Skip to content

Vitality Tip: Mini-Roller for Back Relief

September 23, 2011

Maybe this description fits you: No matter where you find yourself, in the car, on an airplane or sitting in your favorite chair at home, your low back often aches and you can’t find a comfortable position to rest your skeleton. If that’s the case, it’s likely that your proportions don’t fit the proportions of the chair. No big surprise there. Have you tried on clothes lately? No two humans are exactly the same configuration, for clothes, for furniture, or life.

My tried-and-true remedy for back comfort on long plane trip, long meetings, or even movies, is to carry around a rolled up hand towel. Really!

To make your own mini-roller.

Lay towel out flat.

  1. Place a hand towel open on a flat surface, short side facing you.
  2. Roll the towel as tightly as possible.

    Roll up tight and secure with rubber bands or masking tape.

  3. Keep the towel rolled tightly by wrapping rubber bands around the ends and the middle. Or, you can use masking tape.

. . .

Now, to use this gem of a mini-roller . . .

First, sit in the airplane seat (or car, or theater, or church) and lean forward slightly. Grasp your roller by one end and drop the other end down behind you so it hangs the long way along your spine. Lean back so the roller stays put. You may need to make some minor adjustments so the mini-roller is in the most central position.

Hold one end of the towel and let it hang behind you as you sit and lean back into your chair, airplane seat, or theater seat.

You should feel as though your spine is supported, and it is! It might take you a couple of times of experimenting with the roller to feel comfortable. The more limited the movement along your spine, the more likely you’ll need lots of time with the roller before you start noticing that your spine eases in around the roller and you forget it’s there.


  1. You can use the roller horizontally. On long plane trips, I often position the roller horizontally and shift it upward or downward on my mid-upper back to give a break to those muscles between my shoulders.
  2. Position the roller and lean back, hugging yourself. Then, holding on to your shoulders, take your elbows left and right and up and down. This movement will turn your sternum and ribs and, if you move slowly and without forcing, might cause you to feel a decrease in the tension you were holding in your back.
  3. Any cloth item can be used as a roller. In a pinch, you can roll up a scarf, a light sweater, or a shirt. The key is to roll it as tight as you can to get the maximum benefit.
  4. To increase the mobility of your spine, you could lie on the floor with the roller along your spine. With bent knees, simply lie there and breath. 10 minutes of this per day would go a long way to where you might want to be.

Let me know if you need help making adjustments or have questions about how to make it the most effective. Good luck and happy, comfortable back!

This Vitality Tip is meant to be utilized by those who are able to access their attention to make fine-tuned adjustments in their posture. If you find this to be too uncomfortable, by all means, cease and desist. 


From → Vitality Tip

  1. Nice tip, Kim! I will post a link for my students! Linda

    • Let me know if any of them try it . . . I took mine on our trip to Alaska and used it on the plane, ferry, in the rental car, everywhere. Not constantly, more of an intermittent way to shift up my posture options. Was glad I had it.

  2. Thank you! This is such a great help! Accessible to anyone with a towel :0)
    And really helpful… Bless you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s