As you may recall from our intro post on kinesiology taping, we’re going to focus on each muscle group/joint and show you how to use kinesiology tape in three distinct ways:
- Immediately after injury (for swelling and pain)
- During the healing process (correction techniques to restore normal position and allow for healing)
- Techniques to help improve strength + function
In this post, we’ re going to be talking about a taping application designed to decrease the amount of pull along the muscles that run parallel to the lumbar spine. This is perfect following a muscle strain to provide support and allow for rest so that the injured muscle/tendon can heal.
The large muscles that make the lumbar spine move are actually organized into three separate layers. The first layer is the deepest (closest to the bone) and the third layer is the most superficial. As you can see from the pictures above, some of the muscles within these layers move in a vertical direction, parallel to the spine while others travel diagonally to or away from the spine. For this taping application we are focusing on the muscles that run in the vertical direction. They all share a common insertion point at the base of the spine on the PSIS (aka the posterior superior iliac spine, aka the “dimples” at the bottom or spine where the vertebrae attach to the pelvic bones).
Before we get to the application itself, it is important that you can locate the PSIS on yourself. To find it, you’re going to start with your hands on top of your hip bones so that your thumb is pointing towards your back and your fingers are pointing forwards towards your stomach. As you reach behind with your thumbs, you’re looking for two small bumps on either side of your spine. Visually, you can see them. They are the two “dimples” at the small of your back.
You can read more about the anatomy in this area and find palpation tips here.
What you will need:
1) Roll of kinesiology tape.
2) Sharpest scissors in the house.
1) Clean skin. This means no oils or lotions of any kind. You want your skin to be clean and more importantly dry. Moisture of any kind = tape will fall off or fail to stick altogether.
2) Hair care. Ideally, the less hair the better. Guys, this means that for best results you will need to trim any long leg hair or shave the calf area.
3) If clean, dry, and hairless skin still = no sticking of tape. Time to get some adhesive spray like Tuf Skin.
4) The tape should last 3-5 days. You can get it wet and shower with it on. Just towel dry it after. No hair dryer! The tape is heat activated.
1) Low back application with correction strip.
- Prep the skin first. For this application you will want to put the back extensor muscles on stretch. To do this, start in a seated position with your feet on the floor. Then simply bend forward in your seat as far as you can comfortably.
- There will be two primary strips that run up the back parallel to the spine. Each will be anchored at or just below the PSIS where the muscles share a common insertion point. From here, move into the stretch position and then apply the tape. The tape works by pulling on itself and you have already put the muscle on stretch to do the work for you. If you are unable to move the muscle into this position, you may add a small amount of stretch to the tape.
- A secondary correction strip can be applied horizontally across the low back. If you have a sore area in the low back, you want this strip to cover it! Cut the tape so that it is long enough to cover both vertical strips with 1-2″ of tape on either side (these are your anchors and must be applied without stretch). Round the edges, apply 50-75% stretch and place the tape. Then remove the paper backing and lay down the ends. Don’t sweat the 50-75%. Think medium stretch versus maximum “how far can I pull this tape” kind of stretch.
- When the tape application is complete you will have three strips of tape, 2 vertical and 1 horizontal.
1) Capobianco, Dr. Steven and van den Dries, Greg. (2009). Power Taping, 2nd Edition, Rock Tape Inc, Los Gatos, CA.
2) Hammer, Warren. (2007). Functional Soft-Tissue Examination and Treatment by Manual Methods, 3rd edition. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc, Sudbury, MA.
3) Kase, Kenzo, Wallis, Jim, and Kase, Tsuyoshi. (2003). Clinical Therapeutic Applications of the Kinesio Taping Method.
4) Muscolino, Joseph. (2009). The Muscle and Bone Palpation Manual. Mosby, Inc, St. Louis, MO.