What characteristics does a product have
- to fulfil to provide the spinal column and the locomotor system with optimum support,
- providing relief and not acting as a burden for the user?
As this is not immediately apparent in most products and as industry and the retail sector also talk lots of rubbish in his respect, the Aktion Gesunder Rücken (AGR) e.V. has developed a decision-making aid for consumers: the AGR seal of approval.
It is awarded only to products whose back-friendly design has been verified by an independent testing committee made up of experts from various medical disciplines. The special and at present probably unique feature of the seal is the medical, multidisciplinary approach to deciding which products receive the AGR seal of approval, without being influenced by industry which is frequently led by its own pure sales interests.
This approach also convinced the magazine ÖKO-TEST, which awarded it a "very good" rating, as well as the portal "Label-online" of the federal association "Die Verbraucherinitiative e. V.", which rated the seal of quality as "particularly recommendable".
Commodities with a back-friendly design are essential and important aids in both preventing backache and in treating diseases of the locomotor system. But it is not always easy to decide which product is the right one. The seal of approval developed by the AGR together with Germany's two largest back school associations therefore provides valuable assistance for consumers when purchasing ergonomic everyday commodities such as office furniture, car seats, beds, bikes, upholstered furniture, shoes, satchels, furniture for children and youngsters, home workstations etc.
The strict testing criteria and the composition of the committee with designated medical experts means that the AGR seal of approval is well accepted in the medical world. This has been verified also by the results of a major survey on backache conducted among around 1,000 orthopaedic specialists in Germany. 90% of those interviewed said that patient willingness to use back-friendly everyday commodities constitutes a crucial success factor, also with regard to therapy. 71% even said that they preferred to recommend their patients aids that bear the AGR seal of approval. For consumers too, the seal has become established as a clear decision-making aid, signalising: "this is a back-friendly product!"
You will find a comprehensive list of all product segments and complete, helpful information about what to watch for in our back products ABC.
Comments on the seal of approval
I bought a bicycle 10 years ago. The AGR seal of approval was one of the reasons for my choice and I have never regretted my purchase! The AGR assists occupational therapists with back health consultations. Not just with the seal of approval, but through many other offers as well. Here the focus is always on solutions for day-to-day life. These may be back-friendly products, like my bicycle or others such as furniture, mattresses, shoes or tools bearing the seal of approval. The other focus is on changing one's behaviours along with corresponding prevention programmes. We are thankful and appreciative of the enriching, long-term cooperation between the AGR and DVE (Deutscher Verband Ergotherapie e. V.).
Forum Gesunder Rücken – besser leben e.V. (Forum Healthier Backs – For A Better Life)
It is meanwhile undisputed that situational prevention plays a vital role in the whole complex of preventing backache. This involves not only personal involvement but also the ergonomic design of commodities that play a major part in our daily lives: at home, in the workplace, at school and in our leisure activities. The AGR seal of approval offers important, valuable and proven guidance for consumers.
Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft für Haltungs- und Bewegungsförderung e.V.
(Federal Consortium for Posture and Exercise)
Faulty design of the spine!?
Since man started to walk upright, he has experienced meteoric advancement. However, modern lifestyles are detrimental to this evolutionary achievement.
For us, the "art" now consists in finding the right balance between our genetic heritage and progressive culture. In terms of spinal health, for years now the seal of approval awarded by the AGR e.V. (Campaign for Healthier Backs) has provided consumers with fundamental assistance when making purchasing decisions.
Back pain is among the chronic illnesses in Germany that rob affected individuals of the most years of a healthy life. Behaviour and condition-oriented prevention continues to be the number one way to combat this widespread disease. The AGR established the field of condition-oriented prevention in Germany over many decades, making a prominent name for itself. Today, condition-oriented prevention without the AGR would be unthinkable. We wish Mr Detjen and his team continued great success!
und Gesundheit bei der Arbeit (Basi) e. V.
Musculoskeletal disorders are the most common cause of incapacity for work, severe disability and premature disability in Germany and internationally. Counteracting this is the task of a large number of experts who advise companies on matters of safety and health at work. For them it is very helpful to be able to draw on the AGR seal of quality.
… may I congratulate you on your initiative and achievements with the AGR seal of approval, also on behalf of the General Management Board of the DGVP e.V. (Health Action Group).
The current and future conditions of human life with regard to lifestyle, overeating, inadequate exercise, limited education and increasingly insufficient upbringing result in further expansion of chronic illnesses.
Here the focus is placed primarily on serious spinal conditions. A high, verifiable standard of quality is indispensable to avoid these illnesses and alleviate the ailments, as well as improving the quality of life of the population.
The AGR seal of approval has become a constant factor in providing advice on service issues related to the prevention and therapy of spinal conditions. The AGR seal of approval is a guarantee not just for us doctors when it comes to top quality advice for our patients. Avoiding backache is what counts essentially, and this is where the AGR makes a great contribution.
Musculoskeletal disorders are the most frequent health problems encountered by company doctors in dealing with the workforce. Our association supports the work of the AGR e.V. (Campaign for Healthier Backs); the AGR seal of approval helps consumers by providing information about back-friendly products.
Facts about awarding the AGR seal of approval
If a manufacturer wants to use the quality seal for a product, he must prove the back-friendly benefit in a test.
This test is not carried out by Aktion Gesunder Rücken, but by two medical associations (Forum Gesunder Rücken besser leben e.V. and Bundesverband deutscher Rückenschulen e. V.), which form an independent committee of doctors and therapists.
Only if this committee recognizes that a product can really help to avoid back pain, the seal of approval may be used. The manufacturer must present the mode of action of the product and submit evidence (e.g. in the form of studies).
In order to be able to use the quality seal, a user contract between the manufacturer and Aktion Gesunder Rücken is necessary.
The most important points are:
- The manufacturer's obligation to notify the Healthy Back Campaign and the assessment body of any changes to the product that might affect ergonomics. The panel will then decide whether the modified product requires a review.
- Linking the quality label to scientific findings. If previous medical findings that led to the award of the seal change, the manufacturer must improve the product accordingly or may no longer use the seal.