New IMA device could improve diagnosis, treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain

More than 100 million people across Europe suffer from chronic musculoskeletal pain, with an estimated 40 per cent undiagnosed.

Ageing populations throughout Europe means that this only going to increase in the coming years.

With the cost to healthcare systems estimated at billions of euros every year and lost production days costing UK businesses an estimated £804 million annually, the need for effective treatment and monitoring of such conditions has never been starker.

To help address this issue a team of technical engineers and physiotherapy experts from across Europe have come together to develop a solution that will aid the speed and quality of treatment by physiotherapists and related professionals.

The result is the Intelligent Motion Analysis (IMA) device, which for the first time, will allow physiotherapists to quantitatively track and monitor patient developments without having to refer patients to clinicians and consultants.

The device, which cost £2.8 million to develop, is the first of its kind to track both the range of motion of joints and the electromyography of the muscles needed to generate movement.

It is expected that the IMA will rapidly improve the speed and accuracy of diagnosis and treatment.

Speaking about the development David Cartlidge, principal project manager for the Intelligent Systems Research Institute – a Pera Technology company, said:

The overall aim of the Intelligent Motion Analysis device is to improve treatment for patients, while at the same time alleviating the burden on health care systems and businesses.

The initial results are extremely promising and we’ve so far developed six prototypes that are undergoing field tests at physiotherapy institutes in Spain and Iceland. We’re also in the process of compiling data on more than 500 people from across Europe to act as a benchmark for testing.

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