Health Facts and Fiction
How true is the claim? It's true, but only for severe pain. For all but the worst cases, staying in bed is bad for muscular fitness and bone density, not to mention mood.
Why it gets repeated: Because it used to be standard medical advice. Newer research shows that getting up and about helps speed healing, and aerobic exercise produces endorphins, which can ease pain. Low-impact aerobics, walking, swimming, and pedaling a stationary bike are good options. Yoga may also help. A recent study found that back-pain patients who did yoga were less likely to require a doctor's care or medication to manage pain than were people who didn't do downward dog.
Bottom line: Taking it easy for a few days (and not necessarily in bed) will help relieve your immediate pain. But when you're ready, low-impact exercise will help get you back on your feet.