/Healthy Options: Tech Companies Reduce Chronic Pain

Healthy Options: Tech Companies Reduce Chronic Pain


chronic pain

Hinge Health, a San Francisco startup that developed a 12-week remote monitoring program to reduce chronic knee pain and back pain, has published the results of a randomized control study to illustrate the effectiveness of its program for chronic knee pain. The program is intended to provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery to reduce chronic musculoskeletal pain.

In a study of 162 participants in a randomized controlled trial of Hinge Health’s program for chronic knee pain, those who completed the program had a 61 percent reduction in VAS pain compared to 21 percent in the control group. The treatment group had 101 participants compared with the control group, which had 61 participants. The trial took place between January and March 2017.

The intervention includes sensor-guided exercise therapy, education, cognitive behavioral therapy, weight loss, and psychosocial support through a personal coach and team-based interactions. The goal is to reduce recovery times for employees recuperating from chronic back pain and knee pain associated with musculoskeletal disorders without resorting to surgery and/or opioids to relieve pain.

The control group received three education modules regarding on self-care for chronic knee pain.

The issue of chronic pain is one that more and more digital health companies have dought to address, particularly as the healthcare industry seeks alternatives to opioids to manage pain.

The use of virtual reality to manage pain is gaining traction in hospitals. Karuna uses VR goggles as part of a training exercise to “rewire the brain” to get individuals to change their perception of what would be a painful movement to be non-threatening, CEO and Cofounder Lincoln Nguyen said in an interview last year. Los Angeles-based Applied VR used Samsung’s virtual reality hardware Gear VR to produce a program of interactive games and relaxing landscapes to shift users’ attention away from their pain.

Neurometrix developed a wearable FDA-cleared device called Quell that uses nerve stimulation to block pain signals. It’s designed to be worn just above the knee and used for leg and foot pain and arthritis.

Axial Healthcare in Nashville, Tennessee takes a big data approach to chronic pain with tools geared for clinicians, patients, and payers to help steer patients at risk for opioid misuse to alternative therapies through a group of complementary programs. It examines pharmacy claims, medical claims, and behavioral health claims data and eligibility to predict best outcomes for pain management by identifying where physicians are using best practices for treating pain. A patient-facing app, axial Patient, helps patients identify what triggers their pain and provides suggestions for alternative therapies to manage their pain.

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