BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2022 Oct 19;23(1):923. doi: 10.1186/s12891-022-05883-9.
BACKGROUND: Intervertebral disc pathology is the most common identifiable cause of chronic lower back pain (CLBP). There are limited conservative alternatives to treat discogenic axial CLBP. Back Rx is a mobile application (app) developed to treat patients with this condition, following the Back Rx exercise program, assisted by a virtual coach.
METHODS: Patients 18 to 65 years of age, with axial CLBP (more than 3 months), and evidence of lumbar disc pathology by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were enrolled to the study. Patients' symptomatology was prospectively evaluated at baseline and after 3 months of using the Back Rx app. The main outcome of the study was back pain evaluated using the visual analog scale (VAS) for pain. Secondary outcomes were the patient's functionality, the weekly pain medication intake, the patients' adherence to the app, and the patients´ satisfaction rate.
RESULTS: Seventy-five patients with CLBP were enrolled in the study. All patients had a statistically significant improvement from baseline to final follow-up in the average VAS scores, and the functionality evaluations. Average VAS scores decreased from 5.17 ± 2.1 at baseline to 3.8 ± 2.6 at final follow-up (P = 0.016). Patients showed a significant decrease in the number of pain medications taken during a week (P = 0.001). Overall compliance with the app was 52%, and 65% of the patients rated the overall experience as good or excellent.
CONCLUSION: The Back Rx app decreased pain and increased function in patients with discogenic axial CLBP compared to their baseline status. Further measures are needed to increase patients' compliance with the app and the Back Rx program.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Retrospectively registered in 2/2/2017 NCT03040310 (ClinicalTrials.gov).
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