Learning more about exercise ball therapy

If you’ve been to the gym recently, you’ve most likely seen people using large inflated balls for exercise. Exercise ball therapy is growing in popularity for people who want a low-impact and stationary method of strengthening their core muscles. As you explore this exercise option, you may also hear exercise balls being referred to as “stability balls” or “swiss balls.”

The main theory behind the use of an exercise ball is that because of the ball’s tendency to roll, people must engage more muscles to stabilize it, thereby increasing the intensity of the workout. For instance, if you sat on the ball to do bicep curls with free weights, your leg muscles and abdominal muscles would need to be constantly engaged to steady the ball.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of an exercise ball is its convenience. You can easily deflate it and store it at home in any bedroom, closet, recreation room or garage. To learn more about the function of an exercise ball and how it can be used to relieve pain from a chronic spine condition, read the following article.

Can exercise ball therapy help your back pain?

Many people have found that exercise ball therapy helps them manage back pain due to conditions like sciatica, disc protrusion, spinal stenosis and arthritis of the spine. Elements of spine health that can be improved with an exercise ball include:

  • Posture — a straight spine is necessary to remain balanced
  • Muscle strength — core muscles are engaged with sitting or lying on the ball
  • Stabilization — control of your spine and its muscles are necessary to keep the ball in position

Common exercises with an exercise ball include:

  • Squats. Stand with the ball sandwiched between you and the wall. The ball should be at the level of your lumbar (lower) spine. With your hands on your hips, bend your knees, always keeping your back against the ball.
  • Abdominal tucks. Assume a push-up position, but rest your knees on the ball. Slowly bring your knees to your chest and let the ball roll under your ankles.

Precautions to take when using an exercise ball

Remember, it is possible to fall off of the ball. If you’re new to exercise ball therapy, try starting with the ball against a wall for better stabilization. As with any regimen of physical activity, always consult your physician first. If your sense of balance is poor due to advanced age, medication or conditions like Parkinson’s or peripheral neuropathy, exercise ball therapy may not be for you.

If exercise ball therapy and other conservative treatments do little to treat your back pain after several weeks or months, contact Laser Spine Institute for more information on how our minimally invasive spine surgery can help you find relief. Our outpatient procedures are often a clinically appropriate alternative to open neck or back surgery.^

Since 2005, the minimally invasive treatments offered at Laser Spine Institute have been able to help more than 75,000 patients find lasting relief from their chronic neck or back conditions. To find out you are a potential candidate for the outpatient procedures offered at our state-of-the-art surgery centers, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a free MRI review.*