2 simple Kinesio taping for herniated disc pain relief last up to 72 hours - Be My Healer
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By Sophie Xie / September 17, 2016

2 simple Kinesio taping technique for herniated disc pain relief

taping for herniated disc pain relief

This post is a step-by-step guide for applying Kinesio taping for herniated disc injury with the help of someone you trust. Recovery from an acute herniated disc injury is frustrating. It takes weeks, even months, for the pain to gradually go away. At the mean time, you must get through your busy days with a lousy ache in your back.

Most people found a lumbar brace to be restricting, uncomfortable and annoying when they move around. These braces can also be bulky underneath your cloth. 

Kinesio Tape, or sports tape, can provide discreet protection and pain relief for a painful segment or sore muscles for up to 72 hours. If you have some busy days coming up, it's good to be prepared. 

A little about the tape

The most well know tapes are Kinesio tapes. The commonly used brand used in the most professional settings, such as physical therapy clinic, sports medicine clinic, or chiropractor clinic, is the original Kinesio Tex founded by the original inventor of kinesiology taping Dr. Kenso.

Over the years, other large brands of sports tapes with similar qualities are also available in the markets. Among them, KT tape has become the easiest accessible sports tape to the mass public, available in local drug stores.

Despite being highly effective, sports taping can get expensive really fast. To keep my families' taping cost in control, I bought some knock-off brand Kinesio tapes. To my surprise, they work just as great, with equivalent stretchiness and adhesiveness with the actual Kinesio Tex costing only half of their price. It is definitely worth a try. If you experience quality issues with these new or knockoff brand tapes, please leave me comments so that I can take off this recommendation.

Basic taping techniques

Clean your skin before applying any tapes to make sure that each tape will stay on as long as possible. Lotion, sun block or sweat can diminish the tape's adhesive ability. Body hair is another issue some people need to consider addressing if applying tapes repetitively for recovery or sports performance.

There are four things to remember when DIY Kinesio taping for any body parts.

kinesio tape rounded corner
  • Round the corners - if you do not wish to re-apply the tapes every couple of hours, you want to take a few seconds to cut the corners off. Sharp edges tend to get caught on cloth or in action, causing the entire piece of tape to peel off prematurely. (Some brands sell precut pieces with already rounded corners for higher price.)
  • Tear the paper 1-2 inches away from each end- You can tear the paper easily without damaging the tape itself. Once you made two tears, one close to each end of the tape, you have separated the paper side to three portions - the large middle portions and two smaller pieces to the side.
kinesio tape tear paper
  • Stretch the larger middle portion - Once you are ready for the tape to go on, peel off the middle paper protection and hold the tape by the two ends where the paper is still in place. Stretch the tape fully to 100% and release some. Then lay down the tape, while stretched, over the injured body part.
stretch Kinesio tape
  • Leave 1-2 inches of an unstretched anchor on each end - The magic of the Kinesio tapes are largely related to the stretchiness of the tape. However, the two ends of each tape should be laid down flat to help the tape stay in place.

The star tape

The star tape is a highly popular and effective "spot remover" taping technique for the lower back or lumbar spine. For those suffering from herniated disc pain, you pain spot is more likely to be isolated to one segment and slightly to either side.

You are not likely able to perform this taping by yourself. You need a helper for this one.

Pain Pattern:

  • Isolated pain over one spot or one segment of the lower back  
  • Pain intensity changes based on movement or body position
  • Sharp pain when you move a certain way

Body position for taping:

Most common position for the star tape is seated with a good posture. However, if you have a position (such as lying on stomach, bend forward, bend side way...) that lessens your lower back pain, you should get taped in that position.

Step one:

Patient: Assume the taping position with your shirt pulled and tucked up and pants pulled down slightly, revealing the entire lower back region. Clean the area with a moist towel, then a dry towel, to rid of skin oil, sweat or any lotion. Point to the painful spot or segment in your lower back so that your helper will know where to focus. The reminder of your job is to stay still.

Helper: You can mentally remember the painful spot. However, if this is your first rodeo, it will be much easier and relaxed if you mark the spot with a marker or ball pen (something washable, unless you are a frienemy with this person).

