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The Real Cost of Bad Posture & Back Pain.

Nearly half the adult labor force suffers from some form of chronic pain and 40% of Americans experience head, back or neck pain which negatively impacts their enjoyment of life and ability to work[i]. The estimated cost to US employers from lost working days and reduced productivity for back pain alone is over $7 billion per year and over 70% of these costs come from exacerbation of existing problems.[ii]

Fortunately employers can significantly reduce the costs of treatment, insurance and reduced productivity by empowering their workforce. Through educational programs to build greater awareness and the provision of appropriate tools or training employers can foster cost-saving and life-saving behavioral changes. Employees benefit from being supported to prioritize their physical wellbeing and healthier staff provide huge long term financial benefits and immediate cost savings.

Cause for Concern

Even the mildest pain reduces our ability to concentrate and focus on everyday tasks – severely impacting the ability to perform in the workplace. Living with chronic pain gradually wears down motivation and is correlated with an increased risk of depression, stress, fatigue and reduced self-esteem.[iii]

Repetitive tasks, such as working on an assembly line, and heavy lifting used to be the most common causes of back pain or injury on the workplace. However, the increased prevalence of desk based jobs and our modern sedentary lifestyle is creating an alarming increase in back problems. Lack of exercise, poor posture and long periods sitting still has reduced the spinal health of the nation and over 10% of the population experience lower back pain (double the incidence of the previous decade).[iv]

Inactive and Ineffective

‘Sitting Disease’ is a very modern phenomenon which is increasing at epidemic rates – we spend on average 7.7 hours sitting every single day[v]. The human body was simply not designed to stay so still and the health implications of inactivity are starting to become apparent. Heart disease, diabetes and even premature death have all been linked to a lack of physical activity[vi]. Jobs that require long hours sitting at a desk, or other sedentary position, combined with hours spent in front of the TV are negatively impacting physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

  • Physical activity assists the transport toxins out of the body, supporting the immune system
  • Movement causes the release of hormones which improve mood and aid longevity
  • Lack of movement is associated with lethargy and reduced energy – which many use as an excuse to justify inactivity
  • Sitting still has a negative impact on metabolism increasing the risk of diabetes and contributing to weight gain
  • Simply standing up burns 30% more calories than sitting down!

Motivating Movement

While exercise is hugely beneficial health it is only part of the solution – sitting still all day during the week is not outweighed by running a marathon at the weekend. To avoid the potential health risks of inactivity at work employers need to develop long term strategies to support their staff. There are a wide range of options that can be considered to prevent inactivity, increase movement, strengthen muscles and prevent problems.

From a change management perspective employers need to raise awareness of the problems associated with inactivity before they can expect employees to take action. Most people have no idea of the severity and likelihood of back problems and negative health outcomes from simply sitting still. Corporate Wellbeing Campaigns often miss this vital step in implementation – if you develop and nurture an awareness of the problems the desire to change comes from within.

relax-upright-posturePractical Solutions

To help staff make meaningful changes employers need to support a variety of workplace adaptions, including:

Standing Desks – these allow employees to stand while using the computer, draw, design or any other activity which requires a desk. This workplace adaption is increasing in popularity, however, is not a new invention and was reportedly used by Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. They take a little time to get used to (for example finding the correct posture and rebuilding the muscles needed to stand upright) but provide a safe and effective way to get the job done without the risks associated with sitting still.

Treadmill desks – a little more extreme these allow people to actively move and walk, or even run, while working. They take a high degree of concentration and definitely some practice and are more suited to hands-free activities like talking on the phone. Research has shown using this style of ‘desk’ for periods during the day improves physical and psychological wellbeing without impacting performance.[vii]

Standing Space – there are many tasks typically performed while sitting at a desk which don’t actually require the desk (for example: short meetings, talking on the phone, reading etc.) By providing employees with alternative spaces they can chose to stand, or even walk around, while working. Creating pleasant and supportive environments is critical to encouraging change – a nicely lit, ventilated, bright space full of oxygenating plants will inspire employees to use it.

