Lower back pain (LBP) is an ailment that many people will have to deal with during their lifetime. LBP is one of the leading causes of work-related disability and will be experienced by at least 80 percent of the population at some point.(1) Though in most cases LBP will not become chronic, the lifetime recurrence rate is around 85 percent, meaning that most people who recover from LBP will develop it again.(2) Because this type of pain is so common, researchers have focused efforts on easing pain and preventing future issues due to LBP.
Practitioners typically take multiple steps to treat back pain depending on the severity and urgency of the pain. (3) Their treatments can range from pain medications and core exercises, to biofeedback, physical therapy, and alternative techniques such as acupuncture, and at the most advanced stage, surgical interventions. In a study of the effectiveness of physical therapy for different types of low back pain, researchers found that in acute low back pain populations no treatment at all had the same results as exercise therapy.(4) While physical therapy exercises might be effective if performed correctly, patients and physical therapists who do not receive biofeedback on their exercises do not know if they have performed them effectively.(5)
The pressure biofeedback unit has been shown to reliably indicate and quantify deep abdominal function, with inter and intra-testing reliability ranging from satisfactory to excellent.(6)(7) Researchers have found that only 10 percent of low back pain patients can perform the transversus abdominus test.(8) Because the pressure biofeedback unit can quantify this ability, it can be used to monitor a patient’s progress and improvement with exercises and abdominal muscle function. (9) Studies have shown that trunk balance, stabilization, segmental stabilization, and motor control can be implemented in order to improve core muscle strength. (10) Specifically focusing on deep core muscles can help alleviate nonspecific low back pain caused by the weakening of abdominal muscles.
Esurgi has developed the BioStabilizer, a PBU which aims to provide an easy-to-use device for physical therapists, athletes, and others to treat nonspecific lower back pain.
Do you think implementing a PBU in physical therapy practice will improve patient outcomes and prevent their back pain from returning?
1. Freburger JK, Holmes GM, Agans RP, et al. The rising prevalence of chronic low back pain. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(3):251-258. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2008.543
2. Maurits van Tulder, Bart Koes, Claire Bombardier, Low back pain, Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology, Volume 16, Issue 5, 2002, Pages 761-775, ISSN 1521-6942, https://doi.org/10.1053/berh.2002.0267.
3. Low Back Pain Fact Sheet. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/DISORDERS/PATIENT-CAREGIVER-EDUCATION/FACT-SHEETS/LOW-BACK-PAIN-FACT-SHEET
4. Hayden, J. A., van Tulder, M.,W., Malmivaara, A. V., & Koes, B. W. (2005). Meta-analysis: Exercise therapy for nonspecific low back pain. Annals of Internal Medicine, 142(9), 765-75.
5. Richardson, C., Hides, J., & Hodges, P. W. (2007). Therapeutic exercise for lumbopelvic stabilisation: A motor control approach for the treatment and prevention of low back pain. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
6. Mindy C Cairns, Karen Harrison, Chris Wright, Pressure Biofeedback: A useful tool in the quantification of abdominal muscular dysfunction?, Physiotherapy, Volume 86, Issue 3, 2000, Pages 127-138, ISSN 0031-9406
7. Pedro Olavo de Paula Lima, Rodrigo Ribeiro de Oliveira, Alberto Galvão de Moura Filho, Maria Cristina Falcão Raposo, Leonardo Oliveira Pena Costa, Glória Elizabeth Carneiro Laurentino, Reproducibility of the pressure biofeedback unit in measuring transversus abdominis muscle activity in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, Volume 16, Issue 2, 2012, Pages 251-257, ISSN 1360-8592, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2011.06.003.
8. Richardson, C., Hides, J., & Hodges, P. W. (2007). Therapeutic exercise for lumbopelvic stabilisation: A motor control approach for the treatment and prevention of low back pain. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
10. Chang, W., Lin, H., & Lai, P. (2015). Core strength training for patients with chronic low back pain. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 27(3), 619-622. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.619