What should I do before I start?
Before starting any exercise program, consult your doctor.
What should I keep in mind?
If you have any pain while using the ball, stop.
Use the ball in an open area without obstacles. Progress slowly
with control and balance.
All exercises can be modified to the level of the person involved.
Breathe normally, do not hold your breath.
How does the resist-a-ball work?
To illustrate how the ball is used, follow this example.
Each movement on the ball begins with a simple position e.g. sitting
on the ball. Move the pelvis to the front, to the back and then
find the neutral seated position. This is a starting
position which is used with proper alignment e.g. knees,
hips in line, sitting tall.
The next step is to introduce the movement pattern with control
and very little challenge. e.g. lift and hold one foot off
the ground while maintaining the starting position.
If control is still a challenge, another form
of a challenge is not introduced. However if control
is good then another challenge is issued e.g.. lift opposite
arm while having one foot off ground in starting position.
BALL BASICS: ADVICE FROM AN RSD PATIENT
When I first began to use the stability ball, there was very
little I could do but sit on it. To warm up the muscles, I had
gentle stretching exercises. I was also given five starting positions
and a few basic movements for each one. In the beginning, balance
was the major problem. With practice, I gradually gained control
of my balance, and the movements followed. Working with mats around
the ball, also helped alleviate fear of falling. Gradually as
my balance improved, I eliminated the mats.
At first I worked at my own pace with a specific ball program
designed by a personal trainer. As I improved, I kept track of
what movements I could do and what caused pain. What I could do
without pain, I continued doing. Gradually, I increased the number
of repetitions and the difficulty factor. This took many months
of experimentation and work. I tracked my progress in a journal.
After mastering the starting positions, balance and basic movements,
I was ready to try a ball class. I approached the teacher with
some information on RSD/CRPS. I was very specific about what I
had already done on my own and movements I had tried but could
not do because of pain.
She was a very understanding, encouraging teacher who was able
to modify movements for me during class. Again, I kept track of
what worked and what didn't. Each time I found something that
caused pain, my teacher was able to find a different way for me
to do it.
Each day I move forward another step. With perseverance, patience
and encouragement, I have improved my balance, co-ordination,
strength (especially in the legs), flexibility and core strength.
I continue using the ball three times a week. Now I can do some
of the challenges!
Special thanks to Cathy Mills for her encouragement
and invaluable assistance as my patient instructor.
Remember the elements. Realize that you are
trying to maintain balance and a position, In the beginning, this
will be a challenge but you can tackle one element at a time.
Learn how to maintain balance first.
One small step. The concept of small steps,
progressing to bigger steps is very much inherent in the ball
program. When you have RSD/CRPS, taking small steps is the best
way to start. Give yourself credit for each accomplishment.
Don't give up! Some days may be tough but stick
with it and you will see progress. The ball helps improve daily
function e.g. abs and back strength, balance, flexibility, and
co-ordination. Stay with it!
Improvise, adapt, modify. Don't be afraid to
modify your exercises if you need to. Slow the pace, do the task
differently or re-design the task to suit your needs. Take note
of what feels OK and what aggravates the pain. Eliminate painful
movements. Add more pain-free movements. Remember that the ball
program is flexible.
Stay positive. Look at what you CAN do, not
what you can't do. Make a list of goals. Work towards them gradually.
For more information on a beginners' ball program, E-mail