Patient compliance is one of the most important aspects of any successful treatment strategy. Asking your patient to be proactive in their care is the best way to not only help them to recover, but to empower them to best understand how they can take better care of themselves in the future. Even the simplest actions such as maintaining proper mechanics or limiting certain movements can make a big difference in overall success of your treatment plan. However, we can’t be with our patients 24/7 to remind them about all of the things they need to be doing. This is where I have found the intervention of kinesiology tape to be beneficial adjunct to the care we can provide.
Lets say for instance that your patient complains of pain between the shoulder blades. We know that with better posture, they would likely not ‘feel the burn’ if they were more aware of their posture while at the computer (assuming this is what the history indicates). Once you have performed your manual therapy and addressed the complaint to their satisfaction, they leave feeling tremendous relief, only to return to the same aggravating activity. Only after they start to ‘feel the burn’ again, do they recall your telling them to pull their shoulders back and sit up taller in the chair. Kinesiology tape can be the early intervention that reminds them before they ‘feel the burn’.
Many people here the term taping and immediately think about strapping something down or holding something in place. When using kinesiology tape in this situation, you would apply the tape in a way that when the patients posture begins to slump into a negative position, the sensory input of the tension on the tape would remind them to “sit up straight”, therefore, engaging the facilitated tissues and inevitably making them stronger over time. If we simply taped their shoulders back, then the tape, not the muscles, would be doing all the work. Over time, through manual therapy and kinesiology taping I have witnessed postural corrections and reductions in pain significantly.
Ask the patient to adopt a position of neutral anatomical alignment. Be certain that they are not overly exaggerating pulling the shoulders back. With the patient in this position, clean the area, measure the tape from the anterior aspect of the shoulder, crossing over the spine around T10-T12 and ending around the 12th rib on the opposite side. You will be utilizing about 50% tape tension, so be certain to account for this when measuring. Repeat the same for the other side. Next, cut a Y-strip, approximately 6 inches, Place the anchor of the Y around T2/3. Take the first tail of the Y-strip and stretch it to 50% tape tension along the spine, ending as close to the occipital ridge, avoiding the hair line. Repeat for the other tail. Note: taping over any hair will create a negative sensory input as well as result in the tape not adhering very well. Prior to ANY movement, you should aggressively rub the heat activated adhesive to ensure good contact.
If you are like most therapists, patient compliance is one of the most frustrating aspects of your job. Consider using kinesiology tape as an adjunct the next time you are looking for more patient compliance.