Exercise ball therapy requires
the use of a large, usually inflatable ball and certain pacific
exercises. It is often recommended in the treatment of back
pain particularly that in the lower area.
Exercise ball therapy can
be done by anyone no matter what level of fitness they are
at and it is an excellent method of preventing any back injury
occurring in the first place.
What is an Exercise
Initially exercise balls were
designed for the treatment of orthopaedic problems, especially
lower back pain. Exercise balls are now commonly found in
mainstream gymnasiums as their preventative qualities are
now recognised internationally. The ball is usually inflatable
and made of PVC, so it will have a non-slip surface and can
be cleaned without difficulty. Companies will often provide
a suitable pump, to be used for re-inflating the ball.
This type of exercise is particularly
useful as the exercises can be done in the privacy of the
users’ home, they can also be taken with you when going
away or to the gym with ease.
What Does an Exercise
Exercise balls are used to
help in the development of flexibility, co-ordination, balance
and increase muscle tone and strength. Once the original back
pain is under control, the exercise ball therapy can be used
to help stop recurrences.
This type of therapy can improve
the balance as the use of this therapy introduces an element
of instability that the human body will naturally become accustomed
to. Over time, the muscles used when adapting to the exercises
will become strengthened, this will provide support to the
lower back and pelvis.
An observable fact called
‘proprioception’ is used when exercising with
these balls, meaning that the body’s ability to sense
movements is in-tune. We become attentive of our joint and
limb placements because of the nerve sensors located around
the muscles, joints and ligaments. Development of proprioception
improves balance and co-ordination and helps to steady the
Stabilisation of the spinal
column can boost the ability to preserve a correct posture
and teaches correct lifting techniques.
This type of therapy is also
good to help with pain relief as the small irregular spinal
movements encourage the production of the body’s natural
The use of this equipment
is great for toning the abdominal muscles, which also helps
provide strength to the lower back and pelvis.
Using an Exercise
As most of the exercise balls
are inflatable, thought must be given to the correct clothing.
Clothing should be comfortable and non-restrictive, with no
sharp characteristics (such as belts or jewellery) in order
to prevent a puncture. If it is possible try to purchase an
accompanying information booklet or DVD with the ball, which
gives full instructions of how to use it correctly and how
to carry out the exercises. If necessary, you can ask for
advice from a qualified physiotherapist who is familiar with
this therapy, even an appropriate programme of exercise based
on the users needs can be made.
Building up exercises gradually
is important and exercise frequently to gain the most benefit
from this type of therapy. Also increase the level complexity
in the exercises as competence and confidence grows.
The ideal size of ball is worked out by the diameter being
equal to that of the space between shoulder and finger-tip
of the user.
Where Can an Exercise
Ball Be Purchased?
There are many internet companies
selling exercise balls for a reasonable price (usually less
than £60), which also has the benefit of being delivered
right to your door. The purchaser cannot test the ball’s
ability to preserve its shape under the users’ weight
when buying online, this can be a disadvantage.
Some high-street shops sell
the equipment as do a choice of gymnasiums and specialist
Exercise balls can be used for the deterrence of a back problem
taking place by strengthening the muscles around the spine,
or as a measure for preventing a recurrence of an already
existing back complaint