Hope you had a great week and abolished some major pain and misery wherever you are. Keep up the good fight. Today I’d like to discuss one of my favorite tools I incorporate in my practice every day. Not only has it helped my patients immensely but it has taught me a valuable lesson which has changed the way I treat my patients (more on that later). If you have not guessed it by now my opinion is biased in favor of these colorful pieces of tape. Like most, I first saw it on TV watching sports sometime in the summer of 2010 and like most I was intrigued and confused by it at the same time. To convince myself it was more than just some athletes attempt at fashion I decided to go for my first workshop and have never looked backed ever since.
I learned taping from two different schools- K-active (European based) and Rock Tape (American). Rather than stating their differences I would say the two schools of taping have more similarities in principles then differences. Both taping techniques have no set protocol to tape like the original kinesiology tape which teaches taping from origin to insertion and vice versa. This meant the direction of my taping is based on my assessment and not dictated by some preset protocol (I have tried that too, not with the best results for me and my patients).
Reasons why I love kinesiology taping (rock tape) and incorporate it in my practice –
1. If manual therapy and soft tissue work is a big part of your treatment, taping helps in locking down any progress that you make with the patient who might not be very compliant with home exercise program. It’s like taking part of your therapy home with them.
2.The assessment that I learned from K-active and tweak taping @ rocktape is a quick assessment (does not take more than 1-2 minutes) that helps me differentiate between pain originating from soft tissue structures and muscle guarding (most of the times) compared to patho-anatomical and bio mechanical reasons like disc herniation, nerve compression, arthritis etc as seen and exaggerated by MRI’s and other diagnostic imaging (less common).
3. It’s a great tool to quickly reduce pain, increase ROM, control swelling and bolster movement. I love the fact that it does not restrict movement like rigid elastic taping.
4. The teaching principles of K-active and rocktape resonated well with me as they are based upon modern concepts of manual therapy and movement science and incorporate the work of gray cook, janda, sharmann, lewit, Tom Myers and likes. I love the fact that it teaches us to tape movements over individual muscles and function over structure.
5. It generates great interest among people when they watch someone sport a colorful tape. Rest assured people will ask you or your patients about it and kinesiology tape might help bring in more business for you ( at rocktape you could also design your own custom print on your tape- a brilliant marketing idea but a little pricy).
If the above reasons were not enough, one of the best things that came out of learning this technique was how it influenced the way I perform my manual therapy and soft tissue work. Gone are my days of deep tissue myofacial release and elbow kneeding to alter fascia ( hopefully, we now know we can’t alter fascia). Not only did these old techniques leave some of my patients with soreness and often times bruises and discoloration, it also took a toll on my hands (mind you I am a new professional and I’m in it for the long haul). It made me believe that if a simple tape on skin could alter pain perception and improve movement, I didn’t have to dig my hands into my patients skin. light pressure during soft tissue manual therapy works way better than deep pressure for me. If you haven’t incorporated this in your tool box yet, I highly recommend it. As always comments are welcome and if you like the content please feel free to share.
Pursue Excellence –
Abhijit Minhas PT