ULTRAWEAR - Ultrasound-based wearable as a Biofeedback system for effective training for chronic back pain
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Chronic back pain is a common symptom in conditions such as inflammatory rheumatic diseases, spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, Ankylosing spondylitis, Scheuermann's disease, or herniated discs. In this context, physiotherapy, especially segmental stabilization, should promote strengthening of the muscles of the lower back. However, clinical practice shows that it is difficult to feel the activation of the muscle groups to be trained, since they are not located on the surface of the body and a large force development is not aimed for. For this reason, it is crucial to have the most precise feedback possible about the activation of the muscles.
Objectives and procedure
The goal of the ULTRAWEAR project is to develop an ultrasound-based wearable device that provides patients with biofeedback on the accuracy of exercise efforts in physical therapy. This will be based on ultrasound-based analysis of deep abdominal and back muscle contraction. The recorded ultrasound signals are analyzed using so-called deep learning approaches, from which visually understandable biofeedback is then generated and given to the patient. The goal is to monitor the correct performance of segmental stabilization training by the wearable. The target group is patients with chronic back pain.
Innovations and perspectives
The ULTRAWEAR system will be designed as low-cost hardware, allowing for broad use in physiotherapy practices, rehabilitation centers and (in a later phase) in a home setting. On the other hand, the use of machine learning approaches will enable automated evaluation and thus easy patient feedback. Both together will lead to faster and more effective training of patients for adequate strengthening of the crucial trunk muscles, so that therapeutic success becomes more certain.