We all employ a variety of techniques with our patients, and even with people we may not originally have thought of as patients. In almost 20 years as an educator and practicing DC, I have often been asked to share in unexpected areas. Kinesio Taping, or Elastic Therapeutic Taping, has been a valuable tool for me since 1999, and I now have the pleasure of helping to spread its use in my role as a Certified Kinesio Taping® Instructor (CKTI).
Several years ago I was practicing in the Houston area. My daughter attended a private school just north of Houston that had a nationally ranked basketball program. I was a pretty involved parent, and it doesn’t take long for the school to discover which parents have useful skills. I was happy to help whenever I could, to keep the school’s athletes in top form, but more importantly to help the young people get the most possible enjoyment from their high school years.
The head coach asked me to look at one of his best players who was having low back pain. The young man could only play half a game because his low back would tighten up and become painful by halftime. Even so, he was still scoring around 40 points a game, so it was natural for the coach to want him available for the entire game. And we all wanted the kid to feel better!
I adjusted him several times within a few days and applied tape to his low back to relax his muscles and relieve his low back pain. He had pretty classic lower lumber facet joint subluxation and sacroiliac inflammation. His range of motion was limited in flexion and extension.
I treated him with side posture adjustments to the lower back and sacroiliac (SI) joints and then applied tape in a space correction to the lumbosacral area along with an I-O application to the lumbar paraspinal muscles. The space correction helped reduce the edema in the lumbosacral and SI region, while the I-O lumbar muscle application reduced muscle tension and edema in the lumbar paraspinal musculature.
The next game he not only was able to play the whole game without pain, but he scored 102 points. I’m not going to try and take credit for the young man’s basketball skills, but apparently my treatment helped him get to a new level!
There are many individual considerations in developing a treatment and therapeutic taping program for each patient’s needs. The following is a basic elastic therapeutic taping strategy for the lumbar fascia:
With the patient standing in a neutral extension (with the closer arm raised) laterally flex the trunk to the opposite side. Apply the base of the tape “I” strip to the lateral 1/3 of the gluteal muscle bulk, approximately the posterior border of the gluteus medius.
Stabilize the base of the tape and apply downward pressure to increase the tissue tension. Apply the elastic therapeutic tape to the lateral border of the inferior angle of the scapula. Apply a second strip of tape to the other side in the same manner.
With the patient again in a neutral standing position, apply an “x” tape formation to the sacrum. Tear the paper backing away from the central portion of the tape, leaving the backing on the tails.
Holding the piece by the tails, direct the tape obliquely, pull the tape gently (mild tension) and apply the central portion of the tape to the center of the sacrum. Pull both ends of the tape with equal tension away from the central portion and apply the tape to the borders of the vertical pieces that you already applied.
As always, you will want to perform a thorough assessment before choosing your course of treatment for any situation, but elastic therapeutic taping is a great addition to the toolbox!
Dr. Stephen Boyles, DC, CKTI graduated from Parker College of Chiropractic in 1992. He was the team doctor for the Parker College of Chiropractic Olympic Team and worked there for 8 years as an associate professor in the student clinic. Since 2008 Steve has been with Southern Trace and Colony Chiropractic Center in central Florida. He is also certified as a Golf Fitness Professional by Titleist Performance Institute. http://www.southerntracechiropractic.com/ (352) 205-8500