckered or wrinkled when the muscle is returned to its resting position. This is caused by a mechanical “lifting” of the upper layers of skin, increasing the space between the skin and the tissues below. This reduces pressure and irritation on the pain receptors, and also creates a slight counter-sensation that overrides the pain signals going to the brain.

Step 1: Apply the first section of tape (the anchor) with the muscle in an unstretched, resting position. This reduces the liklihood of discomfort or skin irritation and provides a secure anchor for the rest of the taping.

Step 2: Stretch the muscle to the limit of its pain-free range of motion. While holding this stretched position, apply the tape as the backing is removed. Do not stretch the tape as it is applied.

Step 3: Return the muscle to a resting position and rub tape briskly from the center toward the outside edges to activate the acrylic adhesive. The tape and the skin should now have a wrinkled or puckered appearance.

kinesiology tape
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