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Breakthrough improvement with back pain 5 months postop due to sitting

kathyykkathyy Posts: 580
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I just had to share my experience with others in the event that I might be able to help anybody. I've been back at work since 6 weeks post op and full-time for the past 2 months. I've been experiencing awful, searing, burning pain beginning around 11 or 12 every day. I went to my doc last week and he confirmed that everything looked good on xray and that I was forming bone. He has ordered physical therapy for me (for which I'm thankful) and suggested that the problem might be scar tissue.

Well, the breakthrough is this.....I took my balance ball to work today and sat on it for 8 hours rather than my "orthopedic" chair. I made it all the way to 5 pm without having to take any narcotics. A HUGE and measureable improvement! Yes, it was tiring sitting on the big, green ball and I know I looked goofy!!!!! And yes, my back still hurts (it's now 7 pm) but nothing like the levels I've been experiencing. Imagine my surprise that it made so much difference! So I've now ordered a balance ball chair (go to Amazon.com and query "balance ball chair" or google the same) and I shall henceforth avoid 8 hours of sitting in a chair like the plague.

I so hope that those of you struggling with working an 8 hour day at a desk might be helped with the idea of changing to some other type of sitting arrangement. Incidentally, I also looked at the kneeling type of chairs. But the balance ball chair also helps with core strengthening and since it forced me to hold my spine so straight it appears to have remove a good deal of the pressure and pain. Besides, since I already had a balance ball I could test the concept before making the $80 investment in the ball chair.

I'll keep everybody updated but I know that many of you are suffering with the sitting issue so maybe this little tip will help. Try different chairs, lumbar supports, anything that will help and don't give up!!!!


  • Thanks for the tip! I'm going to check the chair out right now. I'm glad you found something to help ease the pain! I hope each day it helps so that before you know it you can sit pain free!

  • Kathy,

    Thank you so much for the post! I looked at the ball chairs and seriously considered, though I could not find any reviews that they were helpful. I'm buying one right now.
    Best wishes fo continued success and recovery~
  • Reporting in on day 2! I still find it somewhat tiring to sit all day on a balance ball but I do know that it is helping my core strength and it is still helping tons with the pain.

    I consider myself a bit of a guinea pig (I don't think I spelled that correctly??) and I will keep updating my progress to everybody. Today I took even a few less ibuprofen. Still took 1 darvoset. Can definitely feel the effects physically of leaving lortab behind (fatigue and moodiness) but nothing I can't handle.

    I will be glad when my balance ball chair comes. My actual balance ball makes me sit very low compared to the desk top and I look like a dwarf!!! Everybody comments and teases me but hey, if it reduces the inflamation on my lower back I'll laugh right along. Hoping that my continued updates are as positive and that one or two of my fellow spineys benefit.

    Love to all. K

  • Whatever the deal is, the ball is working for me! I've read many articles that say just the opposite - that balance balls help align the spine, etc, etc. I think the key for me is that it takes all the pressure off my spine and centers it more on the saddle area. It's also making me strengthen my core muscles. This is from a website called "life tips" as an example -

    "Use a ball as a chair. The exercise ball, or Swiss ball, is a dynamic tool that can provide many health benefits when used as a chair. Envision your basic office chair as a cast, or a brace: it keeps your body static, so your core muscles – which are the basis for your posture - become weakened. Moreover, this static sitting position does not allow you to maintain a good relationship with gravity, so that your body “sinks” over time, causing you to slouch and sit in awkward positions to relieve the pressure on your spine. The ball as chair, though, is an active surface, and sitting actively leads to improved posture, core strength and body awareness. The dynamic motions created by sitting on a ball helps relieve the pressure of gravity, and the freedom of movement afforded by sitting on a ball allows your spine to find its optimal posture. You'll make minute adjustments to your position while you sit on the ball, and these help improve circulation, which helps keep inter-vertebral discs healthy. Moreover, the instability of the ball and the lack of a backrest encourage the use of stabilizer muscles in our core, and increased core strength translates to better posture."

    I'm on day 3 now on the balance ball and have a balance ball chair (isometric) on the way. I know that a growing number of offices are using these and there was a fabulous tv report of an elementary school here in the Atlanta area using balance balls rather than chairs in their 6 grade classrooms with much success.

    Logically, I can see no reason why they would be any worse than sitting on a chair or stool and in my case, the improvement has been measureable. I am sure they won't "work" for everyone, though. Just wanted to share my experience in case it helped anyone else.
  • Kathy - makes sense to me. For years I have been using a swopper (think bar stool on a spring) as a desk chair. It took me awhile to be able to use it 8-10 hours a day but I love it. It is more comfortable than the most expensive chirs I have ever had. I got it years ago at a back store; recently I saw a newer model on wheels. It sure has been great for core strength development. Terri
  • Really, I had one of those balls in the garage collecting dust and it is now in front of my home computer. I think overall I feel better after sitting on it than a normal chair. I have been using it at the table for meals also. I am only 34 and my wife is 32 but we both agree it is pretty comfy! I just had ACDF C6-7 on tuesday and anything that can help my posture and build core strength while I sit is a big plus because my ever loved gym days have been put on hold X(

    FYI, My ball is about the same height as the chair when I sit on it so no change there. I really am contimplating bringing it to work. It would look funny in my nice big office in place of my leather executive chair but hey, who is going to laugh at the boss.

    Thanks for the tip, It is a GOOD one!
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