DIY Lumbar Support for Low Back Pain (no-sew version!)

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DIY Lumbar Support 

Are Lumbar Support Pillows Good?

Yes, lumbar support pillows can really help if you suffer from low back pain, tenderness, or instability.  I’m going to show you how to use a hand towel and some rubber bands to save your low back when you’re seated. My name’s Dr. Christy Flick and I’m a doctor with HealthWorks: A Family Wellness Center in Plano, Texas. We’re a precision chiropractic office that focuses on the correction of the spine.

Many times, my patients will have trouble with low back pain when they’re seated. The reason for this is that instead of the low back having a nice supportive curve, their low back is very, very straight when they’re seated. That makes it unstable and puts lots of pressure on the low back and the muscles of the spine. You can easily roll the hand towel, it’s very portable, you can take it with you, use it wherever you’re at to support your low back while you’re seated.

How do I make a homemade lumbar support?

This is a great no-sew option that anyone DIY with just a hand towel and two rubber bands.  First, what you’ll do is take a hand towel. You don’t want it to be very fluffy or the support will end up being too thick. You’re going to fold it in thirds length-wise and then roll it up really tight. Where people will make a mistake is that they won’t roll it tight enough and so instead of supporting their low back, instead it’s going to just smush and do nothing. So once you have this nice tight roll about the size of your fist, you’re going to secure it with your rubber bands. Now you have a really easy portable lumbar roll. (Watch the video here.)

How thick should a lumbar pillow be?

Measure your lumbar pillow by making a fist.

Measure your lumbar pillow by making a fist.

I prefer this DIY method over purchasing a lumbar support pillow because this support is very firm and you can customize the size to your own body.  Make a fist and look down on it.  This is the approximate thickness of the perfect lumbar pillow for your body.  If your DIY lumbar support is too thick then you could make it thinner by refolding your hand towel to in half instead of thirds.  You could also choose a thinner towel to work with.  Remember, this is approximate.  Your lumbar support pillow doesn’t need to be exactly the width of your fist, just generally in the ballpark.

Where should lumbar support sit on your back?

The placement of a lumbar support pillow is very important.  If you have chronic or ongoing low back issues the lumbar support pillow works best if you use it wherever you sit (use it in the car, at work, at the dinner table, and on the couch). Now, be careful about the placement.  Your placement shouldn’t be at the hips, and it shouldn’t be up in the ribs. It needs to be right in the low back. (Watch the video at 1:35)  The pillow should force you to sit up very straight which will take much of the stress off of the supporting discs, muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Give this a try. If it helps, let me know in the comments and share this post with a friend that it can help.

-Dr. Christy Flick