Anyone who’s dealt with back pain—chronic or not—knows that it’s no joke. One minute you’re your normal, ambular self. The next you are on the floor, staring down weeks of slow recovery. It’s a humbling experience that can make you acutely aware of how much you took your spine for granted.
My husband recently tweaked his back at the gym, and he’s still feeling it months later. When you get to that place, you’re looking for anything (ANYthing) that can help. New technology is making huge strides when it comes recovery, and even preventative care. Here, three products to have on your radar, each one designed to help you deal with (or prevent) back pain.
It’s something we all aspire to: perfect posture. But with longer (and longer) hours logged at a desk or in front of a laptop, we’re slouching more than ever, which puts unnecessary strain on our back muscles. The Lumo Lift ($80) is a small, lightweight wearable that’s the ultimate solution to poor posture. Simply wear it near your collarbone (a magnetic clasp secures it discretely in place) and it will gently vibrate every time it notices that you’re starting to slouch. And since the American Chiropractic Association lists good posture as a top method when it comes to preventing neck and back pain, it seems like a pretty good investment long-term.
For chronic back pain sufferers: Quell ($249) is a slim and lightweight wearable that you strap around your upper calf. The electrodes in the band stimulate your sensory nerves, sending neural impulses to your brain to trigger a natural response that blocks pain signals 24/7. There’s even an accompanying app that allows you to customize and control each 60-minute therapy session (Quell recommends three of these per day, depending on pain levels) and measure your progress. One note: If you plan to use the device in conjunction with pain meds, it’s worth alerting your doc just to get their sign-off.
This gadget it more about recovering from the pain and soreness of a workout, but I thought I’d include it here because EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation) is commonly used as a rehabilitation tool in physical therapy. Powerdot ($249) is a device that uses a tickly-feeling (read: not painful at all) EMS to activate your muscle fibers—in areas like your shoulders and upper back—so you can recover from workouts faster. To use it, download the app, then select the muscle group you’re looking to target (say, your deltoids if you’re looking to reduce muscle soreness in your shoulders). Attach the pods to your body and, based on the area you selected, impulses are sent that cause your muscles to engage. Worth keeping in mind: To be on the safe side, take a peek at the do’s and don’ts of this form of treatment when setting up the app.
Dealing with back pain or know someone who is (I feel like EVERYONE is!). Share your aches in the comments.