Are bed rest and exercise helpful in treating acute and chronic back pain?
Studies suggest that empiric bed rest in the acute phase of back pain is not as helpful as we once thought.
It has not been found to increase the speed of recovery and in some instances may even delay recovery.
However, in patients who report symptomatic relief from bed rest, 1 or 2 days of rest can be recommended.
In the acute phase, back exercises have not been found to be helpful, but their role is very important in treating chronic back pain.
In general, rapid return to normal activities with neither bed rest nor exercise seems to be the best recommendation for most patients in the acute phase of back pain.
However, patients should be told to avoid heavy lifting, twisting of the trunk, and bodily vibrations during the acute phase of their back pain. Chronic back pain responds well to intense exercise programs.