Back Injuries That Require Bed Rest

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: February 13, 2023

When searching for a spine-related blog to write, we noticed that one of the trending searches on Google was for the phrase we used as the blog title – Back Injuries That Require Bed Rest. While it’s true that a number of spine conditions can be effectively treated with a combination of techniques that include rest, we think that a number of people who searched for that phrase are ultimately going to be disappointed by what they found. Below, we take a closer look at the idea that bed rest can cure back ailments.

Bed Rest And Back Pain

Wouldn’t it be great if the best way to treat a back injury was to just lay in bed for a few days? You could skip work or get out of other obligations and do so with a clean conscience knowing that you need to stay in bed in order to help your back heal.

Unfortunately, that’s not how the healing process works. Sure, a little protection in the form of short-term rest will be great for your spine. If you’re dealing with disc pain, a muscle strain or a soft tissue injury, resting or avoiding strenuous activities can protect the area when it’s in a weakened state and prone to additional injury. However, if you keep just laying around, hoping that time will indeed heal all wounds, odds are you’ll find that you’re not achieving the recovery you had hoped for.

Extended bed rest isn’t a great option for a number of reasons. For starters, muscles and other soft tissues will begin to decondition. Your muscles rely on movement and actually crave strenuous activity to help develop and strengthen these tissues. Your muscles and supportive soft tissues will become weaker if you have prolonged bed rest or become sedentary throughout your recovery, so make sure you’re testing your body with some light movements before progressing to more strenuous activity.

Movement also helps to improve your circulation, which is very important during the recovery stage after an injury. Good circulation helps to bring repair cells to an area and ensure your body has enough oxygenated blood to function properly. Circulation in and out of an area can also help you control swelling, and prolonged swelling can actually serve to slow down the recovery process. Getting up and moving will help increase your circulation, which is vital for a speedy recovery.

And while the idea of kicking back in bed and recovering may seem enjoyable, this type of isolation can be detrimental to your mental health. Caring for your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health when working to overcome an injury, and if you just lay in bed and aren’t active or interacting with others, you may be at risk for certain mental health issues, like depression or anxiety. These mental health issues can make it harder for you to make a strong physical recovery, so be mindful to manage your physical and mental health when working through a back injury.

In all, rest can be great in the short-term and is a wonderful compliment to a treatment program that includes gentle exercise and physical therapy, but like opioids, it’s not a great stand-alone option. For best results, most back issues are going to require some active intervention, and we’d be more than happy to help set you up with a care plan that gets you back to a pain free way of life.

For more information, or for help with a different spinal issue, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.

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