This is a look at a popular form of taping using in the PT profession. This was popularized in the Summer Olympics years ago and has increased in usage in the PT profession, regardless of what the evidence states.
- “Low back pain is a significant public health problem that affects approximately 39% of individuals worldwide at some point in their lifetime”
This is like beating a drum. If you follow the blog, I have written many times over the year regarding how expensive back pain is in the developed countries. One aspect that surprises me is how low this number actually is. In other articles, it talks about the lifetime prevalence rate between 70-80%. I would have to surmise that “worldwide” changes this number. I don’t have the reason why, but I have my guesses. I would guess that those “undeveloped” countries are spending less time on their kiester and more time either in a deep squat or standing position.
- “Several interventions commonly used by physical therapists, such as manual therapy techniques and exercises, are endorsed in most guidelines as effective treatments for patients with low back pain…”
Moving is better than not moving (in most cases). It’s funny because when I was a personal trainer (many, many years ago) I used to think of Physical Therapists as overpaid personal trainers. I completely disagree…sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, there are some PT’s that only prescribe 3 sets of 10 repetitions because it is traditional and for those PT’s I would agree that they are overpaid personal trainers. When prescribing exercise, we always have to think; “what’s the goal”. If the goal is pain reduction, than 3 sets of 10 may not be appropriate. If the goal is absolute strength or power or endurance, then 3 sets of 10 may not be appropriate. If the goal is hypertrophy…you got me…it may be appropriate for some patients for some muscle groups. In the end, 3 sets of 10 for everyone is no better than 3 sets of 5.
This isn’t meant to blast the PT profession, but if you are being treated in PT…Look around! If you are doing the same exercises as everyone else, then you have to question whether you are exactly like everyone else?
- “Kinesio Taping method was introduced at the Olympic Games in Athens and has since gained in popularity”
We have seen these tapes for the most part. The colorful tape worn on shoulders or backs of athletes. In the summer games, especially for women’s volleyball (I’m sure other sports have them, I just seem to watch more of this than anything else except for weightlifting), these colorful tapes are apparent. I use the tape, not for the reason indicated, but it makes for a great thumb wrap when using the hook grip in weightlifting.
- “The evidence of the benefits that Kinesio Taping can provide for patients with chronic low back pain is still scarce”
I could sell a cup of water to a drowning person in the ocean. I could easily sell Kinesio taping to my patients and others in the athletic arena, but I have yet to read a well-performed study that shows it is better than not using Kinesio tape. It’s the modern day ultrasound…It works until it doesn’t.
- “There is no current evidence to support the use of this method.”
This is not to say that it doesn’t work…yet, but of the studies performed thus far…it doesn’t work. One of two things will happen over time: 1. The company(ies) that sell the tape will continue to publish their own case studies to show the efficacy and/or 2. The peer reviewed journals will stop publishing all of the negative studies because academia will stop performing studies that consistently give the same results.
- “…the objective of this randomized controlled trial was to compare the effectiveness of adding Kinesio Taping to a physical therapy program in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain.”
This is a well-performed study. Randomized doesn’t mean that the study is done randomly or half-assed, but the people in the study (guinea pigs) are separated in a scientific manner.
6a. Misc: There is a bunch of instructions for how the study was actually performed in the Methods. This is boring to the non-medical reader, and sometimes boring for those of us that read research. I will spare you the details. Just know that the study is well-performed.
- “The group that received physical therapy plus Kinesio Taping had the elastic tape applied to the lower back at the end of the sessions”
Essentially, if the tape is to provide greater benefit than exercise alone, this group should outperform the exercise-alone group in the data measured.
- “The corresponding author is certified by the Kinesio Taping Association International and provided training to the therapists on how to apply the Kinesio Tape”
This is important. If there is a method to perform on a patient, but the participating therapists are not certified in the method, then it could be that the practitioner doesn’t know the method well enough to perform the method. Since at least one of the authors is certified, it would make this a moot point.
- “After 5 weeks of treatment, the between-group comparisons showed no advantage of using Kinesio Taping in these patients for all primary outcomes…the addition of Kinesio Taping to physical therapy did not enhance treatment outcomes at any point in time.”
Crickets chirping………….Enough said.
- “Our data corroborate the results of 3 previous randomized controlled trials that do not support the application of Kinesio Taping in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain.”
This means that if you want to tape your thumbs in order to lift weights, then go ahead, but using this type of tape (there are many different manufacturers of this type of tape) for back pain may not be ideal.
QUOTES TAKEN FROM: (Also, the initials of the first author is actually MAN, that’s awesome)
Added MAN, Costa LOP, De Freitas DG, et al. Kinesio Taping Does Not Provide Additional Benefits in Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain Who Receive Exercise and Manual Therapy: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2016;46(7):506-513.