Do you have forward neck? I do. It’s also called forward posture or sometimes text neck. This condition is common among people who read and increasingly so with folks who spend lots of time using computers or craned over smartphones and tablets. Forward head is painful and over time can aggravate your system and health because if you don’t do something to make it better, it’s likely to get worse. According to Namu, 80% of Americans have forward posture or text neck and besides pain, the undesirable effects can include increased cortisol (the “stress hormone”) and decreased testosterone (you know what that’s for).
I learned I had forward neck when a physical therapist I was seeing after shoulder surgery mentioned it (he has it, too). I saw a doctor who ordered x-rays and confirmed the diagnosis. With additional therapy and exercises I do several times a day (head turn, head side to side, chin up neck in) I’m hoping I have my forward posture under control – it certainly doesn’t ache as much. But I really don’t know how I’m doing with it because I’m too busy with my head bent over a keyboard (as I am right now) to monitor my posture.
So what does it do and why is Alex different from other posture correction Health Tech devices? The biggest clue is where and how you wear it. Previously we’ve looked at Upright, Prana, LumoLift, and Zitko Walk. Those devices are worn on your lower back, wrist, or pinned to your lapel. Alex is different.
You know those dudes who wear their sunglasses backwards when they aren’t using them? You know, with the lenses resting on the back of their necks and the side pieces of the frame over their ears? Well, you wear Alex the same way. And it turns out that’s a great place for it because sensors within the device read the angle and position of your neck relative to your body. After a short time with bad posture, Alex vibrates to signal you to sit up straight. Alex connects to a smartphone app via Bluetooth to monitor your posture real-time and over time. You also can use the app to calibrate the device to your own body and to set the vibration alert interval.
The growing awareness of text neck, forward head, forward posture, whatever you call it, along with the ubiquity of handheld devices and avid users are market drivers for this Health Tech category. If Alex works as promised its visibility may be a sign of techy health-awareness.