About Back Bubble
Claiming to be able to relieve your pain immediately, the Back Bubble is a medical device that aims to provide an effective alternative to pills and surgical procedures meant to treat chronic back pain.
If you suffer from disc problems, sciatica, muscular pain, or arthritis, the creators of the product claim that the Back Bubble can relieve up to 99 percent of your pain.
The device itself features an inflatable pillow section attached to a spring, allowing for it to use what the manufacturer refers to as air cushioned spinal decompression in order to relieve the pain and pressure in your back.
The product is the brainchild of Ronald Chase, and according to the website, it has been sold for over 30 years now. As of August 2017, the company held an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
The product's website recommends that it’s best to start off by using the Back Bubble two to three times daily for about two or three minutes a session. They also claim that the best time to use it is right before you lie down for the evening.
How the Back Bubble Claims to Work
Often, chronic back pain is associated with some sort of issue relating to the vertebral column, otherwise known as the spine. It’s in these cases that the Back Bubble claims to be able to help.
By hanging on the device, your lower back weight is supposed to decompress and relax the spine, releasing fluids to the area which ultimately push out inflammation and bring in healing oxygen that relieves the pain symptoms.
This stretching of the spine is a method often used in inversion therapy, where the participant hangs by their ankles in order to provide spinal traction and decompression.
The Mayo Clinic warns, however, that this is not conducive to long-lasting back pain relief, and may even be unsafe for those who suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease or glaucoma.
Of course, to be clear, users do not need to be inverted to use the Back Bubble, which might be one of its key selling points over traditional inversion tables. By allowing for multiple gentler, non-inverted methods of creating spinal traction and relieving tension, the product might be able to provide some unique value for those who can’t–or don’t prefer to–use inversion therapy as part of their ongoing pain management regimen but want the benefits that can come alongside spinal decompression.
According to WebMD, this sort of action can help promote movement of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids into the disks of the spine so they can heal, resulting in less pain overall (just as stated by the makers of the Back Bubble).
In the product’s commercial, the manufacturer claims that a clinical study was carried out that illustrated the device’s effectiveness in 99 percent of participants. We wanted to verify the study’s findings, so we reached out to customer support, who told us that they did not have access to this information.
They alerted us that they would issue a reply via email when they had one, but as of this writing, we haven’t received any additional correspondence. We’ll update this here should that change.
So, now that we have a more solid grasp on how the Back Bubble claims to deliver on the central promises it makes, let’s quickly unpack how and why we experience this sort of pain in the first place. After doing so, we should be in a better position to evaluate the Back Bubble’s effectiveness.
Setting up the Back Bubble
To set up the Back Bubble, you’ll need to blow up the inflatable chamber using the tab located on the main body. Seeing as inflation is manual, it’s important to note that you’ll need to be able to blow enough air into the chamber to fully inflate it; something elderly or disabled users might have difficulty with.
Afterward, you’ll attach it to the EZ Hanger, which itself needs to be installed to a secure spot in your home. Essentially, the device features tightening suction cup ends that can be fastened to the walls, providing a secure and safe position with which to hang the Back Bubble from. Customer support ensured us that installation was easy and could be done anywhere two solid walls exist close together, but they did not have any information about a potential weight limit when we asked.
A Note on FDA Classifications
You may have noticed that the Back Bubble claims to be listed as a class one medical device by the FDA. If you’re wondering what this actually means, the administration’s website tells us that there are three levels of medical devices that they use to categorize medical products.
Class two and three are for more dangerous items, while class one is for things deemed to be “low-risk,” such as dental floss, for example.
In this case, the Back Bubble is specifically designed for mitigating back pain. Before moving on, let’s examine exactly how the device claims to deliver the pain relief you’re looking for.
Understanding Back Pain
At one point or another, most of us are likely to experience some form of back pain. The causes for this can vary widely from habits like poor posture to muscle strains and injuries from sports or work-related accidents. According to WebMD, the following are common symptoms of back pain:
- “Persistent aching or stiffness anywhere along your spine, from the base of the neck to the tail bone
- Sharp, localized pain in the neck, upper back, or lower back -- especially after lifting heavy objects or engaging in other strenuous activity; (pain in the upper back can also be a sign of a heart attack or other life-threatening conditions.)
