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Low Back Pain: Easing Back Into Your Daily Activities

Topic Overview

Bed rest of more than a couple of days can actually make your low back pain worse and lead to other problems such as stiff joints and muscle weakness. If you do use bed rest for a short time, remember the following guidelines.

  • Sitting up in bed puts additional pressure on the intervertebral discs. Lying on your side puts a little more pressure on the discs than lying on your back.
  • Trying to eat a meal in bed can be awkward and can put more strain on your back than if you get up and eat at a table.

Avoid activities that make your pain worse. Modify activities that you cannot avoid doing. Here are some tips:

  • Place one foot on a stool when standing for an activity such as brushing your teeth.
  • When putting on pants or stockings, stand with your back against a wall. Then slide your shoulders down the wall as you bend your knees. Gently step into your pants or stockings, one leg at a time.

Return to your normal activity gradually but as soon as possible. Start with walking 10 to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Joan Rigg, PT, OCS - Physical Therapy
Last Revised February 15, 2012

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