Hey everyone, it’s Medicine Mondays again. Today’s topic is only circumferentially related to Medicine. Today we’re going to talk about “What is BetterBack?”
As you all know by now, I’m a radiologist. And not only that, I’m a teleradiologist. The majority of my 10 hour shifts are spent sitting down. Yes, we do have standing desks, but my concern is sometimes the desks break down and you’re left with it stuck in one position until it can be fixed.
That said, because I spend a lot of my day sitting down, I do worry a bit about lumbar support and potentially getting back pain. As I’ve talked about before, I’m no stranger to back pain.
I was looking into this lumbar support things that you can buy for chairs. I also spoke to some of my colleagues who use other methods such as sitting on an exercise ball or one of those better posture stools. However, those methods seemed kind of weird to me to sit on for a long period of time.
However, one of my other colleagues mentioned he tried something called “BetterBack”. Apparently it was on Shark Tank awhile back. It kind of looks weird, but what was interesting to me was that they recommended you only do it for 15 minutes or so a day to start. Well then, that is something I can try out… right?
My friend says he actually wears it for between 30 minutes and an hour at a time. However, when I looked at the actual product it seemed very weird to me, it’s almost like a weight belt that you would wear if you were lifting weights. However, there are straps which go around your knees to redistribute the weight to your knees and keep your back straight.
Well anyways, I decided for about $50 it was worth giving it a shot since my colleague (who I trust) seemed to think it was helping him.
So I ordered it off Amazon and it came a few days later:
It comes in a nice little pouch which unzips. Then you sit on your chair (closer to the edge) and then put the pad behind your back. The straps then come forward and go around your knees. You keep your feet flat on the floor. Additionally, there is a clip in between the two knee straps that you can use to clip together, but is optional.
Here are the instructions with images:
So anyways, it was pretty easy to get set up. However, I must tell you that it feels really weird sitting up that straight especially since I’ve probably been slouching for a long time. I blame this mostly on college and medical school.
First things first. The first time I used it, I used the clip in the middle between the knee straps. I think they include this because it helps keep your legs more straight. However, I don’t normally sit with my legs that close together, so it felt really weird. My colleague told me he never uses the middle clip, so I probably won’t be using it anymore either.
So then, how did it feel?
Basically, it feels as if you’re propping yourself up. With this thing on, you can’t really slouch and it’ll feel really weird to be this restricted. However, after a few minutes that kind of subsides and you get used to it a bit. Then after the 15 minutes, you just take it off, pack it up, and put it away.
You would think that doing something for such a short time wouldn’t have a huge effect. However, there are definite lingering effects to wearing the BetterBack. I think the whole point of this product is to help you retrain your body to have better posture and sit more upright. After taking it off, I was more aware of my own posture and consciously trying to sit up straight. After awhile this effect kind of went away as the day wore on. However, the next day you do the same thing to retrain yourself again.
I’ve only had it for a few days so far, but I think that after a week or two, that you will unconsciously have better posture and sit more upright. Then rather than the product “training” you everyday, it’s more just for general upkeep, as a reminder to your back on how to sit up straight.
The idea behind BetterBack makes sense to me, but whether it works in reality or not is another thing. So we’ll just have to wait and see how things progress.
I can’t really comment on whether it helped with back pain because I don’t have back pain right now. Using this product (at least for me), was more of a preventive measure. I think that over a 20 Year Career of poor posture and prolonged sitting, that back pain was going to occur sooner or later.
Oh yea. Well, my wife wanted to try this other thing related to neck pain. This product probably works in a similar way, retraining your body so you don’t hunch your shoulders over and make your thoracic spine kyphotic.
This is probably also related to college/medical school being hunched over books for hours on end. This hasn’t stopped as attendings, hunched over writing or typing notes — or looking at computer screens. It may also have to do with how high cell phone usage nowadays too.
Anyways, there are a ton of them on Amazon, but the one we decided to try is called Posture Correct by VIBO Care.
My wife is currently trying this one out. Once again, this is something you wear for 20 minutes a day to start out. However, I think you’re supposed to gradually increase usage over time. Supposedly you can wear it underneath loose-fitting clothes as well.
Once my wife uses it for a bit longer, I’ll do a little review on it with her input.
I’m trying out BetterBack.
A friend of mine (who’s opinion I value) told me to give it a shot.
Rather than “correcting” posture. I feel like it’s more similar to “training” — like teaching your body how to sit upright correctly again.
My wife is trying out something similar for her neck.
I’ll keep you guys posted.
Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.
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