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Uses and Benefits of an Exercise Disc Balance Cushion

by Jane Hodgson 5 May 2010


An exercise disc balance cushion, which is also sometimes known as a stability disc or wobble cushion, is used to improve balance, strengthen core stability and help children who have special educational needs.


An exercise disc balance cushion, otherwise known as a wobble cushion, balance disc or balance cushion is an inflatable round cushion which is strong enough to stand or sit on, and when doing so gives an unstable surface. It is used primarily to:

  • Improve proprioception after injuries or surgery involving the leg
  • Strengthen the core stability muscles to help decrease back pain
  • Help children sit and concentrate in class

Exercise Disc Balance Cushion to Improve Proprioception

Proprioception refers to the feedback loop between the body telling the brain what position the joints are in and the brain making rapid adjustments to the joints' position depending on circumstances.

This is known as the proprioception feedback loop and to prevent injury to a joint it must happen continuously and rapidly. If there has been an injury or surgery to a limb the natural proprioception loop will be affected and will not necessarily recover unless appropriate rehabilitation is done.

When the eyes are open the visual feedback the brain receives also gives the brain a lot of information about joint position. However if there is for instance an unseen obstacle or an uneven surface, the proprioceptive mechanism must work rapidly and effectively to prevent injury from occurring.

Therefore proprioceptive exercises should be started with the eyes open and made harder by closing the eyes.

Examples of injuries where a balance cushion/ stability disc can be used to improve proprioception include:

  • sprained ankle
  • arthritis
  • knee anterior cruciate injury
  • after knee anterior cruciate surgery
  • after knee meniscus (cartilage) surgery
  • following joint replacement surgery
  • collateral knee ligament injury

Exercise Disc Balance Cushion to Strengthen Core Stability and Decrease Back Pain

Sitting on an exercise disc balance cushion encourages active/ dynamic sitting. The disc is placed directly onto the chair sat on,  this provides a less stable sitting surface, which means that the body has to make continuous small movements to correct balance. These movements use and thus strengthen the deep core stability muscles which provide postural support to the body.

The best way to use a stability cushion to improve core strength and posture is to simply to sit on it for short periods little and often during the day. It is still possible to slouch when sitting on a stability cushion so it remains important to be aware of maintaining a good sitting posture.


Exercise Disc Balance Cushion to Help Children to Concentrate in Class

Balance cushions are frequently used in schools to assist children who find it difficult to sit still. Additionally balance training exercises have been shown to help children with dyspraxia, dyslexia and ADHD.


Where to Purchase a Balance Cushion

Balance cushions cost around £20 - £30 and are available from companies including physiosupplies and physioroom



Personalised treatment

For the inclusive package of £28, you receive a personalised injury self management programme comprising exercises and expert advice from your chosen physio.

Included in this price is a follow up assessment, which you can choose to take at any time within 3 months folllowing the initial assessment.

personalised treatment - find out more

About the author

Jane Hodgson - Chartered Physiotherapist Jane Hodgson Jane specialises in lower body injuries and has raced competitively in running, orienteering and adventure racing.

Did you know

Exercise disc balance cushion exercises improve balance and core stability. You can do balance disc exercsies when cleaning your teeth!

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