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How can I be active if I have acute low back pain (LBP)?

Some of the best advice for treatment for acute low back pain (LBP) is to continue to remain active as much “as tolerated.” Continuing to perform everyday activities may seem counterintuitive, and the natural inclination may be to stay in bed or “freeze” to avoid activity. Yet, activity keeps blood and nutrients flowing to the affected area, inhibiting inflammation and reducing muscular tension.

Many individuals with LBP find that they can perform their usual, but more controlled cardiovascular activities (such as walking) in spite of the pain and often feel better after the activity. More vigorous or uncontrolled activities such as weight lifting or competitive or contact sports are inadvisable while pain is severe.

There is no reason to completely avoid stretching muscles and tissues in the legs and back during an acute episode, but make sure that your stretching does not cause more severe pain.

Local application of heat or ice can temporarily reduce pain and heat may facilitate stretching, but does not necessarily speed up long-term recovery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.