Simple Solutions: The Lumbar Roll
The lumbar roll is a simple and effective way to help support the lumbar spine when sitting. How does the lumbar roll work?? Well, before I answer that question, I need to talk first about one aspect of the lumbar spine’s structural anatomy.
The lumbar spine is shaped like an S curve.
The S curve functions to absorb mechanical stresses placed on the lumbar spine from daily life, it increases balance, and allows for full range of motion and flexibility. Humans could not maintain erect posture and move normally without the S curve. It allow us to not only walk, stand and sit, but to dance, do yoga, rock climb, bicycle and bend to pick up a baby. Without the S curve humans would be stiff and immobile.
When the spine is not in a normal S curve shape it leads to PAIN! Eventually that pain will lead to tissue breakdown and injury – most commonly a herniated disc. Most Americans spend upwards of 80-90% of their day sitting. Prolonged sitting puts increased stress (- pressure) on the lower lumbar spine. That stress is compounded when we sit in a flexed or slouched posture.
Lumbar supports are simple cushions that are place in the lower lumbar spine to help maintain the S curve of the spine. Most chair backs are not shaped like an S and have no lumbar support build into them, the same holds true for train, plane and classroom seating. What happens is that you wind up sitting in a C shape all day and the end result after a full day at work or school is pain and stiffness.
Lumbar supports are a simple solution. Relief of pain can be almost immediate. They are placed right at the low back just below your waist. They are the simplest ways to prevent low back pain when sitting for long periods of time.
I recommend to my spine patients that they research getting a lumbar support that works for them and there are multitudes to choose from. From inflatable travel versions to deluxe supports made with Tempurpedic cushion (filling). It is always best to speak to your physical therapist on what would work best for you.
Pam Paspa, PT
Paspa Physical Therapy