Lumbar Support Pillow

By Sally Ann Quirke, Chartered Physiotherapist | Filed under: Posture Support Products


A Lumbar support pillow (or roll) is fantastic in supporting the lower back if used correctly! Now, how do you use one correctly?

Pillow for the lower back

I advise anyone who comes to me, whether they have lower back pain - to support their lower backs while sitting!

My preferred choice is that all my clients learn how to support their lumbar spine actively. This involves learning where your lumbar spine should be when you sit and stand, and secondly doing specific strengthening exercises to make this lumbar-supported position automatic.

16 years ago I fell from a 15 foot building and damaged my spine. It was from this experience, and the pain experienced, that I learned how important it is to learn how to support your lumbar spine. I am now pain-free and use lumbar supports wherever I go!

Let me tell you a secret!

To support your lumbar spine you do not necessarily need to buy a specific pillow. I do advise people to buy them, but more often I advise my clients how to make a lumbar support out of any piece of clothing at all!

To make a lumbar support pillow just roll a jumper or a towel to the desired shape and thickness that your lumbar spine requires. Then place it at the base of your back supporting your lumbar spine and you’re away! However, the important thing is to know the correct size and shape of support needed for your lumbar spine. We all have different shaped lumbar curves, and if you use one that is too big or too small for your spine, you may end up with more back pain. My advice is to seek advice from a chartered physiotherapist re: the size you need - and then go and be creative in how you can make it!

The idea behind lumbar supports is that your spine is designed to curve inwards at you lower back. Frequently, we adopt a poor sitting posture - we sit with our lower backs curved outwards as we slump, and this places massive pressure on our lower backs’ discs and soft tissues - often resulting in pain. So, to treat or prevent your lower back pain, lumbar support pillows and rolls can be a fantastic help - once they are tailored to the shape of your back. They can frequently resolve your postural lower back pain when combined with exercises.

I’ve featured four different types of lumbar support rolls here. Remember, it’s essential that you first check in with your phyisical therapist to ensure that you are doing more good than harm for your specific condition before using any of these products.

When you have a look at further descriptions of each of these products - you will notice that they typically come in all shapes and sizes as well as all types of firmness. Have a look at the comments from other users - see what they have to say about each product.

The good thing about some of these rolls is that because they are quite inexpensive (compared with an office chair) - you can afford to experiment a little. If a device is not working for you - or making your condition worse - then change it!

Some of these cushions may work very well for you in your office chair - but not so well in the bucket seat of your car. So, again, choose carefully and experiment.

There are a number of devices that I have not included here because they are obviously poorly made - as well as being unfunctional (e.g. a strap that obviously does not keep the cushion attached to your seat. So, again - buyer beware!

So, in summary - be the judge yourself! Read the reviews - see what other users have to say , consider your situation, be prepared to experiment. Good luck!


While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.

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