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Mobile app helps you fight chronic pain from your desk

Sharon Florentine | Jan. 27, 2014
Experience chronic neck or back pain? Headaches or migraines? That expensive, ergonomic chair might be doing you more harm than good. But Voom, a mobile wellness app developed by two chiropractors, aims to tackle repetitive stress injuries.

Of course, the "simple" things are not always easy, he says, which is why the second generation of Voom includes features that can track users' progress, offer reminders and alarms, the capability to hit "snooze" if the time isn't convenient, Soltanoff says. Voom is currently available as an iOS app, and is also accessible through most common Web browsers, he says.

Another new aspect of the app is the "gamification," which can help motivate users by making the workouts competitive and fun, and include others in the process.

"We know most similar programs that address inactivity have less than a 10 percent user-engagement rate. Most people don't do them," Soltanoff says, "Because it's not fun, there's no competition or incentive. But with Voom, we're seeing now an 87 percent engagement rate since we added gameification."

Required Safety Equipment
Adoption of the Voom app may be driven by what seems at first to be an unlikely place, Soltanoff says; insurance companies. With workman's compensation claims rising because of increased repetitive stress injuries, many insurance companies might start pressuring businesses to implement solutions like Voom, or risk paying astronomically high premiums.

"The benefits to corporations and businesses are there," Soltanoff says. "If you can remove the cause for these injuries, inactivity, you'll see a decrease in workers comp claims, a decrease in absenteeism, and an increase in productivity and accuracy," he says, for less than $5.00 per month per employee.

Ultimately, Soltanoff hopes that Voom will become required "safety" equipment to prevent on-the-job injuries, and that inactivity will be considered as serious a health risk as smoking.

"The analogy is that you wouldn't send a builder to a construction site without a hard hat," Soltanoff says. "I hope that the same thing will happen with inactivity, and that people will help and encourage each other to be proactive about this so it changes the entire corporate culture," he says.


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