Kaia Health’s App-Based Back Pain Treatment Outperforms Standard Physiotherapy in Clinical Trial
Low back pain is one of the leading causes of disability. The cost of treatment for patients with low back pain (LBP) has a major economic impact worldwide. According to a report from American Osteopathic Association, patients with musculoskeletal conditions spend approximately $240 billion per year, of which $77 billion is related to musculoskeletal conditions in the United States. Back, neck and muscle problems account for almost 31 million days of work lost in 2013 costing the UK economy £14 billion per year.
Kaia Health’s App-Based Back Pain Treatment
Up until now, most patients takes the traditional standard physiotherapy approach. Enter Kaia Health, a digital therapeutics and software-based healthcare platform that offers an app-based digital therapy focused on chronic pain that transforms the most effective offline therapies into digital therapies and connects these therapies to technologies that enhance the therapeutic effect. Kaia is the first medical exercise therapy app that aims to relieve back pain at home. Kaia plays an active role in the effective and natural treatment of your back pain and guides you through every step.
Today, Kaia Health announced results from the first randomized controlled trial of its app-based therapy program for patients with non-specific low back pain. Detailed results of the study were published in the journal NPJ Digital Medicine and showed that patients using Kaia, a downloadable app for back pain, reported significantly lower pain levels compared to the control group treated with physiotherapy and online education.
“This study can help add to the growing body of evidence that generally supports the use of multimodal treatments for chronic conditions,” said Thomas R. Tölle, M.D., Ph.D., Head of Pain Medicine, Technical University Munich, Germany. “Within this study, we saw a notable benefit for people managing low back pain when delivering multimodal treatment through the digital modality of the smartphone, as is done in the Kaia app.”
Low back pain is one of the leading causes of global disability, and treatment is expensive.1,2 According to the Office for National Statistics, back, neck and muscle problems account for almost 31 million days of work lost in 2013 costing the UK economy £14 billion per year – with an estimated one-third of the UK adult population affected by back pain annually.3,4
“As a company, we want to support the improvement of the current standard of care for people living with back pain,” said Konstantin Mehl, Founder and CEO, Kaia Health. “And while these study results are promising, we will be initiating a similar U.S.-based study looking at the use of the Kaia app for self-management of back pain.”
In the study, analysed patients with low back pain were treated using two methods. The first group used Kaia Health’s multi-platform mHealth app (n=42), while a second control group was treated using a standard therapy program consisting of 6 once-weekly, in-person physiotherapy sessions guided by a certified therapist plus sophisticated online education about back pain delivered to patients weekly with a motivating email (n=44). Both groups were encouraged to live an active lifestyle and perform the therapeutic exercises at home, but the app provided three therapy modules – back pain education; physiotherapy; and mindfulness and relaxation techniques – and recommended a 3 to 4 times-per-week exercise plan that could be personalized for each user. App users also could interact with a human coach via the app if they had questions.
Both the control and Kaia app treatment groups experienced significant pain reduction over the course of 12 weeks. However, after 3 months, patients using the Kaia app reported substantially larger decrease in their back pain intensity than control group patients: 2.4 vs. 2.0, respectively, on a numeric rating scale ranging from 0 to 10 (where higher numbers represent more pain). The decrease suggests that Kaia may be an effective treatment for low back pain over a 3-month timeframe.
Kaia is a smartphone-based approach for managing chronic back pain. In Europe, Kaia is regulated as a Class I medical device. Currently, Kaia is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to seek regulatory clearance in the U.S.
Founded in 2015 by Innocent Clement, Konstantin Mehl, Manuel Thurner, and Moritz Philipp Weisbrodt, the New York City-based Kaia Health is a digital therapeutics company that creates accessible, evidence-based treatments for a range of disorders including back pain and COPD. Working with experts in various medical fields, the company uses technology such as machine learning algorithms, to deliver individualised app interventions that aim to empower and motivate patients to take control and self-manage their condition with digital alternatives from their home using devices they already own (i.e., smartphones and tablets). Kaia Health is member of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA), an international association of manufacturers that set industry standards for what clinical evidence levels are required to call a product a digital therapeutic.