When you see the word "posture," does it automatically have you sitting up a little taller? Maybe it gives you flashbacks to your mother jabbing a thumb in the middle of your back to pull your shoulder blades together.
Even if you do opt to sit straighter, engaging your core muscles and situating your head high, how long do you actually hold this pose though before slumping back into the slouch that has become more comfortable for most people? Probably not very long.
Katherine Krug, like many Americans, used to spend 12 to 14 hours a day hunched over a desk, phone or computer trying to build her start-up — a platform that would help people better reach their personal goals.
Not only did this company fail to take off, but she was left with horrible sciatica pain from sitting poorly for long periods of time.
"I tried to find anything I could to get some relief," Krug told TheBlaze."As I was trying out all these different products, I couldn’t find anything that worked well for me. [But] many of them had lots of good parts."
The 32-year-old was one the more than 26 million Americans between 20-64 years of age who experience frequent back pain, which, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, is the leading cause of disability in Americans younger than 45 years old. The academy also says that people with back pain are more likely to have worse overall physical and mental health. You might also be surprised to know that more people in the U.S experience chronic pain, which includes back pain, than those who have cancer, diabetes, coronary heart disease or have suffered a stroke combined.
Krug, who has an entrepreneurial spirit programmed in her DNA, said she began tinkering with a friend to create a product that would help relieve her back pain and retrain her muscles to give her good posture even when she wasn't using it. Oh, and it had to be small enough to fit in her purse.
Krug started wearing her own makeshift device in meetings, on airplanes and everywhere she went. She said people were asking her what it was and, in the process, she was hearing from so many others about their aches and pains.
She said her friends kept asking to borrow it, so she took the time to improve the brace. Which brings us to Krug's BetterBack, a product on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter that has raised more than $800,000 — 60 times more than it's original $12,500 goal — from more than 11,000 backers, as of the time of this posting.
"I have been completely and utterly blown away every step of the way," Krug said.
BetterBack is a brace that goes around the wearer's waist and hooks onto the front of his or her knees to position the user's back in perfect posture, making it relatively easy to hold. The claim is that wearing BetterBack for just 15 minutes a day will retrain your muscles to hold perfect posture so even when you're not wearing it, you'll still have good form.
BetterBack also claims to make any chair you sit in an ergonomic one. Krug offers this challenge to you on Kickstarter:
Take a few seconds to re-posture yourself right now. If you’re sitting, chances are your back isn’t touching your chair at all. That’s because most chairs aren’t ergonomic, and many actually encourage bad posture. BetterBack makes every chair ergonomic. Sit effortlessly in perfect posture at your desk. Or on a plane. Or at a game. You get the idea.
Watch this video for more about the product's features and user testimony:
Fixing some chronic back pain issues isn't the only thing that improving posture can do. Sitting or standing properly can give you more self-confidence, increase your energy and happiness, make you less stressed, and improve your memory.
Krug pointed out that just wearing BetterBack isn't the end of the story to good back health though.
"Movement is key to your back. You’ve got to be moving to optimize back health," she said. "I don’t want people to just sit in it. It’s so important to take breaks.
"The goal is whenever anyone is sitting to be sitting properly. If you’re going to sit, do it right," she said.
Krug says her success on Kickstarter is more than just the financial. It has and will allow her to get feedback to even further improve BetterBack and created a worldwide dialogue about the issue of back pain.
"I feel like people have been suffering silently," Krug said, noting that people from around the world with different lifestyles than most Americans have been joining the BetterBack campaign. "I’m excited to try to build a community where people can share tips and see improvement of their lives."
"I’ve always cared about helping people live up to their potential," Krug added. "When you’re in pain, everything is numb.
You can’t even begin to focus on living up to your potential."
Learn more about BetterBack.