What is a Lumbar Roll?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 May 2019
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Lumbar rolls are pillows designed to provide comfort and relief from lower back pain while traveling. These handy travel pillows are usually compact and easy to take along on any type of trip from driving across town to flying across the country. It is possible to purchase an inflatable lumbar roll as well as a form filled with foam and other materials to provide the proper amount of support.

One of the ways that a lumbar roll provides relief is that the device is placed in a position encouraging the individual to maintain correct posture. Doing so minimizes the stress placed on the lower back and thus helps to ease any pain experienced in the lumbar or lower back region. In addition, the lumbar pillow often helps the individual to feel more rested and relaxed upon arriving at the intended destination, rather than feeling tired and sapped of energy.

It is not unusual for people with lower back pain to own more than one lumbar roll. One back pillow may be kept at home, often in a favorite chair. A second travel pillow is placed in the car, effectively eliminating one more task to complete before leaving the house. A third lumbar roll may be kept with the luggage, thus ensuring that the pillow is available when traveling by air, bus, or train.


There are two basic types of lumbar pillows. The most common type resembles a simple roll pillow. Usually, the shell is composed of long-wearing materials such as leather or vinyl, although some pillows are upholstered with soft microfiber. The contents of the pillow are usually composed of foam. The exact density of the foam core will vary, depending on the amount of support required to achieve the highest degree of comfort while providing the most support for the lower back.

An alternative to the foam-filled lumbar roll is the inflatable model. Often composed of vinyl or similar materials, an inflatable lumbar roll can quickly be filled with the appropriate amount of air and used when and as needed. This type of support pillow is ideal for taking along on planes, buses, and trains since it requires very little storage space and will fit into shoulder or overnight bags with ease. Once settled into the seat or berth, the pillow can quickly be inflated in a manner similar to a balloon, sealed, and positioned to provide support to the lower back.

Both types of lumbar rolls can be purchased at medical supply stores, as well as many pharmacies. While some brands are expensive, there are a number of brands that are priced to fit just about any budget. In addition, the cost of a lumbar roll is sometimes covered by health insurance, depending on the terms of the policy and if a prescription for the roll is written by a physician.



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