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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

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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