Rest Does Not Fix Chronic Back Pain

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Back injuries are common and annoying. Most people, young and old, will experience them too.

There is also a lot of differing information on the best way to handle them.

Some people swear by their chiropractor, others hate all chiros. Many will get manual therapy/massage done, others do not.

A lot of people will just rest until they feel better, but there are a few people out there who will actually work to fix the problem.

I will say that there is a time and place for such rest, and it usually has to do with acute or severe injuries. This may require surgery.

I think that almost every technique has its place when it comes to recovering from non specific or chronic injuries.

What causes most back injuries?

A lot of times it is poor body alignment from prolonged, bad posture. Performing activities with bad alignment can also be a solid strategy for back pain.

In this day and age of technology, computers are destroying spines. The rounded back posture that comes from using computers is a huge risk factor for flexion based back pain.

Most disc herniations occur as a result of loading the spine in a flexion based position.

On the other hand we can have extension based back pain. This happens in athletic populations or people that stand for a living, like teachers.

Extension based back pain is associated with having too much curve in the low back, making more of a C as opposed to the bottom of an S.

So the best way to fix back pain is to… not do anything?

I do not think bed rest is ever a viable option to bed rest a bad back. Bed rest is a band-aid. It may stop the bleeding but the problem will keep happening if the cause of pain is not removed.

If you cut yourself by slicing your thumb with a knife, you bandage it up and then not clipping your fingers again. If you keep slicing your thumb you will keep bleeding until you remove the problem.

This seems like common sense but it is literally what happens with bed rest.

Here is the scenario: Someone has back pain from prolonged sitting. It hurts a lot during the day, so the option is to just rest. The pain may go away temporarily but too much sitting is the issue.

The back is not going to recover until the root problem of prolonged sitting is removed.

Now maybe the person’s job does not allow for a lot of walking and standing. I cannot recommend that people find a new job, so they must train proper alignment and movement.

The better strategy is to fix the cause of the pain

It does not matter whether the pain is flexion or extension based, a person in pain must train in neutral alignment. Neutral is going to be achieved differently in those two examples and that is important to note.

Bed rest does not provide neutral alignment. Moving with a neutral, stable spine is going to be important for reducing back pain symptoms.

The best way to develop stability through the core does not involve moving it. Situps, crunches, etc. are going to make symptoms worse.

Getting the body to move with a stable core takes careful attention. There is usually instant feedback when the person slips out of neutral because their backs will hurt.

Developing basic squat, hinge, pushup, and lunge patterns are essential for recovering from back pain.

Training to move efficiently is going to make people stronger and less likely to regain painful symptoms.

This idea of bed rest does not just pertain to back pain; it is just what I work with most. Resting locations of chronic pain cannot just be rested and expected to heal.

There is most likely a lifestyle factor that is causing the pain. Until that issue is resolved the pain will continue to come back.

If you ever have to deal with injuries it will always be better to work on good movements. This will assist in actually fixing the problem.