Need back pain relief? There’s now an app for that. Literally.
A new device called LUMOBack is a sensor that provides a gentle vibration to remind you to sit or stand straight when you start to slouch. It is worn on your lower back and the sensor connects wirelessly to your smart phone and tracks all of your posture and physical activity.
The LUMOBack was designed to be worn under clothes and its primary target group is office workers who spend the day sitting at a desk and working on the computer. The device can help people break bad posture habits that can lead to chronic back and neck pain by buzzing when it detects bad posture. Then an avatar in the synced smart phone app shows users how to correct their posture. LUMOBack also continuously collects data on how much you sit, how often you stand, and your position while driving and sleeping.
The company behind LUMOBack was founded by Stanford entrepreneurs Monisha Perkash, Dr. Charles Wang, and Andrew Chang. The idea for the company grew out of Andrew’s efforts to find relief for his chronic back pain, which left him frustrated and negatively impacted his productivity. Andrew tried many treatments but got the best results after taking posture classes that taught him how to sit, stand, and sleep properly. The classes changed his life and sparked the idea for a new product to offer the same training without attending classes.
So Andrew and his partners ran a Kickstarter campaign hoping to raise $100,000. They ended up raising double that amount and the company was born. The ultimate goal is to market LUMOBack to companies that provide employee-wellness programs, physical therapists, hospitals, and consumers looking to complement chiropractic treatments. Monisha Perkash says LUMOBack would be a valuable tool for fitness centers and for athletes who want to improve their form when running and lifting weights.
Whether or not LUMOBack takes off, the premise is based on valid medical data. A recent survey found that the average American sits more than six hours of every workday, which accounts for 75 percent of their time at work. Nearly two-thirds of Americans report experiencing negative health effects, most notably back pain, from using technology like mobile devices and computers.
A British healthcare provider found that more than 80 percent of young people suffered back pain in the previous 12 months resulting in more lost work time than their parents’ generation. Much of that was attributed to the growing phenomenon dubbed i-posture—a hunched back and bent neck caused by looking down all the time at cell phones and other electronic devices. In that position, the chest muscles tighten and the back muscles weaken from overstretching.
Practicing good posture, however you achieve it, can prevent the condition and prevent a life of chronic pain.