UCOBO Coming To Kickstarter - Nov 23, 2021 !

Crack for your back: Pick the 1 back Support that is perfect for you!

It’s not his fault you suppose. You would have done the same too. Scratch that. You have done exactly the same thing. Murmurs of where to get great coffee hardly stay secret for long so Kopin Kofi was full. Well, near full, at just after 8 in the morning. There was just you at the front busy placing an order, weighed down by a backpack filled with laptop, and apparently another gun-slinger who, entering after you, quickly sized up the situation. He slid behind you to your left silently outmaneuvering you for the last ‘choice’ spot where you could sit, enjoy your barely sweetened ‘wake-me-up’ before getting to your work. You cursed yourself for the moment of inattention – you’re a veteran damn it! Well – not today.
Secure your spot. Then order. Secure your spot. Then order…

The only place left to sit is a rigid wooden bench with a straight back like the kind you might see at a park. Except park benches have some curve – a suggestion that they are intended for humans. This one will have your lower back pleading for the sweet embrace of the after-life before noon. You have to decline and leave. Time for plan ‘B’.

CONTENTS

change

Where you work is evolving

how you work may cause back pain

Identify your dominant work style

loaction, location…

Find the place that best suits your work style

your back support selector

identify the features most important to you to help you decide your comfort profile

compare your options

Depending on how you work or spend you free time

what to know before you shop

change

Where you work is evolving and play is evolving

It shouldn’t be a surprise. You have been noticing the trend for a while, even before COVID. Places to work outside of the office have become increasingly crowded and your ‘second home’, with the heavenly coffee, has also fallen victim. What was a trend became a more permanent shift as reactions to COVID have redefined what was possible and what was acceptable.


You don’t miss working in the ‘ivory towers’. The daily commute. The hovering manager easily distracted by presence over performance. Co-workers so close you could easily reach over and help yourself to whatever they were eating.

On days away from the office, you now walk your daughter and son to school. They reward you with things that were almost impossible to learn in the bustle of modern life. You also discover that an impromptu game of ‘tag’ with a 5-year old had you clutching your chest like an escaped convict within 200 feet – not good.
But time lost to the commute is used to great effect – you actually work more now that you have gained the travel time. Your husband, friends and family comment on how much more relaxed you are.
But the ledger does have an opposite side. You worry about missing the incidental, almost random conversations in the office that sometimes led to better solutions or avoided a pitfall.

Right now, though, you’ve got to find someplace to work and you can almost feel the inertia of the inbound emails gathering momentum since you signed off last night. Zaza will have to do today. Not quite as busy, uncomfortable but better than the bench in Kopin. Your first meeting doesn’t start until nine so you decide to search online for something that will make your back feel more comfortable while you work.
Being mobile is great for flexibility – you don’t have to work at home, but you do lose some control of where you sit which can be tough on your back.
There’s got to be something you can do to get comfortable – but what?

how you work may cause back pain

Identify your dominant work style


There is rightly a lot of print directed at the benefits of a good night’s sleep. However most people sit at least as long as they sleep. For office workers, the amount of sitting rises to over 8 hours on average. With so much sitting, it shouldn’t be a surprise that you’re experiencing back pain.

Also, since tension and stress are well known causes to a host of issues including back pain, knowing how you like to work is important for getting you into the right frame of mind. In the right place. With the right tools. A lumbar support will get you out of that familiar hunched ‘C’ shape and into the more natural ‘S’ shape.

The right environment helps you to be your best self. Because everyone is different, what works for one person could be a challenge for you. What is your style? What are the demands of your work? Where and what are you doing when you are at your most productive and / or enjoying yourself? Since most of your days revolve around work, it is a good place to start. Obviously work styles can overlap – that’s natural as needs and influences change. Where you spend your day deserves some thought – after all, what’s the sense of compromising if you don’t do your best work or enjoy yourself?


4 Work Styles to consider: Collaborate, Focus, Create and Rejuvenate




You recognize that your needs may change from day to day. While most of the time, you are deep in focus executing one plan or another, there are times you need to collaborate, be creative and to recharge. There are no wrong answers. You choose – knowing you can change later.

loaction, location…

Find the place that best suits your work style

Collaborate

DO: Find spaces that promote conversations.
DO: Influence leaders to create a shared space. If you are a leader, support shared spaces.

Focus

DO: Find spaces that minimize distractions.
DO: Encourage leaders to provide space to concentrate. If you are a leader who has influence, support FOCUS spaces.
DO: Come ‘armed’ with tools and strategies to control visual and sound distractions (ex.: sound cancelling ear buds).

