Back pain AI app could save economy billions each year

August 16, 2018

Stephan Huber, Chief Medical Officer of Kaia Health, discussed the back pain app and how it could save the economy billions each year…

How long has the app been in production for and who developed it? 

The app has been produced for 2.5 years now and it is still being redeveloped continuously to adapt to user feedback, and to continuously improve clinical outcomes. The Kaia team are working on this daily. We developed the app in Munich, Germany with a strong collaboration with University Pain Centers including the Center for Interdisciplinary Pain Medicine at the Technical University of Munich. 

Tell us about the clinical trials. How did the app make a difference?

In uncontrolled peer-reviewed published studies, Kaia users lowered their Pain Intensity Levels long-lasting above the clinically important threshold of one point on the Numeric Rating Scale. 

How does the app work and could you describe the motion tracking technology?

Kaia democratises the access to the multimodal back pain therapy and offers individualized multidisciplinary content which consist of back pain specific physiotherapy, psychological strategies for pain coping and back pain specific education. Back pain app Kaia

Kaia includes both a therapy algorithm, using artificial intelligence, which allocates the right exercises to users, as well as a motion tracking functionality based on neural nets that allows the user to know how to do the exercises correctly. The motion tracking technology can assess the users exercise execution using only the inbuilt smartphone camera and provide audio feedback on exercise execution as well as improvements. There is no additional hardware required other than a smartphone. 

Is the app suitable for injuries as well as long-term back issues?

Injuries are a red flag and app use is not recommended following injury, chronic back pain however is the most common indication for Kaia use. 

Should users seek medical advice before using?

Kaia generally recommends seeking Medical advice for the exclusion of red-flag conditions of back pain as Kaia has no diagnostic functionalities. 

How many people are out of work long-term due to back problems?

The UK work Foundation estimates that each year over 4 million working days in the UK are lost due to back pain. It is widely assumed that around 15% of people with back pain are out of work for over one month and that they contribute about half of all lost days. Furthermore, up to one in eight unemployed cites back pain as the reason for not being able to work. 


Low Back Pain stats:

•    31 million days of work were lost in 2013 due to back, neck and muscle problems

•    The cost to the UK economy is £14bn a year

•    At work, back pain is one of the most common causes of sickness absence 

•    80 per cent of the UK population will suffer with back pain at some point in their lives 

•    Approximately 8 million adults in the UK  report chronic pain that is moderate to severely disabling

•    Back pain alone accounts for 40% of sickness absence in the NHS

•    Back pain is the leading cause of disability

The Kaia app is available on iOS and Android, and can be downloaded via GooglePlay and AppStore. The first 7 days of the program are free. To unlock the full functionality the costs are: 3 months: £34.99, 6 months: £54.99 and 12 months: £69.99. 

See for more details on the back pain app.


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