Why Bed Rest May NOT Be Good For Back Pain

Before the turn of the century, it was likely that your doctor advised you to crawl into bed to help relieve lower back pain. Today, medical research is starting to show our first instinct may not be the best. Many back pain experts agree that bed rest should be limited – or in some cases entirely avoided – when one is feeling severe back pain.

The Research for Bed Rest

While studies about bed rest and back pain are not yet extensive, both the American Pain Society (APS) and the American College of Physicians (ACP) strongly recommend that patients with lower back pain remain active. According to a survey done by the Cochrane research group, ten separate studies revealed that patients with lower back pain and extensive resting periods reported higher levels of pain than those who continued an active lifestyle. Another study in Japan separated workers with lower back pain between a rest group and an active group. The rest group reported significantly higher instances of recurring chronic back pain.

Why Should Patients Avoid Bed Rest?

Human bodies were built with a need for movement. When this need isn’t met, our joints weaken, tendons turn stiff, and the discs that support vertebrae dry out. Such conditions make the body a fertile landscape for injury and – if one has already been experiencing lower back pain – intensify discomfort. Extensive bed rest can also have a mental toll. Inactivity means fewer opportunities to interact with others or find personal achievement, which can increase instances of depression and anxiety.

Staying Active with Back Pain

Most people find it difficult to remain active when they are experiencing severe back pain. Many back pain experts and physical therapists recommend an exercise routine that focuses on the following three workouts:

  • Extended stretches that help maintain flexibility
  • Core strengthening activities
  • Aerobic exercises with little impact

Recovering will require the consultation of a medical expert who specializes in lower back pain. The Spine Institute in New Jersey has helped patients around the country find the treatment method that is best for them, with a wide variety of minimally invasive surgical options that offer recovery times within the same day. Contact our office to schedule an appointment.