Q. Is bed rest an effective treatment for anything?

  • Meta-analysis on 39 randomised control trials for 15 different conditions (5777 patients)

Following a medical procedure: Out 24 RCTs-No outcomes improved significantly

  • 8 worsened significantly in some procedures
  • Lumbar puncture – vertigo, nausea and vomiting (no significant improvement in headache)
  • Spinal anaesthesia – headache, back pain
  • Radiculography – headache, nausea,vomiting, dizziness
  • Cardiac catheterisation – haematoma,pain, bleeding

As a treatment Out of 19 RCTs-No outcomes improved significantly

  • 9 worsened significantly for some conditions
  • Acute low back pain – disability (day 1, day 7 and day 28), normal activity, pain
  • Labour – length of stay, contraction frequency, assisted delivery, anaglesia required, APGAR score
  • Proteiunuric hypertension during pregnancy – plasma urea and urate, premonitory symptoms of eclampsia
  • Myocardial infarction – VTE, mortality, non-fatal reinfarction, ischaemia or congestive cardiac failure
  • Acute infection hepatitis – time to recovery

A. There is no evidence that bed rest has any significant beneficial effect when used as a treatment or following a procedure. In some disorders, it seems to be harmful.