How do you apply kinesiology tape for back pain and/or a herniated disc?

The more important question to answer, before looking at specific treatment options, is how sure are you of your diagnosis of a disc injury? 

Remember that in those individuals suffering with back pain, 80-95% of the time it is non-specific back pain. That is, the pain cannot be directly attached to any specific anatomical issue. 

You can only be certain you have a disc bulge or herniation with an MRI, and doctors typically will not order imaging such as this unless they believe that your back pain is caused by something serious and that the answer from the imaging will change your management plan. 

There is no scientific research to suggest that using kinesiology tape is effective for healing a disc bulge injury. It is important to know that disc bulges are actually very common in the general population, in fact a lot of people without pain have them. Remember that a disc bulge, verified by an MRI, does not have to mean that you have pain, or that it’s the single source of your pain. Nor does it mean that you necessarily need surgery or that it will never go away. You can get better with the right line of care, but kinesiology taping, will probably not be the big difference maker. There is not any evidence that supports this, nor is there any biological plausible explanation that this would work.

If you have back pain have faith, whether or not you have a disc bulge, that staying active with low-impact activities, and focusing on strengthening activities that will enable you to build the intensity and load over time (have a read of this blog post for more info), will gradually decrease your pain.

Remember that two thirds of all disc herniations spontaneously resolve with time, and exercise and physical activity actually strengthens the discs!

Andreas Hessner
andreas@reachactive.co

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