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