Fixing your Aching Back, Neck and Shoulders
I am blogging while sitting on my new gadget--the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair. I am pretty much willing to try anything at this point to fix my aching back, neck and shoulders, even sitting on a ball. So far, so good. The box came yesterday from Amazon and is easy to assemble. It has a base and and one of those exercise balls that you sit on that is supposed to keep your posture upright and in the correct position for using a computer. My main complaint with it at this early date is that the ball is kind of small. However, the instructions say this is normal and that after 24-48 hours, you can use the air pump that comes with it to make it bigger. I did that this morning and it seems to be better. If you are over six feet, the small size of the ball might not make the height high enough for you.
The ball chair also came with an exercise book that showed how to use the chair for exercise when you want to take a break. The seated twists they show do seem to help in-between typing if you have a tight neck and shoulders. As for the spine streches that have you lying across the ball in various positions, I am really not so sure I wouldn't fall off. The base of the chair is in the way for me but if you take the ball out, it is easier. There are also pictures of a model doing push-ups and donkey kicks that look more like a gym work-out but I am not up to trying those out at the moment. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with the chair and hope that as time goes on, it keeps my posture in check.
I have blogged about pain issues before that are caused by the computer and found that there are a number of good books out there that have helped. These include Stretching Anatomy, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Back Pain, and 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Natural Posture Solutions for Pain in the Back, Neck, Shoulder, Hip, Knee, and Foot.
If you have better or different suggestions, drop them in the comments.