Malmivaara (1995) found in the New England Journal of Medicine that relying on bed rest delayed recovery from back pain. It was better to attempt normal activity as much as possible and to move as much as it can be tolerated. This made sense in terms of reducing muscle stiffness which otherwise exacerbate the back pain.
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1. Malmivaara, A. et al. The treatment of acute low back pain -- bed rest, exercises, or ordinary activity? (1995) N Engl J Med. ;332(6):351-355.
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