Movement Breaks – one of the most effective ways to prevent injury is to take regular movement breaks. Simply standing and stretching for a few minutes has a huge impact. Employees often find it difficult to take breaks, especially when facing tight deadlines, so need active encouragement to stop working for a few minutes every hour. In addition to the physical benefits a quick stretch or brief walk helps wake-up the mind and enhances mental clarity.  This behavioral change can be stimulated with: desktop timers which remind people to take a break; outdoor spaces to get some fresh air (away from dedicated smoking spaces!);  marked ‘walking routes’ around buildings; incentives for employees who do take breaks.

Physical Assessments – many people are not in tune with their own physical requirements and need individual attention and assessments to identify potential problems. The mind is very ‘happy’ ignoring big issues and gentle advice – given with the right intention  – can motivate individuals to look at personal health challenges. Often people become overwhelmed when faced with significant health problems, such as being very overweight, and greatly appreciate individual attention and a joint plan of action.

Tools and Training – the freedom to work comfortably requires the provision of appropriate equipment and knowledge. Blue tooth headsets, postural supports, correctly sized desks and chairs are all effective in practically supporting staff. Empowering employees should also include training, specific to the job and a general understanding of how to enhance spinal musculature and sit correctly to prevent problems later in life. The provision of effective resources also communicates an organizations genuine dedication to employee well being.


[i] Institute of Medicine of the National Academies Report. Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research, 2011. The National Academies Press, Washington DC. (page 260)

[ii] Spine 2006, Dec 15;31(26):3052-60, Back pain exacerbations and lost productive time costs in United States workers, Ricci JA, Stewart WF, Chee E, Leotta C, Foley K, Hochberg MC.

[iii] Mayo Clinic, Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D. “Is there a link between pain and depression?”

[iv] Archives of Internal Medicine, 2009 Feb 9; 169(3): 251–258. “The Rising Prevalence of Chronic Low Back Pain”

[v] Sitting Disease by the Numbers

[vi] Harvard Health 2015, Julie Corliss (Executive Editor of Harvard Heart Letter) “Too much sitting linked to heart disease, diabetes, premature death”

[vii] Preventative Medicine, 2015 Jan;70:50-8, A systematic review of standing and treadmill desks in the workplace.


Don’t Let Bad Posture Make You Look and Feel Old

Anti-aging products generate almost $200 billion annually worldwide, yet most of their benefits are purely cosmetic. However, not only can bad posture add years to your appearance, it can accelerate many of the physical problems that come with aging. Here are some of the reasons why you may want to make your posture a priority from now on.

Bad posture makes you look old…and fat.

Standing up straight, with your head held high, pulls your belly in naturally. Slumping over will cause rolls of fat to appear on your upper abdomen, and that’s not all. Janice Novak, author of Posture, Get it Straight notes that “…when you are slouched over, your internal organs have nowhere to go but down and out—you immediately look fatter.”

Additionally, you can literally become hunchbacked. Building up fat to protect the spine is how your body alleviates the stress of misalignment. The result is a hump on your upper back.

Bowel movements can become an issue.

In any diagram of the human body’s internal organs, you will notice that they are shown in a body that is standing upright. So, if you stop to think about it, slouching will definitely affect their placement. Unsurprisingly, that will in turn negatively affect their function.

Significantly arching your spine can cause your intestines to sag. This often leads to constipation.

Upright | Good posture benefitsLong-term bad posture can result in muscle distortion that affects your balance.

For every muscle group working in one way, there is a muscle group working in the opposite way. These counteracting groups are called agonist and antagonist muscles. Poor posture sometimes means that you are constantly working one group without the opposing muscles getting the equal amount of exercise they are supposed to have.

The result is often some muscles being stretched longer than they are meant to be, while others are being excessively shortened or tightened. Such distortion can cause decreased balance and range of motion.

Where did those aching joints come from?

Our bodies are miracles of engineering. But, simply put, they are meant to work at peak efficiency in an upright position. Our joints are given the amount of protective tissue they need according to the amount of load bearing they are expected to experience. A misaligned spine distributes weight improperly, causing some joints to bear more weight than they were meant to.

The areas most commonly affected by this misalignment are the knees, spine and shoulders. So if your posture is too bad, for too long, you may find yourself with the aching joints that would not be expected until much later in life.

