Study: App-based back pain treatment produces better results than physical therapy

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The use of a multiplatform app for back pain therapy resulted in greater pain reduction than participation in a standard physical therapy program, according to a new study published in npj Digital Medicine.

In a randomized trial, 101 adults with non-specific lower back pain were assigned either to use a multiplatform app to treat their condition or to undergo a regimen of weekly in-person physiotherapy sessions and emailed pain education. The app, from New York City-based tech startup Kaia Health, provided education, physiotherapy exercises and relaxation techniques, gave users access to a human coach within the app and recommended a customizable weekly exercise plan.

Though both groups experienced significant pain reduction after three months, those using the Kaia app reported even lower levels of pain intensity than those assigned to traditional physiotherapy. The study's authors noted that it was unclear which therapy or combination of therapies within the app contributed most to the results.

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