RE: Ball chairs and their kin

Subject: RE: Ball chairs and their kin
From: Lynne Wright <Lynne -dot- Wright -at- tiburoninc -dot- com>
To: "Porrello, Leonard" <lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2011 18:48:28 +0000

I'm a bit suspect of the first link, since its dated around the late 80s, and cites studies from the late 50s and 60s.

As for the BBC cited study...well that's also just ONE study... I don't think its enough that we ought to toss out the accepted knowledge of the past 50-odd years' research into ergonomics.

I've gotta go with what my physiotherapist told me. He immediately cleared up 6 months' worth of fingertip-to-shoulder pain in my arm with 2 quick and subtle little manipulations of my wrist and neck, so I think he knows what he's talking about. I've also gone through days where I slouched in a reclined position in my chair, sometimes for days on end, and those are the only times I've gone home with a sore back.

But hey... if there comes a day when we're all assigned la-z-boys to work from, I'm in!

-----Original Message-----
From: Porrello, Leonard [mailto:lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com]
Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 2:36 PM
To: Lynne Wright; McLauchlan, Kevin
Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Ball chairs and their kin

Contrary to popular belief, sitting up strait, with or without lumbar support, isn't healthy, and lumbar pads are useless if core ergonomic issues aren't corrected. Here are some science based suggestions:
http://www.acmandal.com/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6187080.stm




-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Lynne Wright
Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 11:12 AM
To: McLauchlan, Kevin
Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Ball chairs and their kin

My feeling is: why spend money on a weird ball chair that, aside from whether it works over the short to long term, will probably set you up for odd looks and probably a fair amount of semi-justified teasing. And that, appallingly, doesn't allow for height control, which is key to preventing repetitive strain muscle injury to your hands, wrist, and arms.

The key to back health (and preventing all types of working-at-a-keyboard-all-day injuries) is, as Kevin says, using exercise to undo/prevent damage, making sure that you position yourself correctly at your workstation, and not overdoing it. Regular office chairs work just fine, although you may want to add a lumbar pad to ensure the correct lower-back positioning. You can consult a physiotherapist or workplace ergonomist for details, although I'm sure you can find all the info you need online.

And realistically, even though I try to sit properly most of the time, over the course of an 8-hr day, sometimes I need to take a little break from the utilitarian posture and maybe lean back in a sprawl, or sit cross-legged on my chair for a little while... with a ball chair, its one position all day all the time. Sounds a bit too unrelentingly virtuous to be practicable in the real world.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+lynne -dot- wright=tiburoninc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lynne -dot- wright=tiburoninc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of McLauchlan, Kevin
Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 1:53 PM
To: Gene Kim-Eng; Dan Goldstein
Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Ball chairs and their kin

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 fashion.

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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Follow-Ups:

References:
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
RE: Ball chairs and their kin: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
RE: Ball chairs and their kin: From: Lynne Wright
RE: Ball chairs and their kin: From: Porrello, Leonard

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