Over 30 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time!
According to the report Global Burden of Disease (2010) lower back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work and is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
Trigger points may be associated with the majority of cases of back pain, and for many years, Kinesiology tape has been used by therapists treating elite athletes in order to accelerate rehabilitation, and relieve pain between trigger point treatments.
Taping for Trigger Points an Low Back Pain
A study published in 2015 has helped show that the use of taping can offer promising intervention for pain relief, not just for athletes, but just about anyone suffering from back pain.
In this study, 109 subjects with acute low back pain were split into two groups. Both of these groups received the same treatment intervention consisting of information regarding low back pain, lifestyle changes, correct lifting techniques and advice regarding posture and sleeping positions. One of these groups also had kinesiology tape applied to their lower backs - see the video above for more information on taping procedures. The tape was applied 3 times, and was left in place for 4 days on each occasion, to provide a total taped duration of 12 days.
Pain Relief Results
The researchers measured pain on a VAS (Visual Analog Scale), determining that their MCID (minimal clinically important difference) would be a reduction in this score of 3.5cm. In addition they also used the Oswestry score as a measure of disability, and also factored in the number of paracetamol tablets consumed by each of the study's subjects.
The study showed that the VAS had reduced by the pre-determined 3.5cm by the 6th day in the group who had been taped, compared with the 12th day for the control group. The Oswestry score was significantly reduced in the taped group after 12 days (when compared with the control group), and it was still better 4 weeks later although this was at a less statistically significant level. Interestingly, the taped group consumed significantly less paracetamol in days 1-4, and 5-8, compared with the control group, once again showing the potential pain relieving properties of the tape.
This study demonstrates that kinesiology tape could be a good treatment option for those with acute low back pain, adding to the body of knowledge that kinesiology tape can be a useful modality in chronic low back pain. It also demonstrates that taping could be a promising intervention for pain relief, and perhaps lead to less medication use, which would generally be regarded as a desirable outcome.
Stuart Hinds is an NAT therapist and widely recognized for his expertise in working with Elite Athletes. Stuart has played a key role in soft tissue support with the Australian Olympic Team (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012) for over 15 years.
Source: Kelle, B., Guzel, R., & Sakall, H., (2015). The effect of kinesio taping application for acute non-specific low back pain: A randomised controlled clinical trial. Clinical Rehabilitation doi: 10.1177/0269215515603218
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