What is the role of bed rest in the treatment of acute low back pain (LBP)?

Updated: Aug 22, 2018
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Stephen A Berman, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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The paradigm that best represents the elimination of activity or causative biomechanical loading is bed rest. Bed rest is usually considered an appropriate treatment for acute back pain. However, 2 days of bed rest for acute LBP has been demonstrated to be as effective as 7 days and resulted in less time lost from work. [54] Furthermore, prolonged bed rest can have deleterious physiological effects, leading to progressive hypomobility of joints, shortened soft tissues, reduced muscle strength, reduced cardiopulmonary endurance, and loss of mineral content from bone. [18, 7, 20] For these reasons and because inactivity may reinforce abnormal illness behavior, bed rest is usually avoided when treating chronic spinal conditions. [18, 7, 20]

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