Common sense used to dictate that a person recently suffering
from low back pain should spend a few days in bed, so as not
to aggravate the injury or increase the pain. But this recommendation
has changed in the last decade, as studies show that when
it comes to back pain, bed rest can actually
increase pain and delay healing.
To compare two treatments for people suffering from back
pain beginning in the previous three days, the authors of
a recent study assigned patients to one of two groups for
four days. One group of patients spent a minimum of 16 hours
a day resting in bed and ceased activities, while the other
group spent a maximum of 12 hours a day in bed and resumed
normal daily activity. The patients, ages 18-65, were seen
three times after the initial "treatment" phase: at day six
or seven, at one month, and after three months.
Pain intensity, functional disability, and spine stiffness
were similar for patients in both groups at all three appointments
after treatment. However, a greater percentage of people in
the "bed rest" group initially needed sick leave than people
in the "normal activity" group (86% vs. 52%, respectively).
Normal activity has emerged as a better treatment option
than bed rest for low back pain. Movement allows your muscles
and spine to stay strong and flexible. Stay on your feet to
prevent back pain and avert its progression to long-term,
debilitating pain. Your chiropractor can recommend safe, effective
activities to promote or regain a pain-free back.
Rozenberg S, Delval C, Rezvani Y, et al. Bed rest or normal
activity for patients with acute low back pain: A randomized
controlled trial. Spine 2002:27(14), pp. 1487-1493.
For more information on back pain, go to http://www.chiroweb.com/tyh/backpain.html