Neuro-Proprioceptive taping is a relatively new technique sometimes used in physical therapy treatment. It takes advantage of the physiological effects of taping using a special kind of tape called k-tape. This technique and its basic principals of application are known by many names including Kinesio-taping, K-taping, Cure-tape, Fysio-tape, Medi-taping, and Kinesio-Italia.
Taping is thought to have more of a neuro-physiological effect versus a actual mechanical effect on tissues. K-tape can benefit patients due to increased proprioception and increased postural stability. Taping can also affect blood circulation to the area by providing continuous stimulation to the skin and subcutaneous tissues.
When we have a sore area what do we do? Generally we rub it. The tactile pressure and stimulation of the receptors in our skin make us feel better. The tape provides gentle tissue-sheering all day therefore providing a beneficial analgesic effect on the area. In addition, the tape gives us feedback to prevent painful and/or improper posturing. Tape can also be used to facilitate a muscle, inhibit a muscle or provide structural support to the joint.
Depending on the goal of the physical therapist, k-tape will be applied with a muscle in a stretched or shortened position, and different tension is applied on the tape during application. Many areas or body parts can be treated effectively with this tape. Taping an unstable ankle can increase reaction time (peroneus muscles) and help with rehabilitation and prevention of re-injury.
Patellar taping can be an effective treatment for patellofemoral pain. It is mainly used in the acute stage of the injury. The taping does not treat the cause of the problem. Rehabilitation of the muscles and structures around the knee are the most important and effective techniques to prevent the injury from recurring.
Taping a shoulder can help with posture correction and awareness. The tape can help facilitate or inhibit muscles as deemed necessary by the therapist. The stretchy qualities of the tape will allow full range of motion and stimulate proprioceptive rehabilitation of weak muscles.
Back pain can also be effectively treated using this taping technique. Tape can provide an analgesic effect by stimulation of receptors in the skin as well as helping the client by providing feedback when the client goes into a poor position or incorrect posture. The tape can inhibit over-reactive muscles causing us pain including levator scapulae, trapezius, paraspinal and erector spinae muscles.
The specific tape used in this taping technique is Leukotape K or k-tape. Leukotape K has many special qualities that make it very effective. The tape is made of elastic polymer surrounded by cotton. It has 30-40% longitudinal stretch, no horizontal stretch, elastic properties efficient for 3-5 days, latex free and is water-resistant, yet allows sweat evacuation. Neuro-proprioceptive taping can be a very effective tool to help with the treatment of pain and provide other neuro-physiological effects. It is an easy technique to learn and often produces great results.