When it comes to K Taping for neck pain there isn't much that Isla Scott hasn't seen. For the past 12 years Isla has headed up the physiotherapy clinic at the Isle of Man TT (the fastest motorsport race in the World) alongside her own Scott Physiotherapy Clinic in Peel.
Neck pain, alongside Arm Pump, is the most common problem we deal with at the TT every year; predominantly due to high wind speeds over the mountain section. For 2019, that saw us apply neck taping to 55 competitors, each one tailored to the individual requirements.
When it comes to taping for neck pain there are many different factors to consider:
With regards to neck pain, many of the riders do not have a history of neck pain prior to the TT. If they do come with soreness they will surely get far more during TT which will need to be managed. It is not uncommon on a windy night to get racers coming in after the session with very acute necks.
They describe the wind as causing a gyratory type effect on the head and neck, with other descriptions including “I felt like my head was being ripped off on the mountain section”.
The bumps on the road surface add to the issue, cause a nodding dog scenario which can clearly be seen on any onboard footage which, again, is irritating to the small joints of the neck.
Riders will have a far happier race period if they address any neck and spinal pain prior to arrival rather than fire fighting, this can be done through a specific strength and conditioning program around the neck, and consistent therapy throughout the season around the neck and shoulders.
We work with racers to find the best variation of postural neck taping that works for them. It is trial and error but usually makes a significant difference if applied well and in a functional position. One you find an application that works, the rider will always come back to have that same tape applied before their next run.
It is essential to take an individualised approach to each riders and taping application. We often tape whilst the rider is placed in a simulated riding position, so that we can tape very specifically based on the positions that the riders is assuming during the race. This allows us to ensure the most effective outcome from our taping applications.
As I mentioned, it's important to take an individualised approach to each rider. However the majority of applications begin with our go-to neck taping application, which can then be tweaked based on rider feedback.
You'll need to cut two strips of tape, and turn one into a Y-Strip by cutting it vertically down the centre of the tape.
The second stage of our neck pain application is to add some postural support taping around the shoulders. This helps facilitate rider proprioception when on the bike, keeping them in the most effective position and preventing excess strain through the neck when riding.
For this application you need to cut 2 longer strips of tape. Be sure to position your rider with any postural corrections before applying the tape. We tend to do this by placing the rider in forwards flexion to simulate riding position as much as possible.
Written by Isla Scott. Owner of Scott Physiotherapy and Lead Physiotherapist for the Isle of Man TT.
The Scott Physiotherapy team is made up of volunteer therapists. In 2019 these were: Isla Scott, Claire Frost, Emma Marsh, Danielle Ashburner, Andy Buckley, Henri Toone, Sue Hunt, Louise Quirk and Fiona Christian.
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