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Innovation & Startups

ActivAided Orthotics: a rehabilitative body suit for lower back pain

Watching an injured friend struggle for months with a restrictive back brace got Kelly Collier thinking.  A competitive swimmer and no stranger to sports injuries and back pain, Collier began looking for a better way to help lower back pain sufferers. 
A graduate of CMU, with a double degree in Material Science and Biomedical Engineering, she put her plans for a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at John Hopkins on hold and started ActivAided Orthotics, currently in Alpha Lab on the South Side. 
Teaming up with Dr. Gary Chimes, assistant professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the two designed a brace for healing, comfort and convenience. The custom rehabilitative body suit uses biofeedback to teach self-corrective habits to ease lower back pain, allowing users to recover while encouraging a healthy, active lifestyle. 
The system is not only lighter and more comfortable than braces now on the market, it provides back support that maintains neutral spine positioning with compression to unload pressure on discs, minimize pain and aid in recovery, explains Collier. 
"Instead of forcibly locking you upright, its postural training that teaches you how to move," she says. "By working with the body’s own natural abilities, we can help people to pursue their passions without limitations."
Suffering from lower back pain or spine disorders? The company is currently looking for local beta testers who have had little success with other methods such as pain injections and physical therapy. Click here for more information. 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Kelly Collier, ActivAided Orthotics
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