Kinesiology tape may be as effective for shoulder pain as the traditionally used sub-acromial injection, according to a recent article published by Clinical Rheumatology. A group of Turkish researchers looked at 70 patients with anterolateral shoulder pain, which they diagnosed with “Sub-acromial Impingement Syndrome”, for which many people are prescribed an injection to help settle the pain. In this study, they divided the subjects evenly into a group that had a traditional injection, and a group that had kinesiology tape applied for three weeks (five days on, two off repeated three times). Both groups were also given identical exercises aimed at stretching and strengthening the muscles around the shoulder. The study measured the subjects’ pain via a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), their range of motion (ROM) and used the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index outcome measure (SPADI). This was done at baseline, at one month, and at three months.
Both groups showed significant improvements from baseline at both one and three months for all measures- pain, ROM and SPADI. This prompted the authors to state that kinesiology taping could be just as effective as injection therapy in shoulder pain management. However, they also correctly point out that given both groups completed the exercise program, it could be the exercise therapy alone that gave the benefit, regardless of the additional tape or injection that these people had. In line with our philosophy at Rocktape, I would argue that the exercise therapy is the imperative intervention in shoulder pain, however taping is a useful adjunct and a much cheaper, less invasive procedure than injection, so should be our first line adjunct for this population.
Subasi, V., Cakir, T., Arica, Z., Sarier, R.N., Filiz, M.B., Dogan, K.D. & Toraman, N.F.,(2014). Comparison of efficacy of kinesiological taping and sub-acromial injection therapy in sub-acromial impingement syndrome. Clinical Rheumatology doi 10.1007/s10067-014-2824-7