The failure of conventional office chairs in reducing back pain during long working hours has made many people seek some alternative office chairs that will solve this problem. One of the alternative office chairs that have increased in popularity is ball chairs or widely known as exercise balls.
Ball chairs which are normally found in the gym and fitness or therapy center, now have become everyone’s new favorite office furniture.
Many people view ball chairs as a solution to combat back pain during long hours sitting because they think ball chairs can keep the user to sit upright all the time.
They think by using ball chairs they will not end up slumping or making any other incorrect postures since the ball chairs promote stability.
Moreover, the use of ball chairs also can give the impression that the user is working while exercising since sitting on ball chairs can strengthen the abdominal and lower back muscles when maintaining the perfect sitting posture.
However, with all the “advantages” the ball chairs seems to offer, are they really helpful in reducing back pain during long hours sitting?
The answer is no.
According to Dr. Callaghan, the researcher from the University of Waterloo in Canada, using an exercise ball as an office chair gives no benefit at all.
“To be quite frank, I cannot see any advantage or reason for a person to be using an exercise ball as an office chair,” says he as cited in The New York Times.
Ball chairs cannot reduce back pain at all
Dr. Callaghan also adds that research conducted by him and others have shown that sitting on a ball chair can’t keep people to sit upright all the time, they tend to generally slump as much as they sit in conventional chairs.
If any kind of chairs fails to maintain the correct sitting posture of the user then the back pain will never ever be reduced or improved.
Ball chairs are not recommended for prolonged sitting
Shona Anderson, Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist admits that ball chairs are very good at maintaining a good posture and strengthen the muscles. However, that only works for short period of time.
Sitting for too long on a backless chair such as a ball will make the muscles fatigue quickly and as a result the user will end up slumping or making incorrect sitting posture that harm their back condition.
By looking at her explanation, it is safe to say that using ball chairs or exercise balls as an office chair is a bad idea since normal office hours takes 8-9 hours a day.
Ball chairs in the office are not recommended for safety reasons
Andrew L. Concors, a certified industrial ergonomist says that using an exercise ball as an office chair is dangerous. There are two primary reasons why he says so.
Firstly, the exercise ball is not specifically designed to be a sitting surface like the chairs. He told that he ever found his patient’s ball burst on her while she’s doing exercises at her home.
Secondly, he said as cited in Ergoweb that “the balls have a tendency to roll even when placed in a ring, causing a potential for the employee or co-workers to trip and fall”.
Imagine if you hold a cup of hot coffee on your hand as you trip and fall off the ball. That will be a massive disastrous.
Ball chairs are bad to use in the morning
Jeff Pajot, professional ergonomist from Canada explains that in the morning, the intervertebral disc space is larger while the spine is elongated as a result of eight hours lying down, sleeping.
This very unstable condition of the spine is not for using a ball chair which requires you an extra amount of spinal movement. That’s why , it is not recommended to use ball chairs in the first couple hours in the morning.
Clearly, the ball chairs are not supposed to be in the office where the employee normally starts working at eight or nine in the morning.
Ball chairs are not height adjustable
Like any other conventional chairs, the ball chairs are not height adjustable and this condition will potentially lead to any incorrect sitting posture which can result in back pain.
Replacing conventional office chairs with the ball chairs in order to improve back pain is useless and worthless thing to do, so don’t do it.
If you seriously care about your health and safety during prolonged sitting, it’s better for you to replace your conventional office chair with an ergonomic office chairs which is specifically designed for you.