lower back pain gadget

Photo: Courtesy of Valedo


Who It's For: Individuals with lower back aches or decreased lower back mobility.
How it Works: Valedo turns physical therapy into a game, coaching you through 45 exercises designed to strengthen weak muscles that can cause lower back pain. Stick two Bluetooth sensors on your lower back and chest, then follow your avatar on a tablet or a smartphone to fine-tune 17 twisting, leaning, and squatting movements. You'll earn points when you do the moves correctly. An app lets you track your progress and share results.
What Our Testers Thought: "I've had a herniated disc since 2013, and as a result, I have chronic pain in my lumbar spine, hips, butt, and obliques, as well as tightness in my shoulders and neck—basically everywhere! I liked that the Valedo sensors alerted me if I wasn't doing the moves properly, and I felt less stiff after just three sessions. Sometimes I slack off on my physical therapy because it can be boring and repetitive, but I found the game aspect of this fun. It made me want to come back for more." —Lauren, 27

Photo: Courtesy of Quell


Who It's For: Those who suffer from fibromyalgia or chronic nerve, musculoskeletal, or joint pain.
How it Works: Though the device fastens onto your upper calf, it short-circuits pain anywhere in the body. The electrode stimulates sensory nerve clusters in your calf, and those nerves carry pulses to your brain, triggering a series of neurotransmitter responses that block pain. Quell can automatically deliver hour-long therapy sessions every other hour, and you can adjust the program or the intensity using an accompanying app.
What Our Testers Thought: "I run about 40 miles per week and tend to have pain in my knees when I walk. Some days it's so bad, I develop a little limp. I wore the device for an hour each night, right before bed, since the cuff and electrode were too bulky to wear under pants or tights. It stayed on while I walked around my apartment. I was surprised by how quickly it worked: The uncomfortable pressure I usually experience stopped after about three sessions." —Candy, 31

Photo: Courtesy of LumiWave


Who It's For: People dealing with muscle, joint, or deep tissue pain.
How it Works: LumiWave's four LED pods emit near-infrared energy, which is thought to help release pain-blocking endorphins and trigger the flow of nitric oxide to reduce inflammation. Place LumiWave directly where it hurts and use its handheld controller to pick one of two temps: 106 or 108 degrees. You should start feeling relief after two daily sessions, six hours apart.
What Our Testers Thought: "I pulled a muscle in my shoulder recently and used LumiWave when I went to bed that night. I didn't take an anti-inflammatory because I wanted to see how well the device worked. Where the band sat against my skin, I felt a very concentrated heat—not so hot that it was intolerable, but hot enough that I felt like it was doing something. I really noticed a difference. If I hadn't used it, my shoulder would have felt much tighter the next morning." —Valerie, 65

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