You see a patient with significant shoulder pain and you are contemplating taping him/her. Other than getting the standard informed consent prior to taping, what would you tell the patient about the potential effectiveness of the tape, knowing that patient expectations play an important role in the placebo effect?
Option A: Be 100% honest and say we are not sure if taping works since there are no high-quality studies to support it.
Option B: With great confidence, say taping has been researched for over 20 years now and high-level athletes and many of my patients find it extremely beneficial.
This RCT involved 89 patients with rotator cuff tear who were told 3 different things about the effectiveness of Kinesiotaping prior to being taped.
Group 1: Patients were told that there is no evidence that taping is effective
Group 2: Patients were told that there is limited evidence that taping is effective
Group 3: Patients were told that there is evidence that taping has an excellent effect
Patients in Group 2 had improvements in pain within 30 minutes but not at 24 hours.
Perhaps not surprisingly, those in Group 3 had the most improvement in pain scores at 30 minutes and after 24 hours post taping.
Clinical relevance: You will likely enhance the effectiveness of taping, if you verbally set positive expectations about taping. Therefore, I suggest Option B!
Reference: Analay Akbaba et al Does the patients’ expectations on kinesiotape affect the outcomes of patients with a rotator cuff tear? A randomized controlled clinical trial. Clin Rehabil. 2018 Jul 26:269215518779645.