Some of the best ideas and products to help people with chronic pain come not from large companies, but from ordinary people. The Internet has made it increasingly easy for people to find funding for their new ideas, and platforms like Kickstarter are helping these products reach the market.

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a website where people with ideas for creative projects post their plans and ask donors for funding. Founders establish a fundraising goal and deadline, both of which must be met in order for them to receive the pledged money. Kickstarter says the hard rule might seem overzealous, but its do-or-die nature often persuades interested people to hit the donate button.

In return for pledging money, donors receive gifts, like a finished book or DVD, or access to special events like lunch with the creator. Although all the projects on Kickstarter are creative, not all of them relate to the arts. Here is a collection of projects that could improve quality of life for chronic pain patients.

1. Zen Float Tank

Float tanks are a type of relaxation therapy. They’re relatively expensive and usually only found in special float spas. Zen Float Tank founders want to help consumers bring the ultimate relaxation into their homes with what creators call the first affordable tank for the home.

The float tank holds 201 gallons of water with 800 pounds of salt mixed in. The salt allows people to float on the water’s surface, providing a feeling of weightlessness and buoyancy that’s relaxing and helps to relieve pain. The water is heated to skin temperature to encourage the feeling of letting go.

An average session lasts about an hour and can cost around $70 at a typical float spa. Zen Float Tank founders say the most affordable tank on the market costs $4,500, but their tank is priced at $1,700. They write on Kickstarter:

“Why? We want to get a lot more people floating!”

The project was successfully funded in May 2014, making the founders’ dream of an entry-level priced home float tank a reality. Tanks can be purchased at ZenFloatCo.com.

2. Why Does Mommy Hurt?

It’s often hard for children to understand complicated issues like illness, particularly conditions like fibromyalgia and chronic pain because they’re invisible to outsiders.

Still, it’s important for children to learn about these conditions if a parent is experiencing them. That was the genesis behind Elizabeth Christy’s book, Why Does Mommy Hurt. Christy writes:

“Parenting with chronic pain and fibromyalgia and been exhausting and overwhelming, and at time it has been difficult for my son to understand why I hurt, why I am in pain, why I can’t always play with him.”

After realizing that no children’s books existed focusing on chronic pain and fibromyalgia, Christy decided to write her own. The book takes readers through the day of a mother living with fibromyalgia, offering tips to get through as various situations pop up.

The $1,481 that was pledged during the successfully funded campaign will offset most of the costs related to self-publishing. The book is now available at WhyDoesMommyHurt.com.

3. Pain relief in Mexico video

Chronic pain is a worldwide epidemic, not just in the U.S. While patients in the U.S. suffer, those experiencing pain in Mexico have another set of difficulties to navigate. The founders write:

“Imagine you are experiencing the worst pain of your life. Now imagine that the only way to get the pain medication you need is to travel several hours on a rickety public bus, while you are in agony. That’s the reality for thousands of people every year in Mexico.”

Filmmakers from Human Rights Watch successfully raised nearly $26,000 in May 2014 to interview doctors, patients, families and pain activists in Mexico. They also followed a patient traveling to the capital for medication.

Pain medication is difficult to access in Mexico because of harsh drug laws. Meanwhile, few doctors outside major cities prescribe pills, leaving thousands of people dying from cancer and AIDS without access to pain relief.

The final video, Needless Suffering In Mexico, is now posted on Human Rights Watch’s YouTube channel.

4. Bacrac

Those living with back pain may want to check out this successfully funded Kickstarter project created by osteopath Jason Rosser. During Rosser’s 24 years of practicing medicine, he found that the amount a person exercised significantly impacted how much back pain they experienced. He says:

“If the correct exercises are performed well and frequently, the back problems become far easier to treat and far easier to prevent.”

To help patients treat and prevent back pain, Rosser created Bacrac. Now available at RedZenDesign.com, the Bacrac is a device loosely designed in the shape of the spine. It supports the back with a series of soft pads. A person uses it by lying on the device and then rocking gently back and forth on it for five minutes, although people can work up to extended lengths of time.

The rocking motion aligns and decompresses the spine, increases mobility, and reduces pain. Bacrac is intended to “enhance” recommended spinal exercises for back pain, and not replace them, founders say.

5. All the Rage movie

The powerful influence the mind has over the body is a hot topic of medical research right now, and the documentary All the Rage reveals just how that connection can be influenced to diminish chronic pain.

The movie features Dr. John Sarno, a New York University back pain and rehabilitation doctor who has helped the likes of Howard Stern, Larry David, and Sen. Tom Harkin find freedom from pain. The documentary also includes interviews from dozens of patients, leading doctors, and renowned psychologists discussing the intricately powerful way emotions influence health.

The movie tells Sarno’s story, depicting how he ultimately discovered a key personality trait most of his patients shared:

“Most of them were perfectionists who put themselves under unreasonable amounts of unconscious pressure to be perfect and good.”

In addition to these feelings of perfectionism, Sarno discovered that repressed rage was another significant contributor to pain—hence the movie’s title. Viewers will also hear from spiritual leader Ram Das, alternative medicine pioneer Dr. Andrew Weil, and television personality John Stossel, another of Sarno’s patients.

The movie, which successfully raised nearly $82,000 in December 2014, is available for purchase at AllTheRage.tv.

What Kickstarter project do you find the most interesting?

Image by Ministerio TIC Colombia via Flickr

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