What’s the solution?1

It’s challenging enough to try and slow down the natural aging process, so you probably don’t want to hasten it unnecessarily. The problem is, breaking the habit of a lifetime can be really difficult. It means entirely retraining yourself, and learning good posture is no different.

However, reacting to the gentle vibrations of the UPRIGHT is actually involuntary. That means UPRIGHT’s method of training almost completely subconscious, so you barely even have to think about it. Never has breaking a lifelong bad habit been easier, or faster.


Sit up! This is what’s happening to your back.


We won an award

The IAC (Internet Advertising Competition) awarded us with the title of “Best Technology Online Video 2015” for:

HUGE shoutout and thanks to TROSS for making it happen!


Dr. Hannigan’s Story: “After 2-3 weeks with the UPRIGHT – not a single bit of pain”

10675afThe beauty of your device is it trains and forces one to hold and maintain a lordotic “C” shaped concave curve. For the health of the nerves in the neck and lower back that curve is of paramount importance. The spine should be flexible and pliable but always return to that shape. When it is flexed forwards repeatedly and excessively it over-stretches the ligaments and disc fibers until they ultimately become “threadbare” and when they reach a “tipping point” – they will fail…disc bulges, nerve impingement
There’s no better proof of this than my lower back which has been a nightmare for 4 years (and, btw, I get adjusted constantly…), and after 2-3 weeks with the Upright – not a single bit of pain.

Dr. John Hannigan

Chiropractor and owner of Hannigan Chiropractic P.C.


Which Celebrity Posture Do You Have? [Quiz]

That’s right – now you can discover who your TRUE doppelgänger is…

Take the quiz to find out!


Esther’s Story: “This device has improved my posture, created awareness, and increased my overall study time”

“I have been using the Upright device for a few weeks now. I mostly use the device while studying at my desk and during class.

I have found that it helps me stay focused at my desk for longer periods of time.

Knowing there is something monitoring my posture helps to keep me sitting longer because I want to see how long I can keep an upright posture. While studying,  I have found whenever I become frustrated, tired, or when my mind begins to wander I slouch. The UPRIGHT then vibrates and I become aware of these feelings and thoughts, and can quickly correct them.

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Tara’s Story: “It was an empowering realization that I am a strong and capable woman”

image“While using the UPRIGHT device I realized how much a truly do slouch on a regular basis. The vibration it uses truly is a great reminder to sit up straight. I found myself sitting up while wearing it out of fear the device would alert me.

After using upright I noticed myself slouching in all sorts of different situations and the one I noticed the most was while I was at the gym. The gym has mirrors all around so I could see myself almost anywhere I turned. While resting in between sets I could see myself slouching in the mirror.

When I would adjust my posture I noticed I not only looked better, I felt much better as well.

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M.PT Ido Dana: My Experience With UPRIGHT

1959468_900750793302508_2081056548997049551_nWhen I came across UPRIGHT for the first time, I immediately recognized its potential as a biofeedback training device.

While all the traditional advantages of using biofeedback were clear, I also saw the advantage of UPRIGHT being a wearable device, opening a wide range of possibilities that a normal biofeedback device cannot provide.

We began using UPRIGHT, the first wearable biofeedback rehabilitation device, in our practice as a tool to improve posture. We started with patients with pronounced postural disorders such as kyphosis, scoliosis, as well as patients experiencing muscle weakness due to neurovascular diseases such as MS, and patients with walking and balance difficulties due to Parkinson’s. In all of these cases, we believed that patients would substantially benefit from using UPRIGHT.

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UPRIGHT winning the Fresh Award at DISTREE EMEA 2016

Thank you DISTREE for honoring us with the Fresh Award at the DISTREA EMEA Conference 2016.

Check out Upright’s business manager, Ori, accepting the award at the show…

Thank you for hosting us DISTREE, see you next year!


What do Leo and Turtles have in common?




First of all, a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Leo for finally locking in that statue – it’s been a long time coming and we’ve been rooting for you. Unfortunately, your posture was far from statuesque on that stand.

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Do you have turtle posture or power posture?

This question haunts us.

Did you know that the way you sit hunched over at your desk has a name? Well it does, and it’s called ‘Turtle Posture’. Thank you Huffington Post for teaching us all why being a turtle sucks, and why upright posture matters.

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