Kinesio Taping to generate skin convolutions is not better than sham taping for people with chronic non-specific low back pain

This study sought to ascertain whether Kinesio Taping, applied according to the treatment manual to create skin convolutions, reduces pain and disability more than a simple application without convolutions for people with chronic low back pain. A randomised trial with concealed allocation, intention-to-treat analysis and blinded assessment of some outcomes consisting of 148 participants with chronic non-specific low back pain was conducted. Experimental group participants received eight sessions (over four weeks) of Kinesio Taping applied according to the Kinesio Taping Method treatment manual (ie, 10 to 15% tension applied in flexion to create skin convolutions in neutral). Control group participants received eight sessions (over four weeks) of Kinesio Taping with no tension, creating no convolutions. The primary outcome measures were pain intensity and disability after the four-week intervention. Secondary outcomes were pain intensity and disability 12 weeks after randomisation, and global perceived effect at both four and 12 weeks after randomisation. Applying Kinesio Tape to create convolutions in the skin did not significantly change its effect on pain (MD-0.4 points, 95% CI-1.3 to 0.4) or disability (MD-0.3 points, 95% CI-1.9 to 1.3) at four weeks. There was a small difference in favour of the experimental group for the secondary outcome of global perceived effect (MD 1.4 points, 95% CI 0.3 to 2.5) at four weeks. No significant between-group differences were seen for the other secondary outcomes.

This study found Kinesio Taping applied with stretch to generate convolutions in the skin was no more effective than simple application of the tape without tension for the outcomes measured. These results challenge the proposed mechanism of action of this therapy.

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