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Bed Rest Ineffective for Back Pain

Rest has been standard recommendation for low back pain (LBP) for years, especially within the medical community. This recommendation persists despite research evidence suggesting that prolonged rest serves no purpose and may delay return to work and resumption of normal activities.

This report from the International Paris Task Force on Back Pain outlines the role of activity in the treatment of back pain.

In addition to presenting numerous recommendations and summaries, the authors offer the following key points as summary to their findings:

  • Bed rest is contraindicated in subacute and chronic cases of LBP.

  • In acute cases, bed rest should neither be enforced nor prescribed.
  • If authorized (based on pain indication), bed rest should be for the shortest duration possible.

  • Patients whose pain is intense enough to justify bed rest should be referred for a specialized back pain evaluation if daily activities have not been resumed after 10 days of strict bed rest (defined as getting up only to go to the bathroom) and adequate pain therapy.

Are you suffering from low back pain? If you think bed rest is the solution to your pain, think again. As the authors note (see above), if your pain is intense enough to justify bed rest, schedule a “specialized back pain evaluation” with an expert in managing and resolving back pain -- your doctor of chiropractic!

If you’d like to find out more about back pain and how chiropractic can help, visit


Abenhaim L, Rossignol M, Valat JP, et al. The role of activity in the therapeutic management of back pain: Report of the International Paris Task Force on Back Pain. Spine, Feb. 15, 2000 (supplement): Vol. 25, No. 4S, pp1-25.

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