PLYMOUTH — October is National Physical Therapy month and one of the most common questions heard from patients is "What does taping do and can it help my injury?" There are many kinds of tape used in physical therapy. Some tape is applied to limit motion such as athletic taping, but in physical therapy, tape is used to limit motion, increase motion and decrease swelling depending on its application technique.
Over the course of years as a physical therapist performs manual and exercise therapy interventions, they target the nervous system.
Taping can change the nervous system’s input to the brain about pain, swelling, muscle or joint position and allow it to respond with improved movement in that area. Taping can reduce swelling when applied to the affected area, and visible changes in edema and bruising can be seen. In this case, the tape is lifting the skin to allow the lymphatic system to drain more effectively.
Taping can be left on for up to five days, helping to retain any affect a physical therapist is trying to achieve. It is inexpensive, it can be applied by a patient at home, and few patients report negative side effects from its application.