It’s natural to say when it hurts or feels uncomfortable that you’re just not going to do it anymore. People tend to get fearful and they stop doing things, and little by little they can’t do most things anymore. Scaling back in reducing the time, frequency or load of the activities might be a better option than staying in bed for long periods of time. For example, if you are a jogger or walker you could reduce the distance, and walk for shorter periods of time.
Prolonged bed-rest just slows down the healing process. Dr. Adam Pearson, MD, MS, Spine Surgeon says it doesn’t mean you should run a marathon, but keeping active is the best thing you can do for back pain. A vicious cycle of pain followed by more rest, followed by new pain due to that rest, can spiral downwards over a couple of months and leave you with abnormal movement patterns. Imagine continuing to limp months after your ankle sprain has healed because you were worried that it would still hurt. You would have secondary pains in the other foot, back and hip due to the persistent limping alone. Bed rest for the spine means limited mobility. The spine doesn’t have the ability to get nutrients like most parts of the body. It needs motion in order to move nutrients through the vertebral discs. Lack of motion means loss of strength and it impairs the spine’s ability to rehabilitate.
While your back may feel a little better in the short term, too much time in bed can trigger other problems as well. Muscles lose conditioning and tone, you may develop digestive issues such as constipation, and there is some risk of developing blood clots in the veins of your pelvis and legs. And being on prolonged bed rest does nothing for your mental health and sense of well-being. Depression, as well as an increased sense of physical weakness and malaise, is common among people confined to bed.
Contact one of our chiropractors to make sure your back pain doesn’t turn into a daily obstacle.
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