Innovative Design Labs (IDL) proposes to develop and deploy a clinically viable tool to enable the diagnosis and treatment-tracking of low back pain patients. Back pain is the most common cause of activity limitation in individuals younger than 45 years and is the second leading cause of disability in the U.S. afflicting between 70% and 85% of the population. It is the leading cause of lost wages and accounts for more than 700,000 surgical procedures per year with a total over $80 billion annually spent on treatment and care. Dynamic motion of the lumbar spine has been shown to change with disc degeneration and pain. Furthermore, these aberrant motion patterns can be improved with prescribed physical therapy and exercise. In practice, therapists qualitatively monitor back pain treatments through series of guided exercises and stretches in the clinic and then prescribe a protocol of exercises and stretches to be performed in the home. It is difficult to track performance and compliance over long periods of treatment. This research program aims to enable the long term treatment-tracking of patients with chronic low back pain. Patient function will be assessed and recorded using a novel system such that the tracking of aberrant spinal motion may be accomplished in a low- cost, highly accurate, fashion. In phase I, IDL will design the algorithms and software components for the system, using existing hardware. Furthermore, IDL will establish the feasibility and accuracy of this tool by conducting a pilot study.

Public Health Relevance

Low back pain is one of the most prevalent health complaints in the US, with an estimated 70-85% of the population developing back pain at some point in their life. It is the leading cause of lost wages and accounts for more than 700,000 surgical procedures per year with a total over $80 billion annually spent on treatment and care. Current treatment for these individuals is based upon our ability to assess the severity of disc degeneration using minimally invasive methods. These methods include morphological assessment using MRI and CT, pain assessment using surveys and discography, and physical assessment using flexibility and motion tests. This research effort addresses a critical barrier to successful patient specific treatment of highly specific low back pain-the lack of a low-cost sensitive measurement system to quantify and track aberrant spinal motion in patients with low back pain over extended periods of time. The achievement of this program's research aims will result in a new system for measuring spinal motion and linking that functional motion with the patient's experience of low back pain. In this way, our research seeks to impact the clinical care of patients by developing a new integrated multi-level paradigm with high sensitivity for distinguishing patient specific motion patterns and the outcomes of their treatment.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-HDM-R (11))
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Sawczuk, Andrea
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Innovative Design Labs, Inc.
Maple Grove
United States
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