Originally Posted On: https://mybackreliefclinic.com.au/2018/02/09/bed-rest-bad-back/
Let’s discuss if this is something recommended or not
Initially experiencing acute back pain, it would be very tempting to lie in bed and wait for the pain to go away. 50 years ago this might have even been the advice your Doctor would have given you.
Unfortunately this might be the worst advice that could be given to a person with back pain.
Research has shown “Bed rest for 2–7 days is worse than placebo” and according to the Cochrane review of 20051 “There is high quality evidence that advice to rest in bed is less effective than advice to stay active for people with acute simple LBP.”
Staying in bed for too long can cause muscle weakness.
Basically if you don’t use it you loose it.
For every day you stay in bed, your supporting core muscles get weak.
Furthermore, the immobility can start to tighten up your muscles, hips, and ligaments with can severely decrease your flexibility. A stiff and weak spine unfortunately causes faulty movement patterns that further perpetuate back pain in the future.
That means bed rest and inactivity would likely give you a higher chance of turning a short term acute back pain episode to a long term chronic back problem.
Practically no one. Unless there is a spinal instability condition, bed rest or immobilising the spine maybe prescribed before surgery.
There really is no definitive answer to this question. Some short term bed rest may provide some relief in some cases, however we don’t recommend bed rest that often.
Recent strong evidence indicates that long periods of bed rest does not improve patient outcomes (pain, disability, days missed from work, or functional ability).
In fact a randomised controlled trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine2 comparing bed rest, exercise, and routine care showed that bed rest was strongly associated with three negative health outcomes. These outcomes were more days off from work, intensity of pain, and disability.
There is a difference between hurting yourself and harming yourself.
For example, it probably wouldn’t be best for someone with an acute back to get straight into 100+kg deadlifts as there would be higher risk of harming themselves.
However light walking or even pool walking might be suggested as appropriate exercise to get the joints, ligaments moving, as well as getting some of the core muscles activated even if it does cause a little bit of hurt.
It would always be advisable that you consult with a health practitioner before starting any exercise to ensure your not harming yourself.
Some people try using ice or heat therapy to find relief from pain. You can read more about that here.
It’s often hard to ascertain if an acute low back incident is a benign one that will go away over a couple of days or a serious one that has the potential to become chronic. It would be ideal that you see a practitioner whenever:
A qualified practitioner such as a chiropractor or physiotherapist will be able to take a full history and examination and will be able to advice you on appropriate treatment options for your back pain.
A chiropractic adjustment is a treatment that involves pushing a joint to its full range of motion. What this does is it stretches stiff joints and ligaments. Research also shows that it also assists in activating nearby muscles. Therefore, assisting a person with acute low back pain from losing their flexibility and core strength.
If you want to address your back pain, contact our clinic in Dulwich Hill today.
My Back Relief Clinic
Suite B 390 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill NSW 2203
Phone 02 9560 0184
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