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When muscles are overused, it can be difficult for them to heal. Taking time to rest, especially from the strenuous activities that might cause your pain in the first place, could be extremely helpful.
Effect of Resting on Low Back Pain and Sciatica
Prolonged bed rest is usually not advised. However, your doctor may recommend resting in bed for one or two days. Too much bed rest can weaken muscles and slow recovery. Doctors recommend staying active within the limits of your pain and avoiding activities that worsen back pain.
Guidelines for activity include:
- Do not bend or twist your back.
- Do not lift heavy objects. Learn the proper way to lift even light objects, using your knees rather than your back for leverage. If necessary, have a physical therapist or ergonomic specialist teach you proper body mechanics for daily activities.
- When lifting, squat down next to the object, hold the object close to your chest, maintain a straight back, and use your leg muscles to slowly rise.
- Plan ahead and ask for assistance with lifting or moving heavy objects.
- Avoid sitting for long periods. When you do sit, choose seats with good lumbar support. You may be able to use a standing desk at intervals to help avoid prolonged sitting.
- Avoid standing for long periods. as well. If you need to stand, place a low footstool in front of you and alternate placing each foot on it for a period of time. This will take some of the load off your back.
- Consider job retraining if your work requires a lot of heavy lifting or sitting. Ask whether your company has someone who specializes in helping redesign the workplace for the restrictions an individual with back pain requires.
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