Create

DO: Find spaces that stimulate ideas – even better if it is outside the office or someplace unfamiliar.
ALSO: Invite people from other disciplines or who don’t solve problems in the same way.

Rejuvanate

DO: Find spaces that encourage free thinking and play.
DO: Look for spaces that are unfamiliar (ex.: If possible, spend time on another floor in the office)

Back to your Back…

your back support selector

identify the features most important to you to help you make the perfect match.

First, recognize that although most back pain is usually benign, there are red flags – these are rare. However you know if you trigger any of these, you have to seek medical help as soon as possible:



It’s 10 and your morning meetings are done. You become aware that you are shifting around uncomfortably. Uh-oh.

‘I warned you – and you wouldn’t listen!

Your lower back has started to grumble. Like that inconsiderate college roommate that always comes in late, you know there will be a reckoning at 3am when you’re dead asleep. You remember the ominous sound of keys jangling in the door-lock signaling the end of your slumber; the futility of your fury directed towards the drunk which will be forgotten by morning. And that time, he had a ‘friend’…

Warning heeded. You take a moment to solve your problem…

What makes a great lower back support is unique to each person but there are definitely basic characteristics everyone can agree on. A back support must be supportive and comfortable. Fortunately, there are many options on the market – many of which claim to be comfortable.

Unfortunately, with so many choices it makes it very challenging to decide which one will work best for you when everyone insists theirs is the most comfortable and supportive. Not to mention price, product support and warranties. To make it easier, you focus on your needs and set other considerations, such as price, product support and warranties, aside for now

Padding: Only supports that retain their original shape, such as memory type foams, are considered because they adapt well to different people while remaining supportive; even more significant is the device is shared.
Inflatables: The current crop of inflatable type supports offer the great benefit of being light, small and therefore portable however there were too many complaints of inflation failures (ability to fill and/or hold air). In addition the relative comfort afforded by foam was generally higher than supports made of inflatable synthetics such as plastic.

Your Considerations:

Supportive and Comfortable
Table stakes. The bare minimum. It is impossible to argue that supportive and comfortable are the key items and outweigh all other considerations. A back (lumbar) support must have enough resistance to maintain the natural ‘S’ curve of your back while still being supple enough to serve as a shock absorber for the minor position changes you ask of it. In short – it must be strong and appropriately yield at the same time.

Secure Straps
What good is a good support if you can’t secure it properly? Regardless of where and how you work, this is a must. However if how you work involves different seating environments (example: you fly or drive a lot), it’s hard to imagine using straps around some of the provided seats. Still, strong secure straps are a must.

Portability
If how you spend your days involves some moving place to place before sitting, weight and size become more important. Being burdened with a heavy and/or large device just exchanges one problem with another. Supports with total weight over 3lbs (1.3kg) or height greater than 22” (56cm) were not judged to be portable and therefore were not evaluated for portability.

Thickness Control
This is the depth of the device, the distance between your back and the seat. Since every seat or chair is different and every human body is different, the ability to adjust a support depending on the situation becomes more important when you don’t have control over where you sit or changing you seat is not a good option.



Some people naturally have a deeper ‘S’ (lumbar) curve to their back and require a thicker cushion. Others may have a shallower curve and require a thinner cushion. When combined with the many types of chairs available, it becomes clear the ability to change depth is a distinct advantage. This becomes an even more significant feature if the support is shared.

Firmness Adjustability
Lumbar supports come with some type of padding, usually foam. The ability to alter firmness (soft, medium, firm etc.) may be desired.
This capability can be important when extended periods of sitting are unavoidable or the seat can’t be changed. For example: On a long drive, what seemed supportive at first, feels less so after a few hours.

FIRM

Harder to Squeeze

SOFT

Easy to Squeeze

Price
The support has to do what it is intended to do well to be rewarded with your business. Prices listed are regular and it is not uncommon to find items for sale less than the manufacturers listed price.



COMFORT PROFILES: Getting closer. Depending on what is important in your day-to-day, there are three main profiles.

Road Warrior
You are always on the go. You may work from home with flexibility as to where you work or spend your free time. You may be at the airport or between flights. You may be a student floating from lecture hall to library. Or you’re driving to your next sales presentation late at night in a rented car. One thing you all have in common: Your seat is not of your choosing. You need something that is versatile. That adapts to you and where ever you decide to go – portability, size and firmness are all important.

