Q: I noticed my favorite basketball player has been wearing black tape over his shooting shoulder to help with an injury. When I play basketball I get pain in my shoulder as well. Is the taping really therapeutic and is it something I could do on my own?
Answer (Meridith Dunford, MSPT):
What you may have seen is called kinesio-tape and it is a recently developed methodology to treat a variety of clinical conditions (sprain, strain) and parts of the body (shoulder, ACL, elbow, knee, back and neck, hand, etc.)
The position and shape of the tape can vary over the different body parts dependent upon what needs to be accomplished. It can be used to decrease motion, for muscular re-education or for swelling reduction. The tape is designed to mimic the skin and requires evaluation and appropriate application from a trained professional initially, but a therapist may be able to teach you and in certain situations you may be able to purchase and apply it yourself.
Whether or not kinesio-tape would be helpful for your shoulder pain will depend upon the specific cause of the pain (bursitis, dislocation, frozen shoulder, strain). An examination and evaluation by a physical therapist with expertise in kinesio-taping can help in identifying the cause and developing an appropriate treatment plan. ■
Q: Is aquatic therapy good for me if I have low back pain?
Answer (Heather Crostic, PTA, Recognition of Advanced Proficiency in Aquatic Physical Therapy):
Aquatic physical therapy is a wonderful treatment method for people with acute and chronic low back pain. The gravity-eliminating property of water makes it a much more comforting environment for you to perform exercises, thus allowing you to exercise more with less pain.
Another great benefit is that exercises in the water are performed in more functional positions, such as standing, squatting or lunge positions. This can help to improve your tolerance to walking and standing activities when outside of the water as well. The joints, including the spine, are supported with the buoyancy of the water which helps to de-compress the painful areas. You are then able to work on stretching and strengthening the core and extremities. ■