What should you do when your GP tells you to bed rest?
Pain is your body’s way of telling you it needs some TLC. The statistics demonstrate that up to 80% of the population will suffer from back pain at some point in their life.
On many occasions, we will have patients call in to cancel because they have been advised to ‘bed rest’ and this article will explore the pro’s and cons of this advice.
things you would normally tolerate you will find excruciating
When is best rest useful?
In the early stage of an injury, inflammation is usually present. Inflammation increases your sensitivity to pain; things you would normally tolerate you will find excruciating e.g. brushing your teeth or putting your socks on.
During the early stage of your fresh back injury, bed rest gives your body the time it needs to settle down so that you can start feeling better.
What are the downsides to bed rest?
Often people think that bed rest means staying in bed for days on end. Resting for more than two consecutive days can lead to muscle atrophy, weakness and stiffness. If you get weaker, the chances of your pain persisting become higher. How can you avoid this?
What are some guidelines to bed rest?
If you are going to use rest in those early stages of your injury, here are some important points to consider:
- You should get out of bed and move every couple of hours. This might be as simple as walking around the house for 5-10 minutes .
- Increase your time out of bed as much as you can tolerate. Slowly building up to 20-30-minute increments.
- Avoid aggravating factors like bending and twisting whilst out of bed.
- Stop bed rest once you feel confident to get through your daily routine. This will stop you from losing too much strength.
Should you still come in for treatment once advised to bed rest?
Too often, we see patients have major setbacks which could have been avoided because they haven’t attended their appointments in this phase of treatment; not fully understanding their condition.
A good practitioner will educate you on what you can and can’t do to get through this very painful, early stage of injury.
Furthermore, current research supports the benefits of starting your rehabilitation earlier resulting in quicker recovery and even earlier return to sport when compared to those who delay their rehabilitation.
We hope this article has been helpful. If you find that bed rest is not giving you the relief you are looking for, feel free to get in touch and we will happily get you back on the road to recovery.