I was given a balance cushion a couple of Christmases ago to help with my lower back pain - it hasn't been a great success.
A balance cushion is an inflatable cushion about 15" in diameter (although there are other sizes) made of tough plastic. One side is normally spiked. I originally thought that this was to give it good grip on the floor/chair, but I gather it's really so that can give you a kind of massage effect (there were no instructions, so didn't know any better).
The balance cushion then sits on your chair, and you sit on that. The overall effect is that it makes your sitting much more dynamic - the nature of the inflatable cushion means that you need to make lots of tiny adjustments with your back to keep you sitting upright. In doing so, this works the muscles of the back and builds strength and flexibility - and over time improves your posture and eases lower back pain and other problems. Or that's the theory...
From what I've read, balance cushions have been inspired by inflateable yoga balls (which I've never tried). The principle is the same (constant movement in your back as you sit on them) but a balance cushion is much easier to transport (and take to the office, say) than a yoga ball.
The problem I have is that the balance cushion also cuts off the circulation in my thighs, and becomes quite painful for prolonged periods of sitting. If it wasn't so uncomfortable I probably would use it more, but at the moment it's too uncomfortable for me to use for any significant period of time. But perhaps I'm doing it wrong - if you have any tips that would help me I'd love to hear them. You can contact me here.
(Actually, I am doing it wrong. I've had a great tip which is to put my feet on something to raise my legs - this will stop me cutting off the circulation!)
You can do other things with the balance cushion - such as use it to improve your balance by standing on it. But I'm afraid it hasn't been a huge success for me.
If you have any stories or comments (or even tips) about balance cushions please share them with me and I'll add them to this site. Click here to tell me your story.
I was introduced to the CANDO pad for my balance and back but I was told to stand on it with one foot and then other. I have improved my balance to where I can exceed 30 seconds on each foot once in the morning and once in the evening. The side effect was my lower back pains have subsided significantly and that was explained to me because when you balance on one foot your small muscles in your back strengthen and are able to keep your back line up as it should be. After several months of use I totally pleased with the device . Sorry your results were not better, however, I have to say I have never sat on the device. Ray - USA
Written by Steve Hatherley.