Accidently Getting to Active Care

Posted: September 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky rather than good.

I happened to stumble upon this clinical tidbit a few weeks ago and just wanted to share.

It involves kinesio tape. You know, the stuff that every single Olympic athlete had on…

water matches tape which matches swimsuit…I see what you did there

For most of us, kinesio tape is another tool in the tool box used to help decrease pain, give the patient a soft barrier of support, and act as a ‘treatment while out of the office.’ I consider it a passive modality (although one in which the patient can be active while wearing, which is awesome), and one that, just like anything else, can be overused and relied upon once it is no longer needed.

More recently however, I used kinesio tape and it became as much of a diagnostic tool as a passive care modality. (hence the reason for this post)


I was on my way out of the clinic the other day when one of our trainers came up to me and mentioned his shoulder has been bothering him. He is currently training for a bench press competition and just felt like his shoulder was not right. Because I had somewhere I had to be, I asked the trainer if I could just tape him to see if that offered him some relief until I could really spend some time to figure out what was going on.

I used this tape job, which I got from Dr. Greg Doerr. It has become my go-to for many shoulder issues.

I saw the trainer a few days later, and he told me the tape did help his shoulder feel about 20% better. Obviously, it was just a band-aid to get through the workout, but it gave me a great idea of where to go with my treatment.

Now, what I needed to do was almost re-create what the tape did with exercise.

My go-to has become HA (Heavy ASS) Kettle-Bell carries. Along with a plethora of other benefits (grip strength, anti-lateral flexion training, sweating, and grunting) HA Kettle-Bell carry does wonders for patients presenting with bench pressing/impingement/meathead syndrome. Interestingly, I think most people think that when someone is in pain, heavy training should be avoided. However, many times heavy loading is EXACTLY what they need.

If you don’t believe me, check out this post from Dr. Jeff Cubos.

To give people an idea of the weights we use in the office, I usually start with around 40lbs and have worked my way up to 70lbs. Keep in mind, all patients I have used this with so far are what I would consider ‘in shape’ with years of training experience under their belt.(this is not a requirement) Also, I usually don’t even tell the patient how much weight I am giving them, because I know that some would get nervous to be lifting something so heavy while they are in pain. After the exercise, once they are feeling better, I then tell them how much they are carrying.

For the visual learners…

So what did the tape actually do in the first place?

In my eyes, when that specific tape job makes the shoulder feel better, it simply tells me that I need to get the shoulder “back and down.” The patient needs upper trap, levator scap, and the pectoralis muscle to take a chill pill all while waking up middle trap, lower trap, and the rest of the scapular stabilizers.

All in all, this exercise has been a great find for me and my patients. In fact, I would go out on a limb and say it has been the most effective way to decrease shoulder pain in the quickest amount of time.

  1. Great stuff, Justin. Do you combine the carries with any exercise or treatment that re-patterns healthy movement? Or do you find that the pattern resets itself?

  2. Cameron Brown says:

    However, many times heavy loading is EXACTLY what they need. – Huge. Great work Doc.

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