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Using a Lumbar Roll to Prevent and Relieve Low Back Pain when Sitting

Using a Lumbar Roll to Prevent and Relieve Low Back Pain when Sitting

Lumbar rolls are a fantastic tool to help improve sitting posture and help to relieve and prevent sitting related pain. Learn more in today’s post… 

The Science  

The human spine naturally forms an S-shape, with the spine curving forwards at the lower back, outwards at the middle back and forwards again at the neck.

However, when we sit most of us tend to slump, which reverses the natural curve of the lower back.

In this slumped position, the muscles at the bottom of the back are stretched and more pressure is placed on the discs which is one reason why sitting is a common factor in many low back complaints.

Slumped sitting also changes the posture of the neck and shoulders and can cause or exacerbate neck and shoulder pains. If maintained for long periods of time, the body can adapt this this position leading to muscle shortening, weakness and changes in posture.

A lumbar roll helps to maintain the natural curve of the spine. This reduces the load on the spinal discs, lessens the stress on the muscles and joints and ultimately helps to prevent and alleviate neck and back pain when sitting.  It also helps to slow the postural decline associated with long term sitting.

While many chairs have a built-in lumbar support, it is often inadequate to properly support the lower back because most chairs are designed for people of an “average” build. 

Lumbar Roll Test

You can test whether your chair has a suitable lumbar support by performing this simple test.  

  1. Stand up tall but relaxed and march on the spot a few times to reset your posture.
  2. Place your hand in your lower back and note its natural curve
  3. Sit down and relax into the back of your chair. The lumber support should preserve a similar curve as you had standing.

If your chair does not have any lumbar support, or the lumbar support is not substantial enough for your body type, a lumbar roll is an inexpensive but effective addition. There a are few different options…

Lumbar Roll Options

Rolled Towel

You can fashion your own lumbar roll by rolling up a towel and securing with some tape. Depending on the length of the towel and how many times you roll it, you can modify the size to fit your requirements.  There are some obvious drawbacks with this method, but it is certainly better than not using a lumbar roll at all. 

Foam Roll  

Foam lumbar rolls are a good cost-effective option. They are responsibly cheap but effective (as long as they are the right size and shape for your spine and the chair you are going to be using it on.)

The 66fit Lumbar Roll also comes with a strap to secure to your chair, so you don’t have to constantly reposition or replace it.

Inflatable Lumbar Rolls 

The very best lumbar rolls are inflatable. Inflatable rolls allow you to:

  1. Individualise the fit to create the perfect support for your spine.
  2. Create small but frequent changes in posture throughout the day, reducing the overall stress on your back.

We recommended the Innotech EmbraceAir Plus and LumbAir Plus (portable). 

Top Lumbar Roll Tip!

Lumbar rolls are also very useful in carseats as cars often have a bucketed seat shape which forces your spine into a slumped position.

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‘Using a Lumbar Roll to Prevent and Relieve Low Back Pain when Sitting’ was written by Steffen Toates. Steffen is a Chiropractor at Dynamic Health Chiropractic in Jersey CI. For more information about Steffen click here.


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I first attended due to pain in my lower back that I had had for over a year. It was my last resource, as I had tried a lot of things before but it was definitely the best thing for me. I felt listened to and taken seriously and I’m now more or less pain free. I can now do all the things I like again, like dancing and walking. That’s just great!

Karen Mackel