- Chronic ache in the middle or lower back, especially after sitting or standing for extended periods
- Back pain that radiates from the low back to the buttock, down the back of the thigh, and into the calf and toes
- Inability to stand straight without having pain or muscle spasms in the lower back”
They also list several red flags that may point to more serious back pain, such as:
- “A history of cancer
- Unintentional weight loss
- You have been on steroids or medication that weakens your immune system
- A history of trauma
- Pain that is getting worse and does not get better after you rest
- Pain that has lasted more than a month
- Nighttime pain
- Unresponsive to earlier back pain therapies
- A history of IV drug use”
Back pain can come on suddenly, especially as a result of an injury, and usually lasts less than six weeks. The Mayo Clinic reports that chronic back pain is less common than acute, short-term pain stemming from a fall or heavy lifting.
Treatment options include various over-the-counter and prescription medications, as well as regularly scheduled physical therapy and exercise. Surgical procedures can also apply, but according to the Mayo Clinic, these are very rare.
Often, gaining a real understanding of your back pain starts with having a conversation with your doctor about what you’re experiencing. By doing so, you may be able to also better understand your best options for managing the pain in the short term, as well as potentially eliminating it entirely with time.
Refocusing on the Back Bubble; how much will it cost you to get one for yourself?
Back Bubble Pricing & Returns
Though the Back Bubble looks to have a history on marketplaces like Amazon.com, as of August 2017, it appears to be offered exclusively through the manufacturer’s website. The product is available in two different purchasing plans; a one-time fee of $299.85 or a 15-day trial for $14.95.
If you opt for the trial, you’ll be required to either send the device back at its conclusion, or pay four equal payments of $99.95. These payments will be billed monthly. If you should decide to pay for it outright, you’ll be entitled to an extended 60-day money back guarantee (the standard offering is 30 days), as well as a five year extended warranty. In either case, you’ll be responsible for any return shipping charges.
Finally, with either order, you’ll receive the following bonuses:
- One precision steel traction spring
- One quick start guide
- One DVD: Relieving Back Pain For Life
- One EZ Hanger device
The Back Bubble vs. Alternative Back Pain Solutions
The Back Bubble sports quite a unique design, but is it truly the only one of its kind? Though there are a number of devices that claim to provide pain relief by decompressing the spine, we didn’t encounter any during our research on Google and marketplaces such as Amazon.com that mimicked the product’s suspended design directly.
Most of the similar products utilized inversion therapy, which we’ve learned is not effective at providing lasting relief from back pain, and may even be dangerous for some individuals, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Though the Back Bubble is no longer available there, its product page is still up on Amazon.com, complete with all of the reviews left by customers who purchased the device through the online marketplace.
As of this writing, it held a 79 percent five-star rating out of 73 reviews. These reviews were generally very positive, with dozens of customers mentioning that the product truly did help manage and alleviate their back pain. One individual even noted that they received a call from the inventor of the product directly after submitting a support request, saying that he spent 20 or so minutes giving tips for using the device properly.
Because there are so many different products out there that claim to help with chronic back pain, we have a few things for you to consider when shopping around for the one that’s right for you.
In general, always be wary of any miraculous claims of effectiveness until proven either by clinical data or by an overwhelmingly positive response from real, genuine customers. Make sure to leverage authority websites such as WebMD, Spine-Health.com and The Mayo Clinic in order to evaluate whether the decompression method used by the product in question can be expected to deliver results or not.
Finally, consider the price of the solution you are looking at. Inversion tables can be found online and in stores for a fraction of what the Back Bubble is currently sold for, but if you need the added convenience and safety that the non-inverted design allows for, this extra expense might be a worthwhile one.
Keeping all of this in mind, we’ll deliver our verdict and wrap things up below.
The Bottom Line: Is the Back Bubble Right for You?
The Back Bubble has been around for over 30 years, and based on what we’ve learned from trusted sources, as well as feedback gathered from customer reviews on Amazon.com, it certainly appears as though there are many people whom the product has positively impacted over this time.
Though we weren’t given any information on the clinical data mentioned in the commercial, we’ve learned that compression therapy can indeed provide relief from back pain, according to sources such as WebMD and Spine-Health.com.
We haven’t tested the product ourselves, of course, but the reviews on Amazon speak for themselves, and the main claims by the manufacturer do seem to be grounded in scientific fact.
As usual, before purchasing any product online relating to back pain, we’d recommend visiting with your physician to discuss the purchase beforehand.
No one device can truly eliminate back pain forever, and often, your local health care professional will be able to guide you towards a solution custom-tailored for your unique health and budgetary needs.
Have you used the Back Bubble before? If so, leave a review below and share your experience with other HighYa readers!