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Back pain relief: Ergonomic chair or fitness ball?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/back-pain-relief/AN01834
- With Mayo Clinic physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist
Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.read biographyclose window
Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.
Dr. Edward Laskowski is certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, including subspecialty certification in sports medicine, and is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. He is co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center and a professor at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic.
He has been on the staff of Mayo Clinic since 1990 and specializes in sports medicine, fitness, strength training and stability training. He works with a multidisciplinary team of physical medicine, rehabilitation and orthopedic specialists, physical therapists, and sports psychologists.
Dr. Laskowski is an elite-level skier and an avid hiker, cyclist and climber. He approaches sports medicine from the perspective of a physician and an athlete.
In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed Dr. Laskowski to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and he has received a Distinguished Service Award from the Department of Health and Human Services for his contribution to the Council.
Dr. Laskowski was a member of the medical staff of the Olympic Polyclinic at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and has provided medical coverage for the Chicago Marathon. He serves as a consulting physician to the National Hockey League Players' Association and is a featured lecturer at the American College of Sports Medicine's Team Physician Course.
Dr. Laskowski, a Cary, Ill., native, has contributed to Mayo Clinic's CD-ROM on sports, health and fitness, a website guide to self-care, and hundreds of Mayo Clinic articles and booklets in print and online. He is a contributing editor to the "Mayo Clinic Fitness for EveryBody" book, and he has presented lectures throughout the world on health, fitness and sports medicine topics. His teaching expertise has been recognized by his election to the Teacher of the Year Hall of Fame at Mayo Clinic.
"There are many myths and misconceptions about exercise and fitness in general, and also many traditions that don't stand up to scientific scrutiny," he says. "My goal is to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information on sports medicine and fitness topics in a way that you can practically incorporate into your life."
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Back pain relief: Ergonomic chair or fitness ball?
For back pain relief, is it better to sit on an ergonomic office chair or a fitness ball?
from Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.
If long periods seated at a desk are giving you a sore back, your office chair may need adjusting to give you better back support — or you may even need a new chair designed to reduce back pain. Sitting on a fitness ball for office work is not recommended.
To stay upright on a fitness ball, you have to make constant, small adjustments in muscle tension and weight distribution. This effort helps you achieve the benefits of core-strengthening exercises performed with a fitness ball. Prolonged balancing on a fitness ball, however, may lead to increased fatigue and discomfort in your back.Next question
Acupuncture for back pain?
- Gregory DE, et al. Stability ball versus office chair: Comparison of muscle activation and lumbar spine posture during prolonged sitting. Clinical Biomechanics. 2006;43:142.
- Groenesteijn L. Office task effects on comfort and body dynamics in five dynamic office chairs. Applied Ergonomics. 2012;43:320.
- Ellegast RP, et al. Comparison of four specific dynamic office chairs with a conventional office chair: Impact upon muscle activation, physical activity and posture. Applied Ergonomics. 2012;43:296.
- Annetts S. A pilot investigation into the effects of different office chairs on spinal angles. European Spine Journal. 2012;21(supp):S165.
- U.S. Army Public Health Service. Frequently asked questions: Ergonomics. http://phc.amedd.army.mil/topics/workplacehealth/ergo/Pages/FAQ.aspx. Accessed Oct. 19, 2012.
- Kingma I, et al. Static and dynamic postural loadings during computer work in females: Sitting on an office chair versus sitting on an exercise ball. Human Factors. 2009;40:199.
- Sekendiz B, et al. Effects of Swiss-ball core strength training on strength, endurance, flexibility and balance in sedentary women. The Journal of Physical Conditioning and Research. 2010;24:3032.