Home Ranger
Although you go in to the office once or twice a week, most of your days are spent at the ‘home office’. You generally attend meetings virtually. When the weather is warm, you work on your back deck or the park. You don’t even have to verbalize your order at the local coffee shop before it arrives by the time you make it to the front to pay. Portability is important to you as is size and the ability to adjust firmness because you are never quite sure where you will be sitting. But if you get squeezed out of your favorite spots, you can always return home where you have more control – the chair there is reasonably good but could use better lumbar support.

Office Jockey
Most of your days are spent in one location and you attend meetings locally – you are rarely way from your desk for long. You change offices but this occurs infrequently so having portable support is not as important. Similarly, the seats at the office are fairly standard, so while it there was some risk to getting the right size and firmness, your risk of multiple purchases is relatively low.

compare your options

Depending on how you work or spend you free time

SUPPORTIVE COMFORT is important for all supports. The additional items focus on how you work and spend your free time

ROAD WARRIORS:

Portability:

Weight should be about 1lb (.5kg) or less.
Weight is a premium, especially if you take on flights or carry to various locations. Something that feels light initially can wind up causing you problems in the longer run.

Size – 12” (30cm) wide or less
However you decide to use the support, it should be easy to transport to fit your needs. For example, fit in overhead storage or a knapsack. It shouldn’t get in your way.

Thickness Control:

Look for supports that can have the thickness adjusted. Chairs come in all shapes and sizes, with some having a little lumbar support (flight seat, rental car) and some have none at all (stadium seats).

Firmness Adjustability:

Look for supports that can change their firmness. Seats that are like beds. What is right for you in one situation may not be another. Even more important if you share the support.

Secure Straps:

Check for dual straps or those made of durable materials. When you’re on the move, you shouldn’t be shifting or fumbling about. Brands that solve for holding the product in place are better.

HOME RANGER:

Portability:

Weight should be about 3lb (1.4kg) or less.
Weight kept to a minimum to provide flexibility. If it’s too heavy – you’ll leave it behind. If you find you do work away from home frequently, maybe you’re really a Road Warrior in drag.

Size – 12” (30cm) long
Your support should be able to fit into whatever you use to carry your essentials, small enough that no special accommodation is needed.

Thickness Control:

Supports that can have the thickness adjusted as a bonus. You’re occasionally away from home so the ability to control thickness may not be quite as important to you but still desirable.

Firmness Adjustability:

Supports that can change their firmness as an added benefit. Even though you’re mainly home based, finding the perfect fit is desired for removing back pain.

Secure Straps:

Check for dual straps or those made of durable materials. May be less imperative however if you don’t move from your desk a lot (except to stretch / exercise of course!)

OFFICE JOCKEY:

Firmness Adjustability:

Look for supports that can change their firmness. As noted before, seats are like beds. What is right for you in one situation may not work in another. Even though you have more control over your environment at home, lean towards supports that can be adjusted as the hours roll by.

Thickness Control:

Look for supports that can have the thickness adjusted. The ability to control the amount of space between your spine and a support is always preferred even when you have more control over your environment.

Secure Straps:

Check for dual straps or those made of durable materials. When you’re on the move, you shouldn’t be shifting or fumbling about. Brands that solve for holding the product in place are better.

Portability:

Size and weight are flexible.

FOR ROAD WARRIORS:

TOP PICK: UCOBO™ – LOBAK™ $108 (sale)

Our own UCOBO™ is the only foam support that offers personalization. The LoBAK™ was designed to get around the usual complaints of padding firmness by providing a ‘many supports in one’ package where users can select from soft, medium or firm for personalized back pain relief. The LoBAK™ addresses size thickness issues by containing being configurable into 3 sizes: Full, ½ Moon and Small, making it adaptable to a wide variety of body types and chairs. Each size has soft to firm options. We ignore elastic type straps opting for 2” wide nylon, the same as car seat-belts, and uses aluminum clasps rather than plastic snaps to secure the device. The support is designed to go around seats, waists or slung across the shoulder – we have your mobility in mind. Covers are removable and washable.
Cons: Cost. This is a premium product designed and built accordingly.
Who it’s for: You desire the ultimate in flexibility office or abroad in a stylish package.
Vital Stats: 12” x 5” (Outer Support) or 12” x 3” (Inner support)/ 1lb (or less depending on configuration)

TEMPUR-PEDIC® – LUMBARCUSHION TRAVEL $59

Powerhouse Tempur-Pedic is the only brand here who avoids using straps opting for a grab ‘n go approach. The daring ‘no straps’ tactic pays off with a carefully dimensioned (10” x 9.75” x 2”) support that falls into the ‘right’ spot for most users with the bottom of the device resting on the seat. As with other cushions listed here, the Travel can have the cover removed and washed. Users comment favorably about the durability of this lumbar cushion and multi-year use is not uncommon. At a single pound, users found it easy to transport and the foam shaped to support while being soft enough.
Cons: Some had issues with firmness and harness in cold climates however Tempur-Pedic offer free returns and 5-year warranties.
Who is it for: You desire fuss free comfort (no straps) and like the crisp aesthetic.
Vital Stats: 10” x 9.75” x 2” / 1lb.

