How Therapeutic Tape Can Help Your Body Heal

Health Minute     Spring 2019

You don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy the benefits of therapeutic tape. “The primary reason people use it is for performance,” said JD McCoy, DC, a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician® with Premier Orthopedics who practices with Premier Physician Network. “But I use it to help the healing process after I have made chiropractic adjustments to patients. Adjustments can create sore muscles from stretched tissue, but the use of K Tape can help alleviate that.”

Kinesiology tape, or K Tape, was invented by a Japanese doctor and first debuted by athletes with the Japanese national volleyball team in 1989. This original K Tape was made for athletic performance, but over the years its use has expanded. The therapeutic tape can now be purchased under various names – such as Rock Tape, KT Tape and MuscleAid Tape – and in lots of colors.

Because K Tape improves blood flow where the tape is placed, it increases oxygen and decreases inflammation and swelling. The tape can also be used to increase lymphatic drainage. Muscles that work hard create lactic acid build up, but the use of K tape can help reroute that drainage faster. K Tape also has the ability to slightly lift skin, which can offer extra space needed for swollen muscles.

“Everybody who comes into my office gets K Tape,” Dr. McCoy said. “In the first community in which I practiced medicine, there was a joke around town that if someone was wearing a strip of K Tape they knew they had been to my office.” 

Dr. McCoy has seen how K Tape can speed recovery. If he adjusts your lower back, for instance, he places one strip of K Tape up one side of the back and another on the other side for the postural muscles. He adds a third strip across the sacroiliac joint for added support. “When we started to use K Tape on people who were not engaged in athletics, we noticed we could shave off two appointments in their overall therapy schedule because they were recovering faster,” Dr. McCoy said. “That’s a really big deal.”

Dr. McCoy recommends you consider the following before buying your own K Tape:

  • Get a diagnosis – K Tape is readily available, but don’t be too quick to grab a roll. Chances are you are dealing with an injury or pain that may first need a diagnosis. Find out from a doctor why you have the pain in the first place. Using K Tape without a diagnosis may just mask a bigger problem, allowing you to continue in an activity when your body may need rest.
  • Remember its purpose – K Tape was created to aid healing, not to create stability. Use athletic tape if you need a more secure ankle, and consider K Tape if you need to alleviate pain from an arthritic knee.
  • Create a limit – Don’t continue to tape or engage in activity for more than a couple of days. Pain that persists should be evaluated immediately.

For more information on therapeutic tape, talk with your doctor or visit us online to find a physician.