Saturday, 26 May 2012

Back pain, the bane of desk-based jobs

 I had back pain issues around five years ago. I tried acupuncture, osteopathy and physiotherapy, with the latter sorting out my problem. The back pain came back last year, but it was the odd bad day. In the past months I have been waking up every day with a stiff, achey back. I started doing Pilates and it has helped, but it wasn't enough as I have been a bit lazy with doing the exercises on a regular basis. So I looked into replacing my office chair to prevent bad posture.

Office chairs are incredibly expensive - their prices range from around £50 for a basic one to £1000. I visited John Lewis and sat on all the display chairs. I then realised that a decent office chair starts from £200-300. Still I wasn't convinced I'd stop slouching. A visit to my GP confirmed I'm very stiff and I need to exercise. So I remembered seeing a member of staff at (I was freelancing there last year) sitting on a balance ball. I bought one and realised that it's not ideal as I'm too close to a radiator and it moves too much. Then further research revealed the answer, the Gaiam BalanceBall chair! At just under £100 it's keenly priced for an office chair, although at first I wondered why I should pay extra to have castor wheels on a balance ball, which retails at around £25 for a good quality one.
Gaiam BalanceBall Chair

However, having sat on it for the past few weeks, I can see why
it's a brilliant product. Before buying I searched for reviews and found over 300 on the American site. They were discussing issues with the chair and solutions: locking wheels and desk height. I will save you the time browsing them all - have the locking wheels at the back so you don't accidentally kick them open and find the right balance by extra pumping or letting air out if it doesn't fit your desk's height. It took me a couple of days to work out the height, at first I was too low, my partner pumped some air into it and it was too high. So we let air out gradually till I'm now sitting at the right height. As you can see my desk is actually an old oak table (I did sit at an antique one before and used antique chair too, see here).

The brilliant thing about this chair is that you can get the ball out and it comes with a series of exercise (with ball in and out). I bought mine at John Lewis, but if you want to see all the reviews and tips from the manufacturer, click here, where there is a pic of somebody sitting on it too.

Note: I bought this product, this is not a sponsored post.

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