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Published on December 8th, 2011 | by Ruth


Giving Back Curves With BackJoy

We re­ceived a pack­age in the mail with a sin­gle mys­te­ri­ous black plas­tic piece in it. No box, no note. Our staff loves a mys­tery, so spec­u­la­tions be­gan at once. “Shield?” sug­gest­ed some­one. “Avant-garde hat?” an­oth­er par­ried. We be­gan de­sign­ing a new sport, where it dou­bled as a bat and a catch­ing glove. Af­ter a few more tries, some­one plopped on the floor on top of it and start­ed spin­ning. It was odd­ly com­fort­able. It turns out it’s the newBack­Joy, an or­thot­ic de­signed to com­bat back pain.

Ad­mit­ted­ly, most of us are not the tar­get mar­ket for the Back­Joy. We do, how­ev­er, spend many hours sit­ting at com­put­ers, typ­ing our thoughts for you, so we thought we’d give it a whirl. It’s ex­treme­ly light-weight, with a han­dle hand-hold for haul­ing be­tween home, car and of­fice, so min­i­mal ef­fort. In fact, the ma­te­ri­al might feel fa­mil­iar- it’s made from Ad­vanced Core Ma­te­ri­al. The same stuff as in Crocs! The idea is pret­ty sim­ple- we sit slouch­ing all day, ne­glect­ing prop­er seat­ed mus­cu­lar sup­port, and ig­no­rant as to what our prop­er pos­tures should be. The Back­Joy is de­signed to cup your butt mus­cles and prop you in­to a non-slouch­ing an­gle.

For the more anatom­i­cal­ly tech­ni­cal among you, the seat as­sumes that you’re sit­ting be­hind your sitz bones with a pos­te­ri­or pelvic tilt (aka, your low back is curv­ing un­nat­u­ral­ly out­wards while sit­ting as your pelvis tilts up in the front- a flat­ten­ing of the nat­u­ral back cur­va­ture). The seat over­comes that ten­den­cy, and can help you de­vel­op more healthy sit­ting habits. It al­so puts you at an an­gle where core mus­cu­lar en­gage­ment feels more nat­u­ral. Our quib­ble with the seat come in here: some of us have back pain from the op­po­site prob­lem- we have the more com­mon an­te­ri­or pelvic tilts (pelvis tilts down in the front, hy­per-em­pha­siz­ing the curve in the low back- your butt sticks out- as­so­ci­at­ed with spinal lor­do­sis). The Back­Joy did very lit­tle to re­lieve that pain. In fact, we felt it might in­crease it.

Ba­si­cal­ly, in our opin­ion there’s no catch-all fix for back pain, as much as we’d love to stum­ble up­on (or spin up­on) that holy grail. The Back­Joy, at $40, seems like a great so­lu­tion for some peo­ple. In­ter­est­ing to note, the prod­uct was de­signed for the founder’s fa­ther- pos­te­ri­or pelvic tilts are more com­mon in men than wom­en. For the rest of us, who have pelvic tilts the oth­er way, we have yet to find a mir­a­cle prod­uct to cure the pain. We can, how­ev­er, par­tic­i­pate in our new­ly mint­ed sport, “Back­atcha,” em­ploy­ing the Back­joy as bat, mitt and blud­geon.

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About the Author

The ampersand tattoo on her shoulder goes a long way towards explaining Ruth's outlook on life: there's always an "and." With TrulyNet, Ruth enjoys working on social media and writing... and editing... and... Ruth went to the University of Oregon, where she studied music, dance and cognitive psychology (and sleeping very little). While there, she designed classes and taught arts enrichment to talented and gifted grade-school students. After graduation, Ruth spent several years as a Market Analyst at a large law firm in New York. Feeling the pull back to the west coast, Ruth moved to San Francisco and worked for Stanford for a year before deciding to focus on her passion for the arts. Ruth spends more time on Facebook that she cares to admit. When not attached to the computer, working for TrulyNet, or dancing, Ruth rock climbs, knits, swims, obsessively plays Boggle, plays games, plays tennis, cooks, sips beer, wine and whiskey, and travels seeking adventure.

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