A Handheld Quantifiable Soft Tissue Manipulation Device for Tracking Real-Time Dispersive Force-Motion Patterns to Characterize Manual Therapy Treatment
IEEE Trans Biomed Eng.2022 Nov 15;PP.
Abhinaba Bhattacharjee, Sohel Anwar, Stanley Chien, M Terry Loghmani
Objective: Low back pain (LBP) is one of the leading neuromusculoskeletal (NMSK) problems around the globe. Soft Tissue Manipulation (STM) is a force-based, non-invasive intervention used to clinically address NMSK pain conditions. Current STM practice standards are mostly subjective, suggesting an urgent need for quantitative metrics. This research aims at developing a handheld, portable smart medical device for tracking real-time dispersive force-motions to characterize manual therapy treatments as Quantifiable Soft Tissue Manipulation (QSTM). Methods: The device includes two 3D load-cells to quantify compressive and planar-shear forces, coupled with a 6 degrees-of-freedom IMU sensor for acquiring volitionally adapted therapeutic motions while scanning and mobilizing myofascial restrictions over larger areas of the body. These force-motions characterize QSTM with treatment parameters (targeted force, application angle, rate, direction, motion pattern, time) as a part of post-processing on a PC software (Q-Ware©). A human case study was conducted to treat LBP as proof-of-concept for the device's clinical usability. Results: External validation of treatment parameters reported adequate device precision required for clinical use. The case study findings revealed identifiable therapeutic force-motion patterns within treatments indicating subject's elevated force-endurance with self-reported pain reduction. Conclusion: QSTM metrics may enable study of STM dosing for optimized pain reduction and functional outcomes using documentable manual therapy. Clinical trials will further determine its reliability and comparison to conventional STM.