True or false: Bed rest is always recommended for back pain

In the first few days after the initial injury, avoiding activities that worsen pain may help to relieve it, as it does with pain in any other part of the body, such as a sprained ankle. However, there is very strong evidence that keeping active and returning to all usual activities, including work and hobbies, is important in aiding recovery. Prolonged bed rest is unhelpful, and is associated with higher levels of pain, greater disability, poorer recovery, and greater absence from work. In fact, it appears that the longer you stay in bed because of back pain, the worse your pain becomes.

An increase in exercise and return to normal daily activity should be done gradually. Therefore, while performing some common tasks at work and home may initially be painful, early and gradual return to all these tasks is better for your back than prolonged rest.

Return to newsletter