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Rest or Activity: Which Is Better for Low Back Pain?

Which strategy is better in the first few days after back pain: keep moving or go to bed? Two main goals doctors have when treating low back pain include pain relief and prevention of long-term problems. But how do doctors know which treatment works best?

Researchers collected data from studies of patients with low back pain. This information was analyzed and for doctors. The final results of all these studies have helped several countries write guidelines for the treatment of low back pain. Deciding whether rest or activity worked best was one of the questions answered.

For patients with low back pain that just started, four days of complete bed rest is no better than normal activity. In a way, the bed rest was worse because it required the worker to use sick leave. Since the outcome was the same with rest or activity, the sick leave was probably used unnecessarily. These results are based on patients who are employees and therefore should not be applied to the general population.

Sylvie Rozenberg, MD, et al. Bed Rest or Normal Activity for Patients With Acute Low Back Pain. In Spine. July 15, 2002. Vol. 27. No. 14. Pp. 1487-1493.


*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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