More than 80 percent of adults suffer from back pain at some point in their life. This means that if you haven’t had an episode of back pain yet, you most likely will (and probably sooner than you think). Chances are good that when the pain strikes, your first thought will be to get off your feet, lie down and rest. Unfortunately, research shows that unless the pain is severe or accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain radiating down the legs, rest is the exact opposite of what you should do to relieve your pain.
If you're suffering from back pain, staying active is the best advice to follow in the majority of cases. That means avoiding bed rest and sitting or standing in one position for long periods of time. Try to continue doing all the things you usually do, within reason. This means no heavy lifting or intense physical activity, including twisting or other dramatic movements that could make the pain worse.
While it may sound counterintuitive, abundant research indicates that activity can help reduce the pain and shorten recovery time in most cases of non-complicated back pain. In fact, one study that summarized findings from an international task force on back pain stated that bed rest is contraindicated in sub-acute and chronic cases of low back pain and in acute cases, bed rest should neither be enforced nor prescribed; and if authorized (based on pain indication), bed rest should be for the shortest duration possible.
The theory is relatively simple, if you think about it: Inactivity can make your spine and back muscles tight and stiff, increasing the pain, particularly when you bend or stretch. Prolonged inactivity can also make you weaker, not to mention that evidence suggests the longer you stay in bed with pain, the more likely that your pain will become chronic / more disabling, often because you avoid moving for fear it will exacerbate the pain.
Of course, the first step when suffering back pain is to make a visit with a health care provider who can evaluate your pain, make sure there's nothing more serious going on, and then offer treatment and self-care recommendations (including activity) to help relieve it. Enter your doctor of chiropractic, the expert in treating spinal pain. If you’re suffering from back pain, call our office at (303) 463-0722 to make an appointment for a free Consultation to determine if chiropractic is right for you!