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7 Reasons Why a Balance Ball Chair Is Good for Your Spine

Many of us spend eight hours a day sitting at a desk. And many of us experience a good deal of back and neck pain as well as headaches during that time. One reason is because those who design office chairs are not building them to fit our bodies; they are thinking of them as furniture to fit a particular “look.” Add to that the keyboard and monitor heights which are typically not appropriate for the user, and you have a perfect opportunity for spine issues to creep in.

Just because you must stay at a desk doesn’t mean you have to deal with these issues, however. Recently some designers have developed chairs that can alleviate many of these concerns. The chair consists of an balance ball in a stationary base. (The ball may also be known as a stability ball, yoga ball, Swiss ball, or physioball.) If a full chair will not work for you, a balance wedge or disk that sits on the seat of your chair is another alternative. The downside of the balance ball chairs and disks is that they need to be re-inflated periodically and have a weight limit of 300 pounds. However, the benefits may outweigh those issues. These are some of the benefits that researchers are finding.


Balance Ball Benefits

  • Engages Your Core Muscles

Because the balance ball is not stationary, it forces you to keep making small movements to stay balanced. This movement engages the core muscles of your back, abdomen, and pelvic floor.


  • Improves Posture

As you build those core muscles, your posture will  improve. When your head, spine, and pelvis are all in alignment, you will both look better and feel better.


  • Increases Circulation

Because you are constantly moving, circulation is improved.


  • Relieves Back Pain

As your core muscles become stronger, you will be less likely to slouch as you get tired. In fact, the chair makes slouching at a desk almost impossible.


  • Gives You an Opportunity for Mini Exercise Breaks

If you have opportunities to take little breaks in your work day, you can use the balance ball in or out of its frame to provide a quick chance for some good exercise.


  • Helps You to Maintain Focus

We work better when we are not sitting completely still. There is a pathway in our nervous system between the area that controls movement/balance and the area that controls our ability to focus. Studies show that the bit of movement we get from sitting on a balance ball increases our attentiveness and focus.


  • Helps Children with Attention Deficit

Researchers are finding that students who have ADD, ADHD, a sensory processing disorder, or those who just need to fidget are helped by these chairs because the chairs give the students a “productive” outlet for that need to move. When they are moving, they are also better able to focus.


No chair can provide all the movement that we need. We still need to engage the larger muscles of our extremities, which we can do only by walking or stretching. A good rule of thumb is to get up and move about at least once every hour. No chair is perfect for everyone, but a balance ball chair can be a good option for many people.

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Your Child’s Studying Posture: 5 Tips to Help Improve It

The school year is well under way by now. Have you noticed your children’s posture as they do their homework (or watch TV or play video games, for that matter)? When we are focused on the project at hand, we often do not think about our bodies. It is all too common to see children slouching, leaning against the arm of the couch, or propping their heads up with one or both hands. Children don’t see the long-term danger in poor posture, because they are not experiencing pain yet. It has even become “cool” to be seen this way and “uncool” to use good posture. All of this can make trying to change their bad habits difficult for parents. There are some things you as a parent can do, however, to help them with their posture.


  • Lead by Example: Show by your own good example what good posture looks like.
  • Show Them: A mirror is a great tool to show your child what his/her posture looks like vs. healthy posture. Have your child stand looking sideways into a mirror. Point out how the ear, shoulder, hip and ankle should be in alignment. How far from that is their posture? Which areas need the most correction?
  • Chair: The chair your child uses can either help or hinder their posture. The most important aspect of a chair is that it will allow his/her feet to rest flat on the floor while their knees are bent at approximately 90 degrees. This way their back does not have to try to balance with the weight of dangling feet. If all of your chairs are too tall, try putting a foot stool or wooden block under his feet. Back support is another issue. If the seat is too deep, your child is likely to slouch to try to reach the back of the chair. If you don’t have a chair that fits his body correctly, try putting a pillow behind him as he sits.
  • Desk:  Check the height of the desk he/she is using. Watch your child as he works. Where does the table meet his body? The desk tabletop should be at a level slightly above your child’s belly button in the middle of his torso.  If the table is too low, your child will tend to slouch forward while working.  If the table is too high, he/she will have to raise the shoulders (like shrugging) in order for their arms to reach their books and papers. This can cause overuse syndromes in the neck and shoulders. If the table is too high, try putting pillows under your child as he/she works. If the table is too low, try finding a lower chair to compensate. Then check to be sure this has not thrown his legs off balance. (See the last tip.)
  • Set Limits: What about the other activities—video games and TV?  Since most seating in our family rooms is not conducive to good posture, it is important to set time limits on these activities. Try limiting gaming to 20 minutes at a time. Set a timer; at the end of each 20 minutes, have your child get up and move around for a few minutes before going back to their game.

If you try these tips and still do not see improvement in your child’s posture, or if your child complains of pain, or has difficulty sitting still for longer periods of time, it may be that there is some underlying muscular tightness or weakness that is making it difficult for him to practice good posture. Dr.Marone can help in diagnosing the problem and help to get the body back to anatomical neutral through adjusting the spine and by recommending exercises for strengthening or stretching. It is this neutral positioning that puts the least pressure on the joints, reduces tension in our muscles, and optimizes circulation.


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*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.


Keep Your Head Balanced for More Ease While Working

Last time we discussed your sit bones. Now let’s look at your head’s role in computer posture—or your posture at any time!

Heads Up!

With your upper body balanced over the sit bones, let’s look at your head. Take a moment to be aware of your head. Where is it? Is it balanced over the top of your spine, or is it leaning forward to see the screen? The second option is all too common. The head is at the opposite end of the spine from the sit bones. It counterbalances the sit bones. If either end is out of balance, then the whole upper body is compromised.

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How Are You Sitting While Using Your Computer?

No matter how great our furniture is, if we are contorting our bodies in unnatural ways while we are using the furniture, we will still experience pain.

Any time we balance on the correct part of our skeleton, the muscles are not overworked to hold us up. We have several balancing points in our torso. If we allow those to line up, then we will be held upright by the skeleton and the muscles that were designed to do the job. A typical slumping posture may seem to be more relaxed, but it actually leads to more tension.

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