The mission of the AGR (Campaign for Healthier Backs): working together against back pain!
We believe that back pain is not a circumstance people just have to accept.
To this end we show people how to design their environment, workplace and home so that back pain is prevented.
In doing so, we ensure that our recommendations are
- independent and
- related to people’s lives.
We work with
- affected individuals,
- doctors and therapists,
- medical associations,
- specialist dealers
and many other stakeholders to help people achieve a life that is free of back pain.
We award the AGR seal of approval to products that truly help against back pain.
The mandate of the association is to promote research related to back pain prevention and to disseminate the insights gained from those research efforts, with the goal of making a contribution to combating the common illness of back pain (Section 2 of the AGR e. V. bylaws).
Consolidating and bundling medical expertise (from various specialist fields) about back complaints, informing, educating and above all helping affected individuals – those are the key objectives of the AGR (Campaign for Healthier Backs) founded in 1995. The association cooperates closely with numerous leading medical professional associations. Experts today agree that using back-friendly everyday products is an important element, an indispensable component of prevention and therapy, the avoidance or at least the alleviation of back pain.
The AGR shares knowledge about the causes of back complaints and possible solutions from the various medical specialist fields with affected individuals. It also awards the "AGR seal of approval" for back-friendly everyday products. Incidentally, the AGR seal of approval and the associated testing process have been rated "highly recommended" by the "Label online" rating portal. The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) also tested the seal of approval and found it to be absolutely reliable and trustworthy.
Here and in other industrialised nations, back problems are the most common cause for days missed due to illness. In addition to adults and older people, more and more people are already affected by back pain as children and adolescents. The causes of back complaints are usually very complex, including incorrect personal behaviour, improper nutrition, lack of exercise, negative mental stress, an environment that is not back-friendly and more.
People spend a lot more time sitting down today than just a few decades ago. At school, at the office or in front of the television: sitting is considered a stress factor. Young and old are equally affected by the lack of exercise.
Back exercises and physiotherapy are among the treatments for people affected by back pain. Here they learn a lot about back-friendly behaviour.
But what about back-friendly conditions? Do affected individuals know what to watch for when buying back-friendly everyday products such as office furniture, car seats, beds, shoes, bicycles, upholstered furniture, recliners and the like, and what characteristics such products should have? What should be the height of a back-friendly desk, and what settings are important for an office chair? What makes a bed or a recliner back-friendly? How do back-friendly shoes, classroom furniture, bicycles, car seats, upholstered furniture and the like need to be designed? Often the solutions and answers to such questions provided by manufacturers are entirely wrong. But even medical specialists are not always able to provide adequate answers here. Far too seldom are consumption and buying behaviour aimed at sensible, ergonomic products that are offered for many different areas of life today. Yet it has been proven that back-friendly everyday products provide important support. In order to raise awareness in this area, the AGR collects multidisciplinary information from medical experts. This knowledge of the various medical occupational groups is then bundled and disseminated to affected individuals as well as health professionals, therapists, psychologists and developers in the industry. As the selection of back-friendly products grows along with technical information and practical tips made readily accessible to the expert and layperson, this considerably improves the situation.
The AGR sees itself as an interface and intermediary for information about the causes of pain, prevention and therapy options. Multidisciplinary knowledge (from various specialist fields) is consolidated and made accessible to the expert as well as the layperson. That makes the AGR a special competence centre with know-how that is accessible to everyone. The AGR obtains current data and scientific insights from many thousands of cooperation partners in the medical professional world. They include Germany’s two largest back training associations, the “Bundesverband der deutschen Rückenschulen (BdR) e.V.” (Federal Association of German Back Therapy Training) and the “Forum Gesunder Rücken - besser leben e.V.” (Healthy Back Forum – Better Living) as well as numerous renowned medical professional associations in various specialist fields.
On the other hand, the AGR maintains close contact with the research departments of various industrial enterprises in many different sectors, whose products accompany people in everyday life. These include office furniture, car seats, beds, upholstered furniture, shoes, sports equipment, bicycles and much more. The AGR influences new product developments in order to continuously expand the selection for affected individuals. In addition the association is always striving for ergonomics in other areas of life where qualified, professional coverage has not been achieved today.
The AGR bundles information from the medical sector that is helpful in the development of such products and shares it with manufacturers. It promotes the direct transfer of knowledge between the two as well.
In concrete terms, this means that medical and therapeutic experts in various specialist fields develop requirement criteria for ergonomically optimised products jointly and in consensus. An independent expert commission comprised of various medical specialist fields reviews products against this catalogue of requirements and awards the AGR seal of approval to back-friendly products that successfully complete this strict process. The seal of approval is an important orientation aid for consumers in their search for sensible, back-friendly products and protects against costly bad buys.
These requirement criteria defined by the expert commission are compiled as comprehensible texts by the AGR team of authors and published on this website in the “Certified & recommended” section.
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