First developed in 1973 by Chiropractic Dr. Kenzo Kase, Kinesio tape is a specially designed elastic tape. The original brand of Kinesio tape is made of 100% cotton, (no latex), with a wave pattern woven into the cloth to mimic fingerprints while the original concept was to assist the practitioner in the carryover of a treatment. In other words, it works to continually manipulate soft tissues, activate or inhibit muscles to ensure proper muscle firing patterns and alignment of a joint, treat swelling/lymphedema, and decrease both acute and chronic pain after the clinical appointment.
Proper application will not cause any skin irritation and should provide immediate relief to some degree. It can be used for a multitude of conditions such as: frozen shoulder, shoulder impingement/rotator cuff pathologies, thoracic outlet syndrome, low back pain, sacroiliac dysfunction and pain, patellar (knee cap) dysfunction, hamstring strains, achilles tendonosis, plantar fascitis, TMJ, headaches, whiplash, cervical and lumbar radiculopathy, ACL/MCL injuries, and chronic lymphedema, just to name a few.
Kinesio tape is particularly helpful with shoulder pain and dysfunction. The shoulder is vulnerable to muscle imbalances and requires the proper muscle firing pattern to assist it in not only dynamic movement, but static posture as well. Having Kinesio tape as an assistive modality helps to speed up the rehab of a shoulder injury.
Kinesio tape must be applied in a specific way with the proper tension, direction, and cut of tape in order to be effective. To go along with this, it takes a skilled clinician to make a proper tissue-specific diagnosis and to decide which technique is appropriate to assist in the corrections made through skilled manual therapy, (including dry needling and joint mobilizations), movement analysis, and individualized exercise programs. And, while there may be success when randomly applied, chances are skin irritation will develop and outcomes won't be as dramatic.
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