IS AN EXERCISE BALL YOUR BEST OPTION?
Exercise balls are the craze right now, and have been for awhile. I’ve recently read stories of teachers replacing their students’ desk chairs with exercise balls, and CEO’s replacing their employees’ workstation chairs with these inflatable spheres. Sitting on an exercise ball certainly is better than sitting on a stationery chair, but are exercise balls your best option?
Surprisingly, several research studies suggest that the disadvantages of sitting on an exercise ball do NOT exceed the advantages of using one. In these studies, some exercise ball users not only complained of pain while using the ball for a prolonged period, but experienced negative physiological effects. Uh-oh. So, now what? My suggestion—try using a vestibular disc.
“A what?” you ask. A vestibular disc is an inflatable, 1-2 inch thick cushion that health care practitioners typically use to restore balance. These special “cushions” force you to activate certain spine-stabilizing muscles while you sit, and to maintain a dynamic seated position. I’ve witnessed numerous patients improve their back pain and discomfort after sitting on a vestibular disc. I suggest sitting on the disc (with the smooth surface facing up) for 20-30 minutes out of an hour for the first week or two of use. If you don’t experience discomfort after 20-30 minutes out of the hour, try sitting on the vestibular disc for the entire hour.