Question (from a reader):
Is there any information available on the risks and hazards of using the fit balls as a replacement for an office chair? The employees I work with find that the balls do in fact help with their lower back problems. I would be most interested to know if there is any case study or literature documenting any type of risk associated with using them instead of a regular ergonomic office chair (such as accidentally falling and banging your head).
The fit balls have maximum weight limitations that are typically stated on the packaging. In an office environment the balls are more likely to be punctured (pens, staples, letter openers and the like are the usual culprits). Most importantly however is the fact that sitting on a fitness ball for more than about 2 to 4 hours at a time can actually add to lower back pain. Stabilization muscles, like any other muscles in the body, will eventually fatigue. It a muscle becomes overly fatigued it will become weak and problems will arise. I would suggest a combination of sitting on a fit ball for a couple of hours and then switching to a “sit-fit” type disk placed on the seat of a regular office chair
I haven’t been able to find any specific documented cases of injuries or studies that take place in the office (that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any out there).
Keep in mind that whatever the situation, variety is the spice of life and is what muscles want and need the most!
I hope this answer was helpful :0)