If you’re suffering from a sore or stiff neck, here’s a very simple kinesiology taping technique that some tape manufacturers recommend for neck pain.
As always when applying kinesiology tape, the area to be taped must be thoroughly clean and dry. Excess body hair will need to be trimmed down or shaved off. All the kinesiology tape to be applied needs to be rounded off at the ends using scissors.
This technique is pretty much impossible to do to yourself, so you will need someone to apply the tape for you. The rest of these instructions are written from the perspective of the person applying the kinesiology tape.
Step 1: Cut a length of 5cm-wide kinesiology tape long enough to reach from the patient’s upper back, between the shoulder blades, up the neck to a few centimetres below the hairline. Starting at one end, split the strip of kinesiology tape right down the centre with scissors. Leave an unsplit tab about 5cm long at the other end.
Step 2: Stick the unsplit end of the kinesiology tape to the patient’s upper back. Site the tape directly over the spine, at about the level of the top of the shoulder blades or just below. Stick down this tab without any tension. See picture:
Step 3: With the patient sitting in an upright position, have them dip their head and hold it with their chin resting on their chest. This stretches the neck so that the tape is applied at the correct tension. Now take the two split ends of the kinesiology tape and stick them up the back and neck, running along each side of the ridge of the spine. Stick down the tape with no or minimal tension:
Step 4: Now apply a strip of kinesiology tape the other way, across the back of the neck, at about the level where the neck widens out into the shoulders. Apply this tape with maximum stretch. The best way to do this is to pull the tape from both ends and place the middle down first. Once most of the tape is stuck down, release the tension and apply the very ends without any stretch:
Step 5: That’s it!
Tip: you can extend this technique to support the trapezius muscles and provide postural correction to the upper back generally. See our Upper Back and Shoulders Kinesiology Tape article for more info.