Pain Concern
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Bed Rest Recovery Advice Please

I have been bedridden for 2 weeks with awful sciatic pain, I am finally seeing improvement and able to move a bit but the muscles in my legs and arms are so weak from being nearly completely immobile for that time. I'm looking for advice on how to regain my strength, and I'm curious as to how long I will take to be back to normal. I am a server so in order to be back at work I need to be able to be on my feet. I am 20 years old and wasn't a crazy fit before but definitely in decent shape.

I've been walking a bit with my crutches but get very dizzy and weak after only a few minutes. It makes me nauseous so I'm trying not to push myself too much but I need to pay the bills so I need to be back to normal ASAP!

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Hi have you dealt with the issue that is causing the sciatica in the first place? Are you sure it's sciatica and not Restless Leg Syndrome?

As for getting back into shape things will have to be done slowly in stages. Stretching each muscle group is a great start. You can even start doing it in bed working from your toes all the way up your body to top of your head, it's also a good pre meditation technique. Then I would move onto standing, bending crouching gently and stretching back and legs. Then the best thing is swimming as it is non load bearing, building it up a bit each day and gentle walking. Just be gradual, don't over do it. This has worked for me after bedrest from lower back issues. Massage will help in improving circulation and relaxing muscles too. If you do push yourself too much you could end up back at square one.

It might be a good idea for doctor to refer you to Physio! depends how long waiting list is but they are great help and give home exercises. A simple one for legs is back against wall or door and slowly slide up and down bending knees start with a couple and build up, simple but tiring, it also keeps back straight!

Good luck



The first few days I couldn't move my leg an inch without screaming in pain. I went to the hospital and they confirmed it was sciatic pain probably due to a slipped disc that should shift back into place over time. I have been recommended to go to physio but I can't get there until I can walk more than a few steps to the car. That's why I'm looking to slowly rehabilitate until I can get from place to place. My main concern right now is just to be walking normal and get my circulation back in order.

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Yoga or Pilates would be good. I am not talking about the splits, heaven forbid, but you can sit down and still do leg muscle exercises. Enquire about Pilates, that's what I did, and if you can get a good teacher they can advise you on the best exercises and also will tell you what to do and not what to do.. You can even do Pilates sitting down. You will have exercises that will help your core as well. Try it.


Hi there have you done any work on base lines. And pacing. It sounds like your maybe over doing it which is a completely normal thing with chronic pain. Its someting most people with chronic pain will have done. It leads to whats called the boom and bust cycle.

While your putting stress on yourself both physically and mentally you will struggle to get sorted. It sounds like you may need to take it abit slower which is probably not what you want to here. Once you get to a good level i would suggest learning some techniques for pacing relaxation distraction and figure out your baselines.

I think what you have experienced is commonly known as a flair up. The trick with chronic pain is trying to stop these before they start and if they do realising thats what it is.

It may sound strange but everything you describe is completely normal.

It sounds like youve not had this long so will be encountering most of these feelings youve never had.

Learning to live with chronic pain is not easy but not impossible.

I really hope this helps. I have been and said everything you have said and done.

If i can help further please get in touch



Years ago when my back was as bad as yours I was told to rest and this took longer to recover from the damage done to my back, I was giving pain killers to help with the pain, the last time it happened I was advised to keep moving as much as I can but not to over do it , you know your body best start off slowly then build up this way you not do any more damage to your back I agree with some if the others comments about yoga/pilates as they do help .


You could start by using a tennis ball or foam roller to start reactivating the muscles. This always helps me if I have a trapped nerve or mild muscle pain.

Exercise/stretching wise, start slow and only increase one activity at a time. Waiting to see how you react to the increase for a few times before increasing the next activity.


Mornng LexaS

I am in the same situation as you. Been on total bed rest for 3 weeks ,and I cant believe just how quickly I seem to have lost all strength in my legs?

I have RA not sciatica but the effects of bed rest are very similar.

I have a physio who is calling in to see me and she had given me some exercises to do .

The first time I did these I was absolutely drained and my legs were all shaky.I have now managed to,increase the number of times I can repeat these exercise and am beginning to feel the benefit but I think its going to be a while before I am back to normal.

If it hurts while I am doing them she has told me to stop which I do,its the gentle repetitive movement that prodces results. Try and keep moving if you can ,even small movements are better than doing nothing.

I hope you can regain your strength fairly soon and get back to your normal self.

Take care,




Hi I emphasise with you as I suffer with chronic back pain. Every so often it goes and I am in agony 24/7. Maybe I am luckier than you, I don't know, but I can't have more than a day or 2 off my feet as I live alone. Despite the pain I still have to feed and wash myself etc. I couldn't walk or get to the chemist let alone the doctors for a week, but fortunately my sister has pain killers and I ended up taking some of hers.

You are very young so your body should recover it's fitness quickly. I agree with the others just keep moving gently as often as you can, then rest. Repeat and rest. Gentle exercise every hour or so is the key even if it is agony!

I hope you are pain free soon and back at work. x


I have damaged sciatic, thorasic nerves and herniated disks in my spine. Like you i ended up with bed rest. A good exercise to start with is ; lie in bed and slowly try to get your knee up to your chest. Stop as soon as it starts to hurt. Try to lift your legs whilst lying down. Do these for about ten minutes each morning then rest. Get up and start moving around but don't over do it. As everyone else has said, this will take time. Longest I've been out of action was six months but i did have a chest cast and neck brace at the time 😸 if you can, get a walking stick . It will help you witth your balance and give a bit more freedom than crutches.


I would suggest going to see your doctor. The discs in your back can't shift in and out of place, what was previously termed a slipped disc is a prolapse of a disc. The disc bulges, usually due to a sudden jolt/twist/lifting issue, and can affect the surrounding nerves to different extents depending upon how much they're touching /pressing on the nerve. The hospital would need to have performed an mri to be able to clearly see this though.

Bed rest is good for the first few days but gradual exercise is definitely best. Not talking getting down the gym for an intense session but walking a little, building up to going for a swim. I would also suggest finding an Alexander technique teacher in the area, huge help for dealing with this type of pain. Wish I had known about this option back in my twenties.

Best to see your doctor ASAP and find out for sure what is getting your sciatic nerve so painful.




Thank you everyone for the helpful advice :)


Agree with all the posters.

Just add that I found climbing stairs was also very helpful.

Excruciating at first- clinging to the bannisters and exhausted- ending up on hands and knees. But stuck at it- along with all the other exercises.

Something about a physical ascent seems to do things to the brain in terms of achievement and motivation.

Don't know why- but worked for me after 3 months in ICU.

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