THE ORIGINAL MCKENZIE® – SUPEROLL™ $37

Sharing its namesake with inventor Robin McKenzie, OPTP (owner of McKenzie) prides itself in providing no frills options for masses. McKenzie offers no less than 7 supports – further evidence that it is plain difficult to satisfy everyone, everywhere. The SupeRoll™ is targeted at folks that do double duty at the office and on the road. The SupeRoll™ is compact, the lightest of all the looked at supports at just over half a pound and measuring 16″ x 2″ x 6″ so it is easy to take anywhere. It comes equipped with a removable, durable, wrinkle-free, 100% polyester mock mesh moisture-wicking cover. Fastening is accomplished using an elasticized strap that is attached to the support using hook and loop (think Velcro®).
Cons: Some find the firmness not to their liking and straps have failed when they become permanently stretched.

Who it’s for: You are mobile and budget conscious.
Vital Stats: 16” x 2” x 6” / .7lb


FOR HOME RANGERS:

TOP PICK: TEMPUR-PEDIC® – LUMBARCUSHION HOME & OFFICE $89

Similar to their Travel offering, the larger sibling does not come with straps but because of the thoughtful ergonomic design, users are very positive about the comfort and how it eliminates back discomfort. The thickness gains broad approval as it does not ‘push’ most users out from the back of the seat – a problem for many supports. The attractive dark color is kind to stains and can easily be removed for cleaning. Since it is larger, there is more real-estate to support your back and the foam padding seems near ideal as there were very few comments about firmness being off.
Who it’s for: You desire fuss free comfort (no straps) and don’t intend to use it for a lot of travel.
Cons: Larger, heavier than some users wanted, also be sure to check vendor policies as Tempur-Pedic® views these supports as personal and non-returnable.
Vital Stats: 15” x 15” x 4” / 3lb

UCOBO™ – LOBAK™ $108 (sale)

There is little more to add on the LoBAK™ that hasn’t been said above, in fact it weren’t for premium price – it would take the top spot, it isn’t for everyone. If you do spend more than a little time moving from place to place, or you want the best, it is the clear winner due to its flexibility.
Cons: Cost.
Who it’s for: You desire the ultimate in flexibility office or abroad in a stylish package.
Vital Stats: 12” x 5” (Outer Support) or 12” x 3” (Inner support)/ 1lb (or less depending on configuration)

LOVEHOME™ – LUMBAR™ $30

LoveHome™ stakes its claim by offering high-density, supportive foam support with removable washable mesh covers. The lumbar comes with dual adjustable straps to help keep things in place. The straps also have extensions when you need them. Near visually indistinguishable from Everlasting Comfort™ (reviewed favorably below), the LoveHome support is smaller than some of the Tempur-Pedic which helps with portability and is more than enough for most home applications. The zippers for the cover are metal, which is a benefit as users on some supports have experienced zipper failures. The LoveHome is sturdy and effective.
Who it’s for: Great for budget sensitive back pain sufferers.

Vital Stats: 13.4” x 12.6” x 4.1” / 1.45lb


FOR OFFICE JOCKEYS:

TOP PICK: OBUSFORME® – LOWBACK $75

Nestled within HoMedics Wellness group, Obusforme® has the longest history of any of the back support manufacturers with origins dating back to 1980. The Lowback has the largest dimensions (21” high). Make no mistake, this support is intended for those who stay planted at home or possibly in a vehicle. The Lowback makes up for its size with more spine support ranging from the middle of the back down. The product comes with a stretch strap to keep things in place and is composed of foam covered polycarbonate which differs from the others who use foam only. Key to its comfort is the removable, adjustable lumbar support which provides a degree of flexibility many of its competitors cannot match. Cons: Some find the single strap less secure.
Who it’s for: You sit for prolonged periods of time in the same location and you don’t need the flexibility to move around.
Vital Stats: 17.75” x 7” x 28” / 2.55lb

