If you’re suffering from lower back pain, new online resources and devices are available to help you better manage your pain. Here’s how to use lower back pain technology to manage your condition every single day.
What is lower back pain?
Back pain affects 31 million people in the U.S. at any given time, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).
Lower back pain is the leading cause of disability globally, and costs U.S. patients more than $50 billion annually. Because the condition is so costly and common, researchers spend a lot of time and resources investigating causes and potential treatments for back pain.
Most back pain results from an injury or so-called mechanical issue in the musculoskeletal system, and not from arthritis, cancer, or another more serious issue, according to ACA. That gives patients hope and gives researchers an even greater impetus to find out how to help people heal, or at least minimize, the pain from this painful condition.
When the problem results from a mechanical issue instead of a more significant problem, have hope that with enough effort, you can greatly minimize back pain and increase your quality of life.
Why is lower back pain technology so important?
Technology helps us all out in so many ways every day and its usefulness is only growing.
It can let us talk to our friends around the world or trade stocks in the blink of the eye. It is easy to say that technology has some serious power, even for our health. Using a phone app or wearable device could have a huge impact for chronic pain patients and may provide a completely new avenue for lower back pain management.
Likewise, researching your condition and the newest research online could help you better talk to your doctor and consider new pain management approaches.
Where to find back pain news and research online
The Internet is a wonderful resource for keeping up to date with the latest research on back pain, making it one of the best lower back pain technology resources for everyone. Staying on top of the latest research is an important way to take charge of your health. You may not have control over how you feel or if back pain flares up, but you do have power over how you respond to the health problem. Sometimes just the knowledge that you do have power can reduce pain.
Studies have found that patients who fully participate in their treatment have better outcomes than patients who adopt a more passive approach. Fortunately, the Internet makes it easy to have access to credible information that can greatly improve your quality of life.
Finding credible websites
One thing to keep in mind when searching for information online is making sure it’s authoritative. The Internet is awash in information that’s not very credible, but often presented in a very convincing way. When evaluating an article for credibility, look at the source.
If the information is coming from an accredited educational institution, government office, or respected doctor, that’s a good sign of reliability. If, on the other hand, the information comes from a site that’s not affiliated with qualified medical professional or regarded expert, then you might want to investigate further before drawing any conclusions.
With those caveats in mind, here is our guide to the best places online to find information about the latest back pain research.
ScienceDaily does the hard work of sorting through thousands of research papers and medical journals to bring you the latest, most cutting-edge studies on back pain.
The site publishes medical research on a variety of topics, but clicking this link will take you to the site’s back pain section. If you’re not fluent in medical jargon, don’t worry because the site publishes press release-style fact sheets that are generally easy to understand.
If you do find an article is hard to understand, Google key search terms from the article, like “back pain” along with the university where the research took place or the journal it appeared in. This could help you find other news stories written about the study that provide greater context or deeper understanding. News outlets don’t cover all studies, only those of most interest to the general public, but you never know what information you’ll find.
On ScienceDaily, you’ll find important, actionable research that you can immediately put into place to alleviate pain. For example, one large study reveals the profound benefits of yoga for healing back pain and another reveals how talk therapy has the potential to reduce pain, especially in people experiencing high levels of stress.
This health website is the project of Mike Evans, a doctor who strives to create edutainment—that is educational content that’s also entertaining. His back pain video offers hopeful advice and insight. The message is that although 90% of the population experiences back pain at some point during their lives, the condition is rarely serious and in fact very manageable with a specific approach.
The video is about 11 minutes long, but Evans does a good job of keeping every moment interesting. If you type “back pain” into the website search bar—or click the link—you’ll find a few other pieces of content in Evans’ trademark educational but entertaining and hopeful style.
This site is similar to ScienceDaily, in that it collects all the latest research from around the globe into press release-style content.
Here, you will also find actionable articles, like why desk workers should work standing up. You’ll also find research to help inform the way you respond to medical advice, like this study reporting the differences between how male and female doctors treat low back pain.
Although there is some overlap between Medical News Today and ScienceDaily, it’s a good idea to check both sites because they don’t have the exact same content.
WebMD offers a storehouse of not only background information on back pain and nearly every other health concern under the sun, but the site also offers feature articles about the latest research.
Many of WebMD’s news articles come from HealthDay News, which is an organization that specializes in researching and writing health news. Thanks to this partnership, readers get the best of both possible worlds—rigorous, research-based health articles by medical professionals combined with the editorial expertise of a team of professional journalists.
