Short-Term Effect of Kinesio Taping Versus Cervical Thrust Manipulation in Patients with Mechanical Neck Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial.
Saavedra-Hernández M, Castro-Sánchez AM, Arroyo-Morales M, Cleland JA, Lara-Palomo IC, and Fernández-de-las-Penas. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2012;42(8):724-730.
Mechanical neck pain is a common ailment which can affect as much as 33% of the population. While manual therapy is often performed, a gold standard for managing mechanical neck pain has yet to be determined. Also supported for managing mechanical neck pain is the use of Kinesio Tape, although there is limited evidence to support this. Therefore, Saavedra-Hernández and colleagues completed a randomized clinical trial comparing manual therapy to Kinesio Taping. The primary outcomes measured were neck pain intensity, disability, and cervical range of motion. A total of 93 patients were screened for eligibility. Participants were excluded if the following criteria were met: a) contraindication to neck manipulation, b) history of whiplash, c) history of cervical surgery, d) diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy or myelopathy, e) diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome, f) previous spinal manipulation therapy or Kinesio Tape therapy, h) tape allergies, and i) younger than 18 or older than 55 years old. Thirteen participants were excluded from the study leaving 80 to undergo baseline testing. Baseline testing was comprised of completing demographic and clinical information, numeric pain rating scale, the Neck Disability Index, and a body diagram to assess the location and distribution of pain. Participants were then randomly allocated to a “tape group” or “manipulation group”. The person performing the assessments was blinded to what group participants were assigned to and the participants were not told what their treatment was being compared to. Participants in the tape group received a “Y” strip placed over the posterior cervical extensor muscles with an overlying strip placed perpendicular to the “Y” strip over the midcervical region. Participants wore the tape for the duration of the study (7 days). Participants in the manipulation group received 2 separate cervical thrust manipulations. One directed at the midcervical spine (C3) and the other at the cervicothoracic junction (C7-T1). Participants (n = 76) returned for follow-up 7 days post-intervention where all tests from baseline were repeated. Overall, both Kinesio Tape and cervical thrust manipulation resulted in similar reduction in neck pain, which was considered clinically meaningful. Both therapies also increased cervical range of motion although the changes were small and not clinically relevant.
This study presents an interesting look at reducing pain in patients with mechanical neck pain. While cervical thrust manipulations may be the more common treatment, Kinesio Tape may also be considered as a comparable treatment option. While both methods appeared to show similar analgesic abilities, one should approach this with caution. During follow-up, 5 participants reported adverse reactions to their treatment. Three of these participants were in the manipulation group and reported increase in neck pain or fatigue after manipulation. The 2 participants in the tape group that reported adverse reactions described cutaneous irritation. Perhaps if both treatments elicit similar analgesic abilities Kinesio Tape could be the more beneficial treatment because it does not cause as many, or as severe, adverse reactions as cervical spine manipulation. Tell us what you think. Have you used either of these treatments to treat mechanical neck pain? If so, have your patients expressed any preferences or adverse reactions to the treatment?
Written by: Kyle Harris
Reviewed by: Jeffrey Driban
Saavedra-Hernández M, Castro-Sánchez AM, Arroyo-Morales M, Cleland JA, Lara-Palomo IC, & Fernández-de-Las-Peñas C (2012). Short-Term Effects of Kinesiotaping Versus Cervical Thrust Manipulation in Patients With Mechanical Neck Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial. The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy PMID: 22523090