CUSHION LAB™ – BACK RELIEF $72

For Office Jockeys, this California outfit is difficult to beat. In fact the difference between this offering and the top spot is immaterial and down to individual preference. This is an above average ergonomic lumbar support. Available in 4 colors, Back Relief is different from most other offers in that it is contoured to shape the back which promotes good posture. The foam is soft and supportive and comes with a stretchable adjustable strap. The cover can be removed for laundering and it is breathable to keep you dry during the day. Cons: There have been rare comments about the support being too firm or thick but overall – very good value.
Who it’s for: You sit for prolonged periods of time in the same location.
Vital Stats: 16” x 16” x 4” / 1.35lb

EVERLASTING COMFORT™ $33

A perennial favorite on Amazon®, Everlasting Comfort™ has built a name for itself on the world’s most competitive ecommerce platform by building inexpensive products supported by a lifetime defects warranty. Though this product lacks the overall ergonomic curves of the top picks, the lumbar has great support and uses dual elastic straps to help keep things in place on most seats. The foam falls into ‘just-right’ for most users in terms of firmness. Being available in five colors is also a great bonus. There are infrequent grumbles about thickness and firmness (too soft or too firm) but that is par for the course for lower back supports. Broken clips are also mentioned however because of the lifetime warranty, the risk is more about lost time.
Who it’s for: Great for budget sensitive back pain sufferers.
Vital Stats: 13.4” x 12.6” x 4.1” / 1.6lb


Also Consider:

XTREME COMFORTS™ – XB $49
Xtreme offers a unique proposition for those who wish to be comfortable and minimize their impact on the environment with a 100% bamboo cover that promotes breathability that can be removed and washed. The foam appears to hit the right spot for most users as complaints here were few. Xtreme comes equipped with dual elastic straps to help secure it properly. It is also slightly larger than average measuring 16” x 13” x 5.2” which may be a good/bad thing depending on who you are and how you plan to use it. Be sure to check warranty and returns as some users have experienced issues here.
Who it’s for: You sit for prolonged periods of time in the same location and want something larger.
Vital Stats: 16” x 13” x 5.2” / 1.7lb

what to know before you shop

WATCH FOR RED FLAGS
Seek medical advice if any of these apply to you

KNOW THE TRIGGERS FOR BACK PAIN
Be aware of situations that cause your back pain whether you are at the office, on a long drive or at the ball game. This will help to build a mental map of situational causes and help you and your health team focus in on methods to get you back to yourself.

MOVEMENT IS MEDICINE
Sadly, most back pain, even recurring pain is normal. Your best weapon against pain is having the right attitude. It is not willpower, it is good habits. Good habits include staying active. Stretches are good as well. And don’t make a habit of sitting for long periods – break it up!

You are always sure to use your best judgement before exercising. If something doesn’t sound or feel right, stop and consult a health professional. See Disclaimer at bottom*…

Tip!

Pick on something you do normally and add a wrinkle. For example – the first 15 minutes of every morning you listen to the morning news in bed. The wrinkle: Roll over and do this for 1 minute:


KNOW YOUR STORES
Choose a vendor that accepts returns and has a generous warranty. In the same way different bodies react differently to different beds, lumbar supports are the same. Not every support will be a good fit – there may be nothing wrong with the lumbar – it’s just not for you!

FOCUS ON THE FEATURES YOU WANT
It’s easy to get distracted but by focusing on what your back pain triggers are you can shop with a better chance of success.

COMPARISON SHOP!
Very often you can find a better deal outside popular platforms such as Amazon, eBay and Walmart. Direct to market online stores and local bricks ‘n mortar shops often have great deals.
Sidebar: Amazon

Tools
Also called extensions that can be added on in your browser to help you judge.
– Camelcamelcamel – Shows you price history so you can judge the best time to buy.
-Fakespot and Review Meta – evaluate reviews and attempt to provide a ‘corrected’ assessment of review accuracy.

Amazon recommended
Just because Amazon says this item is recommended or highly rated doesn’t mean it is right for you. Amazon does not disclose how they select “choice” and reviews can and have been manipulated. Amazon knows of this issue and is working to minimize the effects. Best to take a look at the reviews yourself, your mind is the best tool for you to get a sense of what is going on. Don’t attach too much weight to any one review. Because of the way most of us process information, there’s a risk of over-reacting to negative information such as a bad review.

Seller Matters!
“Ships from” on the right had side of the page tells you whether the item is managed by Amazon directly “Amazon.com Services LLCAmazon.com Services LLC” or the seller directly. If shipped from the seller, Amazon’s regular service assurances such as 30 day full-refund or Returns and Refunds policies may not apply – make sure you check. In addition, there may be discounts for delaying your order and saving on shipping fees.

Roamers

Travelers

People on the Go

9 COMFORT CHOICES

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