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Log Roll Technique for Bed Mobility Following Back Surgery or Injury

When it comes to recovering from a back injury or surgery, the log roll technique is an essential tool for getting in and out of bed.

The log roll technique is so popular it is often taught by therapists in hospitals to patients who will be going home.

However, I understand that not everyone may have received instruction on this technique so this post will demonstrate the proper technique for getting in and out of bed using the log roll technique following back surgery or injury.

We will show the log roll technique using a bed rail to improve ease and safety of your bed mobility.

If you would like to see this content in a video, please check out my YouTube channel EquipMeOT.


Estimated Time: 5 mins
Estimated Cost: $35* USD (or $0 if you choose to do without the bed rail)


Medline Bed Assist Bar

If you have never installed a bed rail, do not worry. I have an entire post dedicated to how to install a bed rail. Head over there to learn how to install one before continuing.


  1. Lay Flat
  2. Bring Knees Up
  3. Reach for Bar
  4. Legs Out of Bed
  5. Use Bed Rail to Sit Up

Step 1: Lay Flat

First, you need to begin lying flat in your bed. In this demonstration, I’m laying flat on my back with a bed rail on my left (on the right in the photos).

Lay flat in bed - log roll technique
Begin laying flat in bed

Step 2: Bring Knees Up

While laying flat on the bed, raise your knees up, but make sure your feet are still flat on the bed.

Bring your knees up - log roll technique
Bring your knees up while keeping your feet flat on the bed

Step 3: Reach for Bar

Next, you are going to reach for the bed rail. In my case, because the bed rail is on my left-side, I’m going to start by simply grabbing the bar with my left hand. Do not reach with your opposite (right) arm yet.

Reach up with the arm that is closest to the bed rail and grab the bed rail

Before I reach with my right arm, I want to make sure that I’m keeping my shoulders and hips all in one straight line, so when I go to reach for that handrail, I’ll roll my whole body in one solid movement.

Now, keeping your shoulders and hips in a straight line, roll your whole body over and reach for the bed rail with your opposite arm.

Keeping your shoulders and hips in a straight line, slowly roll your whole body over and reach for the bed rail with the opposite arm

Step 4: Feet Out of Bed

Once on your side, slowly start dropping your heels off the edge of the bed.

Drop feet over the edge of the bed - log roll technique
Slowly drop your feet off the edge of the bed

Step 5: Use Bed Rail to Sit Up

As soon as gravity starts to take your heels, use the bed rail to help sit up all while keeping perfectly aligned. Having your shoulders and hips in a straight line is going to keep your spine safe.

As soon as your feet begin to drop, use the bed rail to sit up while keeping your shoulders and hips in a straight line
Finish sitting up with the bed rail - log roll technique
Finish by letting go with the opposite arm while using your other hand to assist while your shoulders and hips stay in a straight line

*all prices are at the time of publishing

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