Bed rest for back pain? Not so much!

Once thought to be a primary treatment for back pain, bed rest is now taking a back seat to movement.  It is true that short time periods of rest can provide a respite from sitting or standing when those actions cause severe pain.  But we now know that too much bed rest can actually INCREASE back pain.

While brief periods of bed rest may be beneficial for severe pain, extended bed rest isn’t typically beneficial for moderate back pain and can actually create additional problems.  Harvard Medical School researchers noted these issues which can be caused by prolonged bed rest:

  • Loss of muscle tone
  • Digestive issues
  • Risk of blood clots in the pelvis and legs
  • Reduced sense of well-being
  • Increased risk of depression
  • Increased sense of physical weakness

If you are experiencing severe back pain and are tempted to just “go to bed” with it, they suggest trying this instead:

  • Limit your time lying down to a few hours at a time
  • Rest on your bed or sofa in a comfortable position
  • Use pillows to support your neck, back, and legs to reduce strain
  • Limit your time of bed rest to a few days

Rather than wait around hurting, a better approach to dealing with back pain is to slow down (but not stop) physical activity temporarily and see your doctor of chiropractic.  Your chiropractor will do an exam to determine the cause of the pain and can then develop a treatment plan to resolve it.

Your chiropractor can help you determine what activity is safe and beneficial for your recovery.  He or she may also instruct you on exercises and stretches to safely keep you moving, speed your progress and help prevent the issue from recurring.  Doesn’t that sound better than spending days in bed watching soap operas and game shows?

Don’t miss out on the activities you love.  See your chiropractor and keep moving pain free.


Learn more about how activity can help even chronic pain