The exercise ball has been used in the treatment of back pain for years in physical therapy clinics.
It is well known that approximately 80 percent of people living in western society will experience lower back pain at some point of their life. Most cases resolve on their own within two to four weeks without intervention; however, 80 percent of people will go on to have reoccurrences. Current research has shown that in most cases of low back pain, the muscles that stabilize the spine are reflexively inhibited after injury and do not "kick in" to stabilize the spine automatically when called upon. These muscles do not necessarily recover even if patients are pain free and return to their normal activities.
Physical therapy involves a wide range of techniques including modalities to help back pain such as heat, electrotherapy, and traction/decompression. Mobilization of hypomobile segments, education about posture and body mechanics and exercise. Stabilization and strengthening of the lumbar spine through a lumbar stabilization program is also an important part of a rehabilitation program for the patient with low back pain.
A lumbar stabilization program is a routine of back exercises designed to teach strengthening and flexibility in a pain free range. This helps achieve efficient movement patterns. It provides the patient with movement awareness, knowledge of safe postures, and functional strength and coordination that promotes management of lower back pain.
Spinal exercises should not provoke pain cause any acute increase of pain and should not cause any radiation of pain into the extremities.
Prior to starting a lumbar stabilization program or performing any exercise ball exercises you should first be assessed by your family physician and physical therapist. Since every patient with back pain is an individual and presents with different conditions, a physical therapist is needed to design and monitor the rehabilitation program of someone with low back pain.