Bed Rest for Back Pain?

By Sara Butler

Many years ago it was thought the best way to deal with back pain was to rest your back, but is that still advisable? The chiropractic treatment of back pain has, just like everything else, expanded and progressed as time has gone on. Though bed rest certainly has its place, it may surprise you to find that it’s not what your chiropractor would recommend. Here’s the skinny on bed rest for back pain.

The Numbers

At some point in your life, you more than likely will experience back pain. Eighty percent of Americans will experience back pain in the course of their lives, and it’s most often the reason people end up visiting a chiropractor. The good news is that working with your chiropractor can lead to relief from this pain, but if you think all you need is a little bed rest to set yourself right, you may want to think again!

Faster Healing with Bed Rest?

Many people think staying in bed and resting their back when it hurts is a cure-all for what is ailing them. The fact of the matter is that bed rest probably won’t lead to a faster or a better recovery for your back pain.

For example, if you have an acute injury such as a muscle strain or sprain and you’re in a lot of pain, it may seem like a good idea to lay down for the rest of the day. You’d be far better served by modifying your activity throughout the day but still staying in active mode, even if it’s limited. If you can find a way to move around that is somewhat comfortable you probably don’t need to put yourself on bed rest.

Chiropractors have found that when you lay down longer than a day or two, it’s not helpful in eliminating or controlling symptoms and you can actually accelerate your recovery by staying active and moving around. Even if you move just a little bit and return to walking around, your symptoms can improve faster.

Why Bed Rest May Be Bad

So why is bed rest not beneficial? It’s actually quite simple -- if you don’t move it, you lose it. If you stay in bed for a prolonged period you will get stiff and actually increase the amount of pain you are experiencing. If you don’t move around, you can lose muscle strength and decrease your flexibility -- and that makes it more difficult to return to normal activities once you get out of bed.

If you’re experiencing back pain, get it checked out by your chiropractor -- just remember to stay active in the meantime!

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