Kinesiology Tape In Physical Therapy
Many of us visit a Physical Therapist to help us recover from an injury. We’ve all heard of physical therapy, and you probably have a general idea of what a physical therapist is, but … what really does a physical therapist do?
What is a Physical Therapist?
According to a definition given by the American Physical Therapy Association, “Physical therapists (PTs) are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility - in many cases without expensive surgery and often reducing the need for long-term use of prescription medications and their side effects.”
They do this by working with their injured patients to develop a specific treatment plan using techniques to improve the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function and prevent disability. Physical therapists also design programs to help promote health and activity to prevent the loss of mobility before it happens.
Physical therapy can be the primary care treatment or be used in conjunction with other medical services.
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings: hospitals, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation facilities, homes, schools, hospices, fitness centers, sports training facilities and more.
Who Can Use a Physical Therapist?
Everyone from infants to seniors.
What Services Does A Physical Therapist Provide?
The most common complaints a PT treats are lower back aches, knee pain and overuse injuries. However physical therapy can address a wide range of conditions. A short list of services includes:
- Pain relief
- Improvement of movement or ability
- Prevention or recovery from a sports injury
- Prevention of disability or need for surgery
- Rehabilitation after a stroke, accident, injury, or surgery
- Improvement of balance to prevent a slip or fall
- Management of a chronic illness like diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis
- Recovery after birth
- Improved control of bowels or bladder
- Adaptation to an artificial limb
- Education on how to use assistive devices like a walker or cane
- Putting on a splint or brace
What Kind of Therapies Are Used?
A physical therapist has many tools with which to help the patient recover. A thorough examination helps determine which are most appropriate for handling a particular condition. Pain relief will be key, but the PT will also address the root cause of the problem. Some tools include:
- Exercise or stretches
- Heat or cold therapy
- Warm water therapy
- Ultrasound or laser therapy
- Electrical stimulation
Where Does Kinesiology Tape Fit In?
Kinesiology tape is used by many physical therapists because it has been shown to:
- change the proprioception input of the sensory nervous system in the muscles, joints and skin. Proprioception is the medical term that describes the ability to sense the orientation of your body in the environment. This can become impaired if you are injured. Applying the tape improves this perception so that the body maintains correct posture and position.
- improve blood circulation to the skin by providing continuous stimulation to the skin and the underlying tissues.
- improve lymphatic drainage by lifting the skin, thereby creating space between it and the muscle, relieving pressure on the lymph channels and allowing for better lymph flow. This will result in decreased swelling.
- provide pain relief by stimulating the skin receptors as well as taking pressure off the nerve receptors when the skin is lifted.
It is important to note that kinesiology tape is used in conjunction with other therapies. While it doesn’t treat the root of the condition, it is a wonderful support that helps speed recovery and make it less painful. It can also be used to support your body as you learn new ways to move or work it out. Your physical therapist can teach you how to apply the tape for maximum benefit.