Wearing away back pain

Getting to the root of back pain can be a frustrating, painful and often long journey for both patient and clinician, but revolutionary technology is putting precise measurement of movement at the heart of the solution.

A smart device, powered by wearable sensors, is providing new and important insights to the causes of back pain, which affects four out of five people at some point in their lives.

“An enduring problem of treating back pain is the inability to know what is going on once the patient leaves the surgery,” says Andrew Ronchi, physiotherapist and dorsaVi chief executive.

Patients struggling with chronic back pain wear ViMove sensors for just 24 hours, and the resulting biomechanical information helps clinicians map the complex landscape of muscle activity and spinal movement. This gives the clinicians an unrivalled view into the patient’s world. The ability to identify movement patterns and dysfunctions that may be causing back pain creates an opportunity to design highly tailored treatment plans that improve quality of life and outcomes for patients.

Back pain, which costs the UK more than £2 billion a year in terms of NHS bills and absenteeism, is the prime cause of long-term sickness in manual jobs and the number-two reason for long-term sickness.

A smart device, powered by wearable sensors, is providing new and important insights to the causes of back pain

To tackle the problem, smart employers are using this technology, in the form of ViSafe, to assess manual tasks and adjust work practices to avoid injuries. The ViSafe system has been successfully used by large and small companies, in sectors from retail to mining, to identify risk in the workplace, reduce injury and related costs, and improve productivity through better work practices.

“ViSafe gives a clear picture of how employees are moving during a task – how long they spend bending, leaning, in good postures, bad postures, sitting at their desk and walking around. This data can be used to pinpoint those tasks that are creating high risks of injury,” adds Mr Ronchi.

The technology can also be programmed to alert wearers when they have been in a poor position for too long so they can move into a better posture. This “biofeedback” is a way to help people self-manage their way out of back pain.

The same technology is used by elite athletes, including Premier League football teams, where the ability to screen individual players’ movement leads to better prevention of injury, targeted and measurable rehabilitation, and improved decisions about returning to play.

At home, at work, at play, each person’s movement is unique and important. Now we have the tool that can measure it.

For more information about how dorsaVi technology could help your patients, athletes or your employees, contact Zoe Whyatt on 0203 735 5300 or @ zwhyatt@dorsavi.com