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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Answer

Answer

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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