Kinesiology Tape Reduces Pain for Injured Muscles and Joints: Fact or Fiction

For over nearly a decade, medical practitioners and athletes alike have been using kinesiology tape to help treat a myriad of physical conditions and injuries to the musculoskeletal system. This seemingly simple and inexpensive treatment method has enjoyed overwhelming success, but some researchers and clinicians are not convinced that it is anything more than a placebo.

Our team at The Physio Clinic @ West Durham wanted to learn more about this technology and how it works. We recently attended a taping seminar, hosted by Dr. Nick Sagarrelis, to help us decide for ourselves if the technology behind this treatment method would support the results it claimed to give.

What is it?

Kinesiology tape is a waterproof, adhesive tape that is applied to the skin’s surface and claims to help with muscle recovery, performance, and the prevention of injuries. There are a number of brands on the market that produce this tape in a variety of shapes and colours, but all commonly suggest that their tape is easy to apply and offers pain relief. Some brands produce the tape in pre-cut shapes designed for particular parts of the body, making the application process even easier. Once the tape is applied to the affected area, it is left on the skin for several days to a week (depending on the brand), before it is removed.

What conditions does it treat?

Based on the application and duration of use, kinesiology tape is said to accelerate the healing process for joint instability, muscle strains, sprains, and inflammatory conditions. When worn correctly, it is said to help prevent further injury by limiting the range of motion in a given area.

How does it work?

SpiderTech Tape (pictured above) is one of the leading kinesiology tape brands in the industry, and works in a twofold way to reduce pain and facilitate recovery.

First, it uses advanced wave technology to induce what is referred to as “sensory gaiting”. In this context, sensory gaiting is when signals are sent to your central nervous system through the nerve endings on your skin to help block the pain you’re experiencing from your injury. This blocking of pain receptors creates a therapeutic effect and is maintained as long as the tape remains in contact with the skin’s surface.

Next, this sensory stimulation that is blocking pain signals is combined with the structurally supportive quality of the very durable tape. When the tape is properly stretched and applied over injured muscles and joints, it creates a barrier to limit motion (if necessary) and raises the superficial layers immediately beneath the skin, offering relief to the injured subcutaneous muscle layers. The Increased support given to the affected area by this strong tape is said to accelerate healing times, restrict or facilitate movement, and promote proper muscle response.

Restrictive vs. Supportive

Unlike strapping tape or muscle wraps, which are restrictive and designed to be wrapped tightly around the affected area to limit all movement, kinesiology tapes, like SpiderTech, are engineered to be supportive and increase movement of the appropriate muscles. The tight wrapping required of strapping tape or muscle wraps can also lead to reduced blood circulation and skin irritation. And, of course, these products are not waterproof, so they must be removed when showering, which means they’re not consistently treating the injured area. SpiderTech Tape, on the other hand, is 100% waterproof, hypoallergenic, and can last for up to 5 days when applied to the skin. The lightweight, breathable material means it can be discreetly concealed under clothing and offers 24-hour support to the affected area.

So, what’s the verdict?

After considerable use in our clinic on both patients and staff members for a variety of pain conditions, the team at The Physio Clinic @ West Durham unanimously agrees that the application of kinesiology tape helps the healing process for injured muscles and joints. Although it is not a miracle method or a cure-all for most muscle and joint injuries, our experience with this method has shown that it can dramatically help with pain management and considerably decrease recovery time. Best of all, it’s easy to use, completely safe, non-invasive, and affordable!

To learn more about how to use our preferred brand, SpiderTech Tape, watch this video here:

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our trusted clinicians to determine if your injury could benefit from kinesiology tape application!


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