You’d better avoid a lot of bed rest, no matter how painful your herniated disc, if you want to avoid a DVT (deep vein thrombosis).

“Yes, bed rest is never indicated for people with back problems,” says Dr. Michael Perry, MD, member of the North American Spine Society and American College of Sports Medicine.

“Studies have shown bed rest for neck or back problems to be detrimental for the patient.

“Being inactive can cause serious issues to form such as blood clots. If DVT develops, it can cause a pulmonary embolism, which is extremely dangerous.”

Lying around all day in the name of pain stemming from a herniated disc is the last thing you want to do.

Pain doesn’t always mean you should take to lying around or trying to sleep it off.

It’s one thing to sleep off pain from a temporary problem, such as feminine monthly discomfort or a headache.

  • But a herniated disc isn’t going anywhere too soon.
  • You need to learn how to live with it should you opt for conservative management.

This means avoiding excessive bed rest or lounging around. Physical therapy is a highly recommended mode of conservative treatment, but even if it fails, and even if you’ve decided to pursue surgery, you absolutely should not get in the habit of taking to bed rest, as this can become excessive—a major risk factor for DVT.

Part of the DVT could break off and travel to the lungs where it becomes a pulmonary embolism. The time lapse for this process is immediate.

A pulmonary embolism can take only moments to kill the patient. Warning signs of a major pulmonary embolism can come on quite suddenly, and the patient could be dead before the paramedics arrive.

A herniated disc, no matter how painful, and excessive bed rest, never mix well.

Dr. Perry is frequently sought out for his minimally invasive spine surgery expertise and is also a leading contributor to major medical publications. He is board certified in internal medicine.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. 
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