Digital exercise app proves success in reducing back pain


An at-home digital exercise therapy using wearable motion sensors has been proven to help reduce lower back pain.

Hinge Health provides a digital 12 -week digital programme designed by physicians and clinicians to provide relief from musculoskeletal problems.

Users are given access to personalised 10-minute activities to help relieve pain; unlimited one-on-one behavioural coaching; sensor-guided exercise therapy; activity and symptom tracking; and interactive education, including access to articles via the app.

In a recent study the Silicon Valley-based programme was found to improve lower back pain by 52 to 64 per cent, while improvement in disability ranged from 31 to 55 per cent.

The results, published in the journal Nature, Digital Medicine, also found the likelihood of Hinge Health patients requiring surgery decreased 52%.

Experts from Hinge Health and the department of orthopaedic surgery at University of California compared 113 patients using the programme to a control group of 64 people who only had access to three digital education articles.

All participants maintained access to treatment as usual.

Participants in the control group reported an improvement in pain between three and nine per cent.

Information on the patient’s medical history, including any major trauma or injury to the back, was not included in the study.

Hinge Health chief executive Daniel Perez said: “Hinge Health is based on the three pillars of best practice care. But in order to see outcomes, participants need to engage.

“Our technology provides care remotely allowing patients to engage at home, and coaches to monitor and activate patients.”

The programme is not yet available in the UK but the company hopes to expand in 2020.

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