Neck Pain

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:

  1. Immediately after injury  (for swelling and pain)
  2. During the healing process (correction techniques to restore normal position and allow for healing)
  3. 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 cervical spine (aka your neck). This is perfect following a muscle strain to provide support and allow for rest so that the injured muscle/tendon can heal.

Anatomy

Like the low back, the muscles of the neck are arranged in layers and run in multiple directions (towards the spine, parallel to, away from the spine, etc). The big take away here is that the muscles start lower and then run UP the spine. When they contract they can then pull the head towards that start point. This allows for all kinds of little movements from tilts, side-bends and rotation. It also opens the door for potential injury.

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.

Prep work:

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. ;)

Taping Techniques

1) Neck application with correction strip.

Key Points:

  • Prep the skin first. For this application you will want to put the neck muscles on stretch. To do this, start in a seated position with your feet on the floor. Then simply bend your neck forward like you are trying to touch your chin to your chest. Only go as far as you can comfortably!
  • There will be two primary strips that run up the neck parallel to the spine. Each will be anchored at or just below the inside corner of the shoulder blade. 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. Remember- start by placing the anchor (last 1-2 inches of tape), move into the stretch position, and then lay down the rest of the strip.
  • A secondary correction strip can be applied horizontally across the base of the neck. If you have a sore area, 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.
  • For further instructions on how to incorporate kinesiology taping into your self treatment regimen click here.

References

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.