• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Photo: Headshot of Rich Barlow, an older white man with dark grey hair and wearing a grey shirt and grey-blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

Comments & Discussion

Boston University moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (EST) and can only accept comments written in English. Statistics or facts must include a citation or a link to the citation.

There are 9 comments on Could a Robotic “Backpack” Replace Opioids to Relieve Lower Back Pain?

  1. So you want someone with back pain to wear something on their back, shoulders and waist to help cure back pain. Seems counterproductive. How about we don’t have people sitting at a computer all day long. Getting physical exercise and strengthen leg, back, core muscles seems like a more viable option. Physicians shouldn’t be handing out opioids for back pain. Oh wait I forgot they get paid huge sums of money to prescribe those drugs.

    1. I wish you could have a little empathy. A lot of those people getting these pains work laborious jobs that involve physical activity. As the article said these pains can also be caused by strokes. You can’t control strokes or when they happen or what the affect, can you?

      I suggest you go back to the article and read it more carefully, and don’t compartmentalism yourself in the viewpoint that “everyone sits at the computer” and “just go outside and exercise!,” empathy goes a really long way.

      Also, these exoskeletons have been in use to assist physical laborers in Japan for a while (Honda especially makes a lower back device), so if you did a little bit of digging you’d know there’s a market for this stuff.

      1. GK I’d be willing to try anything new if it helped ease some of my pain. Living in pain 24 /7 is horrible. I’ve tried your suggestions and I need something more. I still work a fulltime job and push myself to the max.

      2. Thank you for coming to our defense, BME student :)

        GK — listen to that call for empathy. Sure, some people could see improvement with just lifestyle changes. But tell that to someone like me, when I was an active teenager suddenly debilitated by long-term, excruciating pain. Facing back surgery at 17. Opioids scared me so I never went on them; something like this would help me now when it comes to more intense physical activity, but even more-so back then when I’d remove individual sheets of paper from my folders and notebooks whenever possible, as reducing THAT amount of weight helped me be in less pain. So yes, we all need to exercise more and now I work a desk job. But why begrudge people technology that can help?

  2. I have a low back fusion from a helicopter crash injury. Could I volunteer for your trials. I get by with physical therapy and RFA shots. No pain killers.

    1. Yo, I’d be down to volunteer for the trial too. Day to day I do alright, but when it comes time for more laborious activity (like yardwork), I end up barely able to walk when it’s over. (And I’m sorry to hear about your accident Robin, sounds terrifying.)

  3. DEADLIFTS! For those of us who suffer (or used to suffer like me) from chronic lower back pain due to 3 bulging discs L-3 down to S-1, I discovered doing deadlifts has actually strengthened specific muscles around the spine that no other exercise I tried every did. I lived with lower back pain taking meloxicam or diclofenac daily as the pain got worse over a 20 year period. Then when I was 43 I discovered the Starr Rehab Protocol that essentially is designed to strengthen the specific lower back muscles that cause us so much pain. Ultra light weight, perfect form deadlifts was the solution for me, then building up to heavier and heavier weight. I can actually pick up my kids now and bend over and pick things off the ground without worrying about hurting my back!

    This may not work for everyone, but I’m sure it will work for a majority of the millions of Americans with lower back pain.

Post a comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *