4 Things to Do When You Have a Bad Back

A person reading in bed with their dog

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Although bed rest as a treatment for a bad back is no longer prescribed as often as it was in years past, there are still some situations in which you may find yourself with mandatory downtime. You might find that this is harder on you mentally than physically, especially if you're the type that always needs to be doing something.

Physical therapists no longer advise prolonged rest for back pain. Instead, moderate exercise is encouraged: you can try gentle movement, such as yoga, stretching, walking, swimming, or another light exercise specific to the cause of your pain. In general, while it's important not to push yourself to the point of pain or significant discomfort, activity will be most helpful to your recovery. Check with your doctor and physical therapist to find an exercise program tailored to your needs.

Exercise is now encouraged as a remedy for back pain. Still, if you are a doer and your spine pain keeps you in bed (or on the couch), you may be wondering how to meaningfully fill your time. Here are some ideas for passing the time when, because of your back, you need to take a rest day and being in the swing of things is just not possible.

Writing and Journaling

Whether you write for self-expression (such as journaling and writing as an art form) or you do it for functional reasons (business and personal correspondence, for example), being confined to bed is a great time to do work on this aspect of your life.

Get Caught Up on Your Reading

Lying immobilized while you wait for a back treatment may provide you with the perfect opportunity to finish all those books and articles that have been on your bedside table.

With the right accessories, e-readers may be instrumental in helping you manage the potential muscle strain that often comes with holding, handling, and carrying reading materials.

Organize Your Photos and Do Some Scrapbooking

You might love the idea of scrapbooking and making personal art, but often feel too busy to give this activity priority.

If you don't want to scrapbook (physically or digitally), you can organize your digital photos on your laptop or upload and organize photos to online sharing sites such as Flickr.

Plan Your Home Decor

Staring at the walls and ceiling doesn’t have to be boring. As you lie there, you might get to thinking about what colors, plants, or furniture pieces could spruce up your environment. Just don’t forget to create a budget for the project when you’re done dreaming.

Other things you could try while healing your back include knitting or another type of crafting, learning new video games, listening to podcasts, bonding with your pet, watching instructional videos on YouTube, or finding new music on your favorite streaming service.

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