Past Articles

No Rest for Acute Low Back Pain

A growing number of studies show continuation of daily living activities for those suffering acute lower back pain to be equal to or superior to prolonged bed rest. One recent study examined 281 patients aged 18 to 65 years with acute low back pain. Their onset of pain was less than 3 days and none had pain radiating below the buttocks. One group was instructed to continue normal activity (insofar as the pain allowed), and the other was prescribed 4 days of bed rest. Patients were then seen at three visits: on day 6 or 7, after 1 month, and after 3 months. On day 6 or 7, pain intensity was similar for both groups, as was the overall judgment of the treatment by patients and physicians. At 1 and 3 months, the groups again had equivalent intensity of back pain, functional disability, and vertebral stiffness.

Source: Spine 2002;27:1487–1493