Shoulder impingement syndrome is caused by an injury to the rotator cuff, resulting in inflammation, compression, and reduced blood flow to the affected areas. This may result in the fraying of the tendon tissue within the rotator cuff, associated with intense pain made worse by reaching over the head or behind the back. In advanced cases, holes or tearing can develop in the rotator cuff tendons when improperly treated.
There are many common treatments for this type of injury that are generally recommended by most medical professionals. This regimen includes the application of ice, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications in more extreme cases, and a physical therapy routine that includes exercises designed to allow the shoulder to retain its maximum range of motion and avoid freezing. Exercises are always provided on the recommendation of certified therapists or personal trainers. With the right application, kinesiology taping has been shown to be an added benefit when performing these exercises.
How Can Kinesiology Tape Help Me?
As one of the most versatile flexible tapes available in the athletic market, kinesiology tape is a breathable cloth-based tape, which can be applied to help reduce pain in affected areas of the body and promote muscle support. After application, the tape creates a lifting action through a contraction that pulls the skin away from an inflamed muscle, allowing the muscle more room to move and expand with less opportunity to trigger pain receptors in the skin.
Many have heard of traditional athletic tape and its effectiveness in providing support for injured areas of the body, tending to be a more rigid and less forgiving tape when it comes to movement. While cheaper, it is meant to be entirely supportive, less breathable and not designed to be worn for extended periods of time, as skin irritation and blisters will form with constant rubbing or movement. Kinesiology tape is intentionally more flexible and comfortable as it has a mild flex that follows the body’s movements and lengthens its term of use, making it a more ideal candidate for physical therapy and will generally outperform traditional tapes.
Similar to how a ruler allows you to draw a straight line by providing a guide, correctly applied kinesiology tape will give you a better idea of how to move your body. During exercise, kinesiology tape will allow you to better monitor your posture, coordination and movement limits through physical cues presented through tension. These cues will also allow you to target the particular muscle groups you wish to exercise, while avoiding using others.
The benefits of using kinesiology tape include the potential to decrease your recovery time and provide short-term pain relief. Proper usage also promotes better alignment, and decreases the risk of developing rotator cuff tears or other related injuries.
Balance And Cross Taping
These techniques have a wide variety of uses outside of shoulders, and can be applied to many parts of the body in similar ways. Balance taping involves the application of kinesiology tape over the area of the body in discomfort. The idea is that an area in pain will be treated differently by the individual compared to something that isn’t, and reducing pain will return proper balance to the body. Cross taping involves the use of smaller tape pieces crossed in a grid-like pattern over traditional acupuncture points or areas of high muscle-tone to treat musculoskeletal disorders.
In an article published in the Lithuanian journal Medicina in October 2019, they investigated the combined use of balance and cross taping on a 27-year-old part-time worker with 2-month-old shoulder pain while lifting heavy objects as a normal part of his job. Upon testing range of motion and general sensitivity, the researchers applied kinesiology tape using balance taping techniques to the arm and side, while a cross taping technique was applied to an area on the backside of the neck. Tests were once again performed a week later, and new tape was applied accordingly based on the needs of the patient. This continued for a total of three weeks without any additional treatment for 16 hours a day, with the patient remaining off work during this time.
While the results of this test were very positive and pointed towards a near complete recovery of the patient by the end of the process, one must consider that this is a single test case with measurements based on the opinion of the subject, and the activity level of the subject was not controlled.
Still, the results do show promise in this type of treatment, and should be considered when seeking treatments in conjunction with physical therapy. Consult with your therapist or trainer to see if they could adapt a treatment method that includes balance and cross taping techniques that suit your needs on the path to recovery.
Colin Hegarty is a content writer for BreezeMaxWeb that helps businesses showcase their brand through enticing copy. When he’s not working, you can find him playing net in a local beer league or biking around the city.