RE: Ball chairs and their kin

Subject: RE: Ball chairs and their kin
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, Dan Goldstein <DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2011 13:53:10 -0400

I haven't used either of those ball chairs, but I did use a
ball as a chair for about two years.

Like many things that are hyped, it did some good, but
not as much as the hype would suggest.

And you have to wear jeans all the time...

For somebody who has a lower-back problem, for which
they want to try a ball-ish chair, I recommend getting
an exercise ball, instead. Most lower-back problems
(those that aren't an already-ruptured disk, in which
case no chair will reverse that...) are problems of a
TIGHT lower back coupled with a relatively looser,
sloppier abdomen.

I'm not recommending the ball as a chair.
Instead, a couple of times a day, do a "plank" exercise,
using the ball.

That is, your toes are on the floor, your elbows/forearms
are on the ball, and you attempt to keep a straight line
from the top of your head to the soles of your feet (no
sagging of the hips, and no butt raised toward the ceiling).

While in that position, stir with your forearms. That is,
roll the ball (which is supporting the upper half of your
body) in little circles, controlled by your forearms.
Maybe a six-inch-diameter circle of movement - the top of
the ball wobbles a bit, with you on it, in controlled

You will find this surprisingly ... um... engaging for
your triceps, but the main target is your core, which
must struggle to help you stay balanced on the ball
while your forearms are stirring it around.

Your lower back is already strong-ish and, no doubt,
tight, so your frontal and lateral abdominal stabilizers
are worked disproportionately, until they begin to catch
up. As they get stronger, they begin to offset the constant
clench of your lower back, which in turn begins to release
and to take pressure off your sciatic nerve and others.

It's not the magic bullet for everybody with back pain,
but it's widely applicable and quick and easy to do.
Have the big, friendly ball beside your bed to remind
you to plank it when you rise, and plank it again just
before you retire.

My chiro has been recommending that I do versions of
the plank for years, and it helped a little when I
remembered (or bothered) to do it. But since a very
athletic (mid-50s) co-worker suggested the variant
that uses the inflated exercise ball (a.k.a. Swiss ball),
I've had much more impressive results. So has he, since
somebody in one of his coaching seminars made the suggestion.

Worth a try. Less expensive than a ball-top chair.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Gene Kim-Eng
> Among others. It also made the arthritis in her hips worse at the same
> time
> it was helping her back recover.
> On Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 8:39 AM, Dan Goldstein <
> DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com> wrote:
> > Were her issues with the Gaiam the same as mentioned by Bill Swallow,
> > i.e. height adjustment and typing?
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Gene Kim-Eng
> > Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 11:36 AM
> > To: Dan Goldstein
> > Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> > Subject: Re: Ball chairs and their kin
> >
> > My wife used a Gaiam chair several years ago when she had a back
> problem
> > and it helped, but it was not usable for her as an everyday chair
> once
> > the problem had passed.

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Ball chairs and their kin: From: Dan Goldstein
Re: Ball chairs and their kin: From: Gene Kim-Eng
RE: Ball chairs and their kin: From: Dan Goldstein
Re: Ball chairs and their kin: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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