Step two:

Helper: Prepare 4 pieces Kinesiotape, each 5 inches long. Round the corners and prepare the anchors by tearing the paper side about an inch and half from each end.

star tape lumbar herniated disc step 2

Step three:

Helper: Take the first tape, remove the paper protector of the middle section. Stretch the tape fully and place it horizontally on the skin with the painful spot in the middle. Lay down the anchor ends with no stretch.

star tape lumbar herniated disc step 3

Step four:

Helper: Take the second tape. Stretch the tape fully and place it vertically on the skin with the painful spot or segment in the middle. Lay down the anchor ends with no stretch.

star tape lumbar herniated disc step 4

Step five:

Helper: Take the third tape. Stretch the tape fully and place it diagonally on the skin with the painful spot or segment in the middle. Lay down the anchor ends with no stretch.

star tape lumbar herniated disc step 5

Step six:

Helper: Take the third tape. Stretch the tape fully and place it diagonally the other way on the skin with the painful spot or segment in the middle. Lay down the anchor ends with no stretch.

star tape lumbar herniated disc step 6

Before you are completely through with this taping, make sure to rub all the taped area thoroughly and nicely, for heat activate the tape's adhesive ability.

Note: the tape will stay on anywhere from a few hours to a week depends on the nature of each individual's skin, body type, and activity level. Leaving the tape one for over 72 hours may cause skin irritations. Thus it is recommended to tape it off gently even if the tape has not started peeling on its own. 

Other reasons you should remove the tape immediately are increased pain and itching underneath the skin. If you had a skin reaction to tape before, or that you tried this taping pattern and experienced no pain relief, you should not try this again.

Here is a video by KT tape, explaining the same technique:

The Paraspinals Release Tape

The muscle groups along the spine, helping to keep the spine erect and mobile, are collectively called the paraspinal muscles. When you sustain an injury in your spine, such as the acute herniated disc injury, the paraspinal muscles will become hyperactive or spasm. 

The taping pattern is targeting this massive muscle group, help these muscles to relax.

You are not likely able to perform this taping by yourself. You need a helper for this one.

Pain pattern:

  • spread out stiffness, tension, and soreness along the spine, usually in the mid back, higher than the herniated segment.
  • Pain intensify over a period of time due to increased bending or activities

Taping position

seating with back rounded for lower back kinesio taping

​In order to take full advantage of this taping, the patient should round his or her back as much as possible. You can slouch forward while seating, or assume prayer stretch position with back rounded.

​Step one

Patient: Assume the taping position with your shirt pulled and tucked up revealing the entire lower back region. Point to the painful region in your lower back so that your helper will know where to focus. The reminder of your job is to stay still.

Helper: Clean the area with a moist towel, then a dry towel, to rid of skin oil, sweat or any lotion. Note the size of the painful area. If the patient is slim or the painful area is small, prepare two pieces of Kinesio tapes. However, if the patient is larger in size or the soreness is widespread, prepare 4 pieces od Kinesio tapes. Each piece of tape should be long enough to cover the entire length of the painful or sore area in the back. Last but not least, make sure the ends of each tape are rounded.

parapsinal release tape for herniated disc 1

Step two

Helper: Remind the patient to keep his or her back as rounded or slouched as possible. Peel off the paper protection from the tape, lay two pieces of tapes long the muscle groups on each side of the spine where the pain and soreness are felt by the patient. IMPORTANT: the tapes in this particular technique should NOT be stretched at all. Simply lay the tape over the skin.

paraspinal release tape for herniated disc step 2

Step three

Helper: If you have prepared 4 tapes, the last two tapes goes on the outer side of the first two tapes with same techniques.

Before you are completely through with this taping, make sure to rub all the taped area thoroughly and nicely, for heat activate the tape's adhesive ability.

paraspinal release for herniated disc step 3

Here is a video showing you a similar tape done in prayer position. The last horizontal tape also helps to stabilize painful lower back segments.

Note: the tape will stay on anywhere from a few hours to a week depends on the nature of each individual's skin, body type, and activity level. Leaving the tape one for over 72 hours may cause skin irritations. Thus it is recommended to tape it off gently even if the tape has not started peeling on its own. 

Other reasons you should remove the tape immediately are increased pain and itching underneath the skin. If you had a skin reaction to tape before, or that you tried this taping pattern and experienced no pain relief, you should not try this again.

Recommended readings:

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