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UC San Diego team receives $1.2 million to study chronic lower back pain

The system is called Multi-Sensor Adaptive Data Analytics for Physical Therapy (MS-ADAPT) system.
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Researchers at UC San Diego receives up to $1.2 million to build a novel system to study and explore new treatment for chronic lower back pain. 

The researching group is a multidisciplinary team at the school, and they have been granted this large fund by the National Science Foundation in order to fulfill this objective. 

In this novel system, researchers will operate with several tools to work on the evaluation and treatment such as wearable sensors and machines to better analyze physical therapy. 

Why this study?

According to health officials, up to 80% of people experience some sort of lower back pain during periods of their lifetime. 

In fact, treatment costs and wages on this subject has reported exceeds $100 billion in the country every year. 

Medical officials says the system will operate by using "wearable technology and smartphone-based applications to remotely monitor low back posture and movement, and upkeep with physical therapy and patient-reported pain. Study participants wear a Fitbit as well as a network of smart sensors crafted by integrating nanotechnology with over-the-counter kinesiology tape."

The funding's principal investigator says the main goal in all this is to enable personalized lower back therapy treatment and improve its outcomes. 

“This research will support remote monitoring of the patient’s posture and movement throughout the day, with the ultimate goal of enabling personalized physical therapy treatments and improving health outcomes,” said Emilia Farcas, who is also an assistant research scientist with the Qualcomm Institute (QI) at UCSD. 

Ken Loh, a co-principal investigator of MS-ADAPT, says that this funding is crucial because it allows researches to tackle one of the biggest topics in physical therapy. 

“The highly collaborative environment and close partnership between all researchers have enabled us to pursue this highly multidisciplinary and important topic,” said Ken Loh, a structural engineering professor with UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering.