There is No Substitute
Why foam rollers, stability balls, air filled bladders, towels, and other spine extenders are NOT substitutes
The MECA Wedge is specifically designed to create counter pressure in your spine allowing the spine to stay extended while supporting it comfortably without creating sheer force or contact irritation. It is also imperative that the design maintains its shape so the sacrum (tailbone) does not make contact with the floor yet allows the spine to remain extended and supported by the MECA Wedge and not the floor. Prototype after prototype was created and after much trial and error the precise material and shape was invented to provide a surface with just the right amount of counter pressure while providing the adequate amount of resiliency needed. Also the material is
durable enough to maintain its form so the sacrum (tailbone) does not contact the floor.
Hard foams such as foam rollers do enable the spine to arch, but are so dense that they create contact irritation by placing excessive pressure against the spinous process and create sensitivity of those bones and the ligament. As the hard foam presses against the bony spinal segments an unhealthy amount of sheer force is produced. In contrast, the slightly labile (soft yet high enough in density to support weight with a subtle amount of “wobble”) nature of the MECA Wedge creates a greater core stabilization response then that of a foam roller. There is no labile nature to hard foams therefore the “proprioceptive” or stabilization effect is not challenged.
As for standard gym balls (physioballs, stability balls) they create no spine penetration due to their size, as they span beyond the length of the lumbar spine. Therefore, the lumbar spine is not supported in an extended position and unloading (removes tension from the ligaments) cannot occur.
Air Filled Bladders and Towels
Air filled bladders or even tightly rolled towels must be extremely rigid in order to create adequate counter pressure, and are therefore, extremely uncomfortable much like hard foams. They also have no labile nature or resiliency to them. The air filled bladders not inflated to a firm rigid nature do not create adequate spine penetration nor can they maintain their shape enough to keep the tailbone off the floor and the spine extended .
The foam of the MECA Wedge was specifically formulated to provide the precise amount of resiliency/elasticity to push back comfortably into the spine adding just the right amount of counter pressure to remold the ligament. The MECA Wedge material is specially created to have a high density yet a soft and slightly labile texture eliminating the issues we see with the foam roller and the air filled bladder. The high density, resiliency and soft texture of the MECA Wedge extends the spine, without creating contact irritation.