Kinesiology Tape for Back Pain

Kinesiology tape offers an easy method of back pain relief. Learn how it works and a few methods of application.


Back pain is a very common and frustrating condition, too often treated with painkillers alone. Kinesiology tape for back pain is effective in several studies.

Those colorful tapes you often see athletes wearing are called kinesiology tapes. More than just an athletic performance aid, K tape is also used to treat plantar fasciitis, sciatica, arthritis, and back pain.

The application of non-invasive kinesiology tape on the lower back proved to reduce pain and improve the range of motion for weeks. You can learn how to tape your back for lower back pain.

Symptoms of Back Pain

Back pain can range from aching muscles to burning or shooting sensations in the back. In some cases, back pain may further radiate down the leg or worsen with movement such as standing, walking, or bending.

The symptoms of lower back pain may occur suddenly after an event, such as bending over to pick something up or overreaching. Low back pain symptoms may also appear gradually over time, especially in individuals over 30, overweight or obese, and living mostly sedentary lifestyles. 

Lower back pain may be felt on the left or right side of the spine, in the center of the lower spine, and at the top of the pelvis. Other back pain can occur in the upper or middle back or ribs.

You may also experience back pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion, or muscle spasms. Back pain can dramatically reduce the quality of life in more severe cases and lead to missed work days.

Causes of Back Pain

Back pain is often related to overuse, injury, muscle strain, or mechanical conditions like spinal disc disease. Misalignment of the hips or spine can cause lower back pain.

Low back pain is a common complaint due to prolonged standing or sitting. It occurs more often in aging patients but may also be caused by sports injuries in patients of any age.

Bad posture can be another cause of back pain, and it causes stress on the joints and may aggravate arthritis.

Back pain can be more challenging to treat than pain in other body areas. Low back pain can sometimes become debilitating for the patient.

In the case of minor back pain or muscle strain, kinesiology tape, or K tape, may provide relief.

How Kinesiology Tape Can Help Back Pain

If you’re struggling with back pain, kinesiology tape may be the solution your back needs.

Also known as Kinesio tape, or K tape for short, kinesiology tape is an elastic therapeutic tape used to support muscles and joints. Kinesiology tape has been used for decades in clinical settings and has become increasingly popular as viewers observe high-profile Olympic athletes using sports tapes.

Rather than restricting movement the way regular athletic tape does, kinesiology tape supports the movement of joints while supporting muscles. K tape differs from athletic tape as it is made of elastic reinforced cotton with a wave pattern designed to help reduce swelling and improve circulation.

When appropriately used, kinesiology tape can immediately relieve musculoskeletal pain and allow the body to return to normal function. Studies have shown that kinesiology tape is most effective for back pain when used conjunctively with other forms of physical therapy and pain management.

A 2014 study found that kinesiology tape can help restore good posture and relieve related pain. 

How to Use Kinesiology Tape for Back Pain

A physical therapist or chiropractor ideally performs KT taping for lower back pain. However, with practice, you can learn how to apply kinesiology tape to the lower back.

Choosing Kinesiology Tapes

The best brands of kinesiology tape generally last the longest and are waterproof to stay stuck even after showering.

For older skin, there are gentle KT tapes for back pain and hypoallergenic tapes for those with sensitive skin. Pre-cut kinesiology tapes can make application easier.


How to apply kinesiology tape for back pain

As you apply the kinesiology tape for lower back pain, first cut rounded ends to help curb peeling. Prepare the skin by ensuring it is clean, dry, and free of oils and lotions. You may need to shave the area with a razor if there is a lot of hair. 

Rub the K tape to warm it, which helps the adhesive stick better.

The application method and the number of kinesiology tape strips used will depend on the location and severity of your back pain. Where to put KT tape for lower back pain will vary for each individual. 

Kinesiology Tape for Back Pain: H-Shape application

The H-shape application requires three strips of Kinesio tape for back pain:

  • Place two strips of kt sports tape vertically along either side of the spine
  • Place a third strip horizontally across the area of back pain
  • Only a small amount of tension, or stretch, should be used as Kinesio tapes are applied to the back

Other kinesiology tape applications

Other methods or shapes to try applying kinesiology tape for back pain include a star shape, fan shape, or an I shape (similar to the H but rotated).

Other applications of k tape for mid-back, upper back, and neck pain are most effective when applied by another person, such as a physical therapist or chiropractor.

When another person applies Kinesio tape, the back is taped while standing, with the muscles slightly shortened. Kinesiology tape can also be safe and effective for alleviating back pain during pregnancy.

Preventing Back Pain

Lower back pain affects millions of people. Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle can help prevent back pain.

Using kinesiology tape to improve posture and support the lower back can improve the quality of life without needing medications, missed work, or expensive treatments.

If your lower back pain does not improve with kinesiology tape and rest, talk to your healthcare provider if symptoms worsen. See your doctor if back pain occurs, along with other symptoms such as high fever, severe muscle spasms, or numbness in your legs.

About the Author

Brandon Landgraf is the Digital Marketing Manager for Carex Health Brands. He finds passion and fulfillment in creating content that enhances, improves, and enlivens others' quality of life. All of his written work is formulated to not only offer essential advice and tips but back it with proven studies and experts. His mission is to connect with readers and provide steps to make their lives better.

You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.

About Carex Health Brands

Carex is your one-stop shop for home medical equipment and for products that assist caregivers with providing the best possible support and care for their loved ones. Carex Health Brands has been the branded leader in in-home, self-care medical products for over 35 years. Our goal is to improve the lives of our customers by bring them quality products that bring dignity back to their lives. With our three nationally distributed brands, Carex Health Brands serves national, regional and independent food, drug and mass retailers along with wholesalers, distributors and medical dealers.