Make Your Own Lumbar Roll for Proper Posture

If you have low back pain, you may benefit from the skilled services of a physical therapist to help manage your pain and help you get back to normal activities. Your physical therapist can teach you the correct exercises to do for your back to help you improve your mobility and prevent your pain from becoming a chronic problem.

Woman holding her back, having lower back pain from PID
OJO_Images / OJO Images / Getty Images

One of the causes of low back pain is sitting with poor posture. When you are sitting in a slouched position, your back is placed under excessive stress and strain and this can damage your spine's joints, muscles, and discs. This repetitive strain to these structures may cause low back pain.

Sitting with proper posture is an easy thing to do, especially if you have the right tools for the job. First, you need to sit in a supportive chair with a backrest. The back of the chair should support your low back.

A lumbar roll is also needed to sit with proper posture. The roll should be supportive, and it should be placed in the small of your back to help support your lumbar spine's natural forward curve, called a lordosis.

There are lumbar support pillow options, but what if you don't have a lumbar roll? Is there something you can use to help support your spine while sitting?

There is.

Lumbar Roll From Objects Around Your House

You can use things around your house to serve as a lumbar roll. The best lumbar roll to use is an actual lumbar roll, but the following household things can serve the purpose of supporting your posture until you can get the real thing:

  • Bath towel roll. To make your own lumbar roll, simply obtain a bath towel. Fold the towel twice lengthwise, and then roll it up. Place two rubber bands around the towel to keep it rolled up, and then place it behind your back when sitting to help support your lumbar spine.
  • Paper towel roll. Another household item to use to support your back when sitting is a paper towel roll. The roll is the perfect size to help support your back and your spine, and it will squish down just enough to maximize comfort while you are using it.
  • Use a small pillow. If you have a small pillow on your chair or sofa, you can use that as a lumbar roll. Simply place the pillow behind your back when you are sitting to support your spine's normal lordosis and maintain proper posture.

Remember, the best lumbar support is one that maintains the forward curve in your back while you are sitting and that feels comfortable on your low back. You may need to try out a few different things to find the right support for your low back. Your physical therapist can help you find the best lumbar roll for your specific condition.

If you have low back pain, exercising is essential to help you recover fully. Performing postural correction exercises like the slouch-overcorrect exercise can help you learn how to attain proper posture. Using a lumbar roll while sitting is also one thing you can do to help support your spine as your back is healing. Using household items to help support your spine is a good idea to help you maintain normal posture and quickly return to your previous level of function and activity.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Kripa, S., Kaur, H. Identifying relations between posture and pain in lower back pain patients: a narrative review. Bull Fac Phys Ther 26, 34 (2021). doi: 10.1186/s43161-021-00052-w

  2. Grondin DE, Triano JJ, Tran S, Soave D. The effect of a lumbar support pillow on lumbar posture and comfort during a prolonged seated taskChiropr Man Therap. 2013;21(1):21. doi:10.1186/2045-709X-21-21

  3. Macedo LG, Hodges PW, Bostick G, et al. Which Exercise for Low Back Pain? (Welback) trial predicting response to exercise treatments for patients with low back pain: a validation randomised controlled trial protocol. BMJ Open. 2021;11(1):e042792. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-042792

By Brett Sears, PT
Brett Sears, PT, MDT, is a physical therapist with over 20 years of experience in orthopedic and hospital-based therapy.