Question

Back Pain

Why can simply lying in bed be a bad idea when I have back pain?

A Answers (3)

  • AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered

    Actually, just lying in your bed or on the floor with back pain (unless you're performing certain stretches) will only accomplish one thing: It will make the pain worse. The way to bounce back is to make sure that you're up and around, moving your muscles, working them back into shape. We're not suggesting that you sign up for the local rugby team if you just pulled your back. But walking around the house is more productive - and more healing - than sitting around it. That's why married folks recover slower than those living alone; if you're being waited on hand and foot, why give up a good thing? But you might be penalizing yourself by lounging in bed and taking advantage of your loved one's concern.

  • ARonald Tolchin, DO, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, answered on behalf of Baptist Health South Florida
    Much depends on the severity and location of the back pain. Your sleeping or lying position, along with other factors that include weight, can further strain your back. Make sure you have good support for your back if you are lying on your back. If your resting position is on the side, you may need a pillow between your knees to prevent slight rotations of your lower spine. 
    Some studies indicate that too much bed rest (usually more than two days) is counterproductive for relieving back pain, and that continuing normal activities leads to a quicker recovery. The spine needs motion for moving nutrients to the vertebral discs. A lack of motion can cause loss of strength and slow or impair the spine’s ability to heal.
  • ABrian Yee, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, answered
    Prolonged resting with back pain is like having a sprained ankle and letting the swelling settle and stiffen. With prolonged rest, an inflamed back can stiffen and make the patient feel more tight and less mobile. Muscle atrophy can also occur making the muscles around the back less supportive. In the long run, it can make patients more vulnerable to further injury. It is important for patients to rest for a short time with very severe pain. Once pain calms, it is important for patients to move without causing aggravation.
    Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
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