On WebMD, you’ll find articles about recent studies like this one revealing that steroids are no more effective at fighting sciatica pain than a placebo. Some research could even change the course of your entire health care plan, like this important piece of research that reveals some patients may find physical therapy as effective as surgery when it comes to reducing back pain.
Everyday Health is another website that combines a storehouse of background information with constantly updated articles about the latest news and research. In the site’s back pain section, you’ll also find specially crafted articles by medical professionals giving important insight into how you go about treating back pain.
This article by Drexel University’s vice chair of pain medicine, for instance, details the various types of doctors involved in treating chronic pain and guides patients through the choice of which one to visit.
Taking time to learn information about the best ways to treat your health concerns helps elevate you to be the CEO of your health. Spending time to get informed ensures your treatment plan is the most effective it can be.
Lower back pain technology, apps, and devices
Think beyond the internet. Smart devices give accessibility to a very large patient population and are being used in a lot of new and exciting ways today for back pain management.
This could be a great first step to pain management that allows patients some self-management before moving on to pain medications and other traditional treatment options. According to a market research report, the wearable devices market is expected to reach over 30 billion dollars by 2020, which means it is here to stay.
It is always smart to consult with your physician before trying new workouts and devices. Talk to them about how some of these gadget-powered methods could help relieve your lower back pain (and let you have a little fun while doing it).
The title of this smart phone app really says it all. This app is a great introduction to using your phone for lower back pain management. This app consists of ten very effective backstretches in an easy-to-follow routine. It contains informative text about each position and details how to execute them while maintaining proper form. It is followed by some easy-to-understand pictures and some suggested reps and sets you should do for maximum effect.
This product is starting to build up a lot of hype due to its FDA-approved innovative approach to pain relief. This wearable device alleviates pain using an intensive nerve stimulation technique that requires no pain medication to be effective. It is also self-adjusting. Quell is capable of identifying when a user is sleeping and will ramp down the stimulation accordingly.
Not only will it provide lower back pain relief, but the system boasts that the nerve stimulation treatment taps into the body’s natural pain control system to block pain signals. This can provide widespread relief throughout the body. According to their site, 81% of users report improvement in their chronic pain condition and 67% say they use less pain medication.
This app brings traditional hatha yoga focused on spine health and pain management onto your smart device. It uses high-resolution 3D models to show proper form and movements when moving through a guided yoga routine. It also has various difficulty settings so as you progress you can have longer, more effective sessions.
You also choose the music you want to listen to. The app provides you with cues to remind you to observe correct breathing techniques throughout. You can even activate a voice instruction mode that will make you feel like you are in a studio.
Have you ever wanted to fight back pain by playing games in the convenience of your own home? Now you have that option with Hocoma’s new smart device. Valedo is a two-part wearable device, one for your lower back and one for your chest. You need a smart phone or tablet to display the actual game, but the Valedo devices take the place of a game controller.
After calibrating the devices, you use your body motions while playing the game to control your character and collect gems that show up to get points. The best part is the game gives you instant feedback on your posture and technique to make sure you are performing the therapeutic exercises correctly, even if you don’t realize it.
There are more than 50 games and 17 unique movements, so it can train all of the muscles in your back to provide pain relief and a stronger back. It also tracks all of your data from precision movements to overall progress, which you can then easily share with your doctor.
This app is geared towards professional like massage therapists, athletic trainers, and chiropractors. This application can analyze the posture of an individual just by using the camera on your smart device and identifying any issues in an object manner.
It can also crunch the numbers on tons of other metrics like body mass index, basal metabolic rate, lean body mass, and more. On top of all that, the application can provide functional exercises to help fix the flaws in your posture and it has its own built-in customer relationship management system.
6. Lumo Lift
Lumo Lift is another posture-based piece of lower back pain technology, but this is the much more intricate wearable version. The Lumo Lift is a small device that you wear near your collarbone that can track steps taken, posture, sitting time, and sleep quality. But it does more than just monitor these metrics.
The Lumo Lift also helps correct your posture by giving you a gentle vibration when you slouch. This device also provides easy-to-digest data, as the sensor connects to smart phone app. This app lets you track daily activities and monitor things like running, standing, and sleeping as well as lets you set custom goals and track the calories you have burned.
What experiences have you had with lower back pain technology, websites, devices, and apps? Have you used any tech that you think is the best? For a coordinated team approach to managing your pain, contact Arizona Pain today for a consultation.