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How Does Kinesiology Tape Relieve Pain?

posted by Tape Expert

kt_athlete_cyclistsThe recent explosion of kinesiology taping in North America and around the world isn’t just a fad that will be popular today and gone tomorrow. Kinesiology taping is a well-researched, clinically proven therapeutic modality that started as an athletic wrapping tape, but has now earned its place in hospitals, therapy clinics, trainers’ kits and athletes’ bags. Kinesiology tape can be applied quickly and produces rapid results. The “Big 3” therapeutic benefits of kinesiology taping include:

1. Pain Relief
2. Reduction of Swelling and Inflammation
3. Structural Support without Loss of Range of Motion

Today I’m going to focus on how kinesiology taping relieves pain.  The physical qualities of kinesiology tape that are important in pain relief are its thinness and its elasticity, both of which are virtually identical to the same qualities in human skin.

For maximum pain relief, the affected muscle or muscle group should be held in a stretched position as the tape is applied. After the tape has been applied and the muscle returns to its resting position, the tape will appear slightly puckered or ridged. Pain relief is often rapid and dramatic. In simplest terms, there are two main mechanisms at play:

1. Mechanical Effect
kinesiology_tape_pain_reliefThe puckering of the tape indicates that the upper layers of skin have been lifted slightly from the tissues below. This lifting action relieves pressure and irritation on the pain receptors directly under the skin, rapidly reducing the pain signals they send to the brain.

2. Neurological Effect
Although the conscious sensation from a kinesiology taping application disappears very quickly, it actually produces an ongoing low level sensory stimulation for the entire time it is worn. Although virtually undetectable to the wearer, this sensory stimulation productes a continuous loop of stimulation from the muscle to the brain and back again. Because of its ongoing nature, this stimulation is able to interfere with and override many of the pain signals from the injured area.

My next post will discuss proper application techniques when kinesiology taping for pain relief.

kinesiology tape
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