Past Articles

Stay Active or Stay in Bed?

A recent study assessed whether being active is better than bed rest for the treatment of acute low back pain or sciatica (pain shooting down the leg). One trial of patients with acute, simple low back pain found small differences in functional status and length of sick leave in favor of staying active, as compared with advice to stay in bed 2 days. Another trial compared staying active to 14 days bed rest for patients with sciatic syndrome, and found no differences between the groups. Researchers concluded that staying active alone has little beneficial effect for patients with acute, simple low back pain, and little or no effect for patients with sciatica. There was also no evidence that advice to stay active is harmful for either acute low back pain or sciatica.

Source: Spine 2002;27:1736–1741