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Smartphone apps for the self-management of low back pain: a systematic review

Machado, Gustavo C.; Pinheiro, Marina B.; Lee, Hopin; Ahmed, Osman H.; Hendrick, Paul; Williams, Chris; Kamper, Steven J.

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Gustavo C. Machado

Marina B. Pinheiro

Hopin Lee

Osman H. Ahmed

Paul Hendrick

Chris Williams

Steven J. Kamper


Guidelines for low back pain (LBP) often recommend the use of self-management such as unsupervised exercise, booklets, and online education. Another potentially useful way for patients to self-manage LBP is by using smartphone applications (apps). However, to date, there has been no rigorous evaluation of LBP apps and no guidance for consumers on how to select high-quality, evidence-based apps. This chapter reviews smartphone apps for the self-management of LBP and evaluates their content quality and whether they recommend evidence-based interventions.
This chapter shows that generally app developers are selecting interventions that are endorsed by guidelines, although their quality is low. There are many apps available for the self-management of LBP, but their effectiveness in improving patient outcomes has not been rigorously assessed. App developers need to work closely with healthcare professionals, researchers, and patients to ensure app content is accurate, evidence based, and engaging.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 25, 2017
Online Publication Date May 25, 2017
Deposit Date Sep 1, 2017
Publicly Available Date Sep 1, 2017
Journal Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology
Electronic ISSN 1521-6942
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Low back pain ; Mobile app ; mHealth ; eHealth ; Systematic review
Public URL
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