5 Tests to Avoid in Back Pain

Nathan Wei, MD; Bret S. Stetka, MD


November 06, 2013

In This Article

Cut Back on Bed Rest

The Recommendation: Don't recommend bed rest for more than 48 hours when treating low back pain.

The Rationale: In patients with low back pain, bed rest exceeding 48 hours in duration has not been shown to be of benefit.

Dr. Wei's Bottom Line: Bed rest is a double-edged sword. Short-term bed rest is beneficial. Longer-term bed rest, meaning longer than 48 hours, can be detrimental because it causes weakness of the paraspinal muscles and deconditioning. For uncomplicated low back pain, every attempt should be made to encourage stretching and strengthening of core muscle groups as soon as possible; an appropriate rehabilitation program should be initiated quickly.


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