Lower Back Pain

Back Pain Phone Apps: Finding The Right One For You

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Recent studies have begun to show that back pain apps can enhance the bodyโ€™s recovery when combined with conservative treatments and physical activity/exercise. Low back pain โ€“ LBP can interfere with everyday activities, work, school, and sleep making life miserable. All around the world low back pain is one of the leading causes of disability. Studies have shown how physical activity/exercise, mindfulness, and spinal manipulation can reduce symptoms more effectively. Exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety and increase positive outlook/mood. However, the biggest problem for individuals is finding activities/exercises that they can enjoy and sticking with them. Individuals that use back pain apps have reported the benefits of being guided through the exercises and meditation that help decrease their pain.

Back Pain Apps

Several back pain apps utilize the brain and body connection. They provide exercises for the body and meditation to help the mind relax and work out and through the pain. The brain is the computer, the software is the mind and the hardware is the body. The brain is linked to the nervous system. Apps that help with psychosocial and behavioral issues have shown the ability to reverse the negative thinking of individuals with chronic pain. For individuals that donโ€™t like exercising, there are apps to help address various barriers and obstacles.

  • Theyโ€™re ready when and where you are
  • They track progress
  • They match guidance messages based on responses
  • They provide positive reinforcement

Before starting, if the answer is yes to any of the following questions consult with a physician first:

  • Is leg pain presenting?
  • Is there constant pain at night?
  • Is there a history of a recent accident or injury?

Effectiveness of Apps

A 12-week controlled trial in 2019, of individuals with low back pain, found that those who used an app did statistically better, in reducing their pain compared to the control group. The trial consisted of:

  • Activity tracking
  • Symptom tracking
  • Sensor-guided exercise therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Team behavioral coaching
  • Individual behavioral coaching
  • Educational information and knowledge

Those in the treatment group that completed the program found their pain level (based on a 100-point scale) had reduced 62% from a level of 44 to 14. Compared to an 8% reduction in the control group. However, scientific evidence on specific apps is limited and requires further research. However, the apps that scientists studied include:

A study in JMIR mHealth and UHealth found the apps below to help manage mind-body pain and the stress that comes with it. They were:

A review of 25 apps for low back pain found the higher the price, the higher the app scored in the scientific study. The apps with the top scores included:

  • Strengthening exercises
  • Stretching
  • Core stability exercises
  • They were:
  • Interesting
  • Entertaining
  • Interactive
  • Customizable

The Lower Back Pain App, developed by a physiotherapist, scored the highest. It is a 10-week program where users are directed each week to perform three exercises twice daily. The exercises focus on:

  • Spinal mobility
  • Stability
  • Muscle strengthening
  • Instructions are given through videos and writing.

Back Pain Specific Apps

A variety of back pain-specific applications are available. Try them out and see which fits your style. They are there to guide, strengthen the body, help relax, and lessen the pain.


Body Composition


Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is like poison to the body. It negatively impacts every aspect of the bodyโ€™s health and is more dangerous because of its ability to present without realizing it. One of the bodyโ€™s systems responsible for handling difficult situations is the immune system. Specifically, cells of the immune systems have receptors that recognize stress hormones like cortisol. Acute stress can cause immune system problems by increasing the release of inflammatory cytokines that are a special type of immune cell. Stress, immunity, and disease can affect each other. But these relationships can be moderated by:

What is important is to develop a healthy strategy to relieve the symptoms of stress like meditating, exercising, and spending time with friends/family.

References

Best Evidence Rehabilitation for Chronic Pain Part 3: Low Back Pain www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6679058/

Current Directions in Stress and Human Immune Function. Current opinion in psychology vol. 5 (2015): 13-17. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.03.007 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4465119/

The Role of Psychosocial Processes in the Development and Maintenance of Chronic Pain pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27586832/#affiliation-1

Assessment of the Quality of Mobile Applications (Apps) for Management of Low Back Pain Using the Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS) www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7763508/#B12-ijerph-17-09209

Surgical versus nonsurgical treatment of chronic low back pain: A meta-analysis based on current evidence pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26406211/

Randomized controlled trial of a 12-week digital care program in improving low back pain www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6550254/#CR8

Evaluation of Self-Management Support Functions in Apps for People With Persistent Pain: Systematic Review mhealth.jmir.org/2019/2/e13080/

App-based multidisciplinary back pain treatment versus combined physiotherapy plus online education: a randomized controlled trial www.nature.com/articles/s41746-019-0109-x

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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Back Pain Phone Apps: Finding The Right One For You" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.

Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.

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Blessings

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*

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