Bed rest is bad for Back pain. For so many years we all heard that getting a good rest for some time after Back pain really helps. But recent evidence recommends no rest at all and prefer you moving around. Staying in bed for more than 48 hours will not help your recovery from back pain but actually will delay it.
During a backpain episode, it can become a bit stressful and lying down in bed for a day or two may seem to be a very good idea. Try to be sensible and limit your activities and stay active. Keeping yourself very active is a more efficient way to control your backpain symptoms. In fact, if you find positions of comfort and keep moving you will not need any bedrest at all.
5 common reasons why prolonged Bed rest may be harmful to recovery:
1) Back Muscles become lazy:
When we don’t work we all get lazy. In the same way, if our muscles do not work and are rested for many days they also get lazy. They become slack, weak and their bulk becomes reduced in size.
Muscles of your lower back, like any other muscle in your body needs struggle exercise to maintain the tone and strength of your back. Most back pain specialists in London recommend that bed rest more than 24-48 hours can be bad for the control of your low back pain.
The usual period of rest that is advised after the backpain episode is 1-2 Days Bed rest.
2) Spine becomes Flat:
Our spine has three natural curves to maintain balance and to distribute our body weight equally. Your lower back muscles after a period of rest will lose the tone and strength very quickly. Getting up to walk can be difficult. Further, the loss of tone and strength of these back muscles fails to maintain the shape of the natural curves of your spine.
Therefore, these curves become straight and your spine becomes flat leading to changes in your posture. It takes time to regain the strength back in your muscles and to retain the shape of your spine.
3) Risk of Blood Clots:
Blood circulates in our body because we are constantly on the move. Bed rest for more than two weeks for low back pain will cause the blood to stay in our legs for quite a long time. These clots in the deep veins of our legs are called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) causing a painful and swollen leg.
Occasionally, this clot can travel up to the lung and stop the blood flow to the lungs. This condition is called Pulmonary Embolism (PE). PE is an emergency requiring immediate admission to hospital for treatment.
4) Risk of Depression or Low mood:
When we have low back pain, our mood becomes low. If we get to meet people and walk around, it becomes a good distraction for us and that will keep our spirits up. Imagine a situation where you have to lie down in pain in bed for 3 to 5 days! Your mood will become so low and you are at risk of becoming very sad and depressed.
Longer rest in bed makes you more anxious, irritable with pain, with increased fatigue and sleep problems in spite of lying in bed and also changes in your appetite and energy levels. Get out of bed and move around.
5) Back pain gets worse:
We all underestimate the effects of back pain, bed rest and low mood that has on our mind. Staying in bed all day does make our mind see the pain very differently. Most of us will lose all hope of recovery.
We know that bed rest for a long time makes the back muscles thin and weak, the spine becomes flat and is unable to maintain the your posture. Therefore it is very important that we spend as little time in bed, move around to strengthen our muscles and get back to full activity as soon as possible.
What is the best position to rest during a Back pain episode?
When you need to rest your back, make sure that you live flat on your back. You can use a pillow that can be kept under your knees so that your knees are in a slightly bent position. It will take the tension of the muscles of the leg and the lower back and is very good in pain control and for comfort.
You can also try a small rolled up towel under this small of your back for support. The towel will give a good massage effect to the sore tissues of your lower back. All these helps in the relief of low back pain.
Is walking good for lower back pain?
Bed rest is bad rest for your lower back pain. However, walking is good for the management of back pain. Walking is an excellent low impact form of exercise. There is no harm in walking during an episode of low back pain or while you are recovering from it. In fact, it helps in improving your muscle tone and strength of your lower back muscles. Walking makes your recovery much faster.
What can you do?
You can rest in bed for a short period of time for 3-5 days. Apply heat pads over the area of pain to relieve the spasms. Simple medications like paracetamol and Brufen does work. Gentle stretching exercises will help you get back to work and normal activities.