You may have seen Olympic athletes wearing brightly-colored tape on seemingly random body parts. You know it’s probably not a fashion statement – so what is it?

Kinesiology tape (KT) is become a phenomenon among athletes, and us regular people too. It was invented in the 1970s by a Japanese chiropractor, Dr. Kenzo Kase. Kinesiology tapemakes many health claims: reduced pain, less inflammation, enhanced performance, and supporting muscles during activity.

Kinesio tape is believed by many to have medical benefits, and athletes put it on sore shoulders, knees, back, and so on. However, a review of scientific papers done by Sports Medicine found that there are no clinically important results found to support the tape’s use for pain relief. Overall, it found there was little evidence to support the use of Kinesio tape, and it’s possible there is a placebo effect.

The review concluded, “there was little quality evidence to support the use of KT over other types of elastic taping in the management or prevention of sports injuries. KT may have a small beneficial role in improving strength, range of motion in certain injured cohorts and force sense error compared with other tapes, but further studies are needed to confirm these findings.”

John Brewer, head of sports and exercise science at the University of Bedfordshire said if athletes think the tape will help support their muscles, that can boost their confidence. “I think if you can get somebody in the right frame of mind, then that can make a big difference on what they do,” said Brewer.

There is also anecdotal evidence, which Brewer acknowledges. Some studies have actually shown improvement in patients after using kinesio tape – though of course it’s possible that it is the placebo effect.

Kinesio Tape for Back Pain

Although overall evidence is inconclusive, one study found that Kinesio tape helped people suffering from lower back pain. The study, published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, examined the effect of kinesiology tape on people with chronic lower back pain. The study concluded, “Kinesio tape applied to chronic low back pain (CLBP) patients reduced their pain and positively affected their anticipatory postural control…”

It is possible that kinesio tape can ease lower back pain. Though it has not been proven to help with sports injuries or pain, it cannot hurt to try. It is a noninvasive treatment that can be done at home.

If you are experiencing back pain, contact us. Or call our dedicated Medical Concierge at 800-890-1964 to learn more.