Up to 80% of adults suffer at least one episode of back pain in their lifetime. This means you’ve already felt the pain, are feeling it now or will feel it before you know it.
If you’ve had a back pain episode, the chances are that your first thought was to get off your feet, lie down and rest. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that unless the pain is severe or accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain radiating down the legs, rest is exactly the opposite strategy.
Staying active is an important piece of advice to follow in the majority of cases. That means avoiding bed rest, prolonged stretches of sitting, standing or inactivity. It’s better to continue to do all the things you usually do but avoid heavy lifting or intense physical activity, including twisting or other dramatic movements that could make the pain worse
While it may sound counterintuitive, research suggests activity can help reduce the pain and shorten recovery time in most cases of non-complicated back pain. The theory is relatively simple: inactivity can make your spine and back muscles tight and stiff, increasing the pain, particularly when you bend or stretch. Prolonged inactivity can also make you weaker. There is also evidence to suggest that the longer you stay in bed with pain, the more likely that your pain will become chronic or more disabling, often because you avoid moving for fear it will exacerbate the pain.
Of course, the first step when suffering back pain is to make a visit with a health care provider. The condition can be evaluated, anything more serious may be ruled out and treatment and self-care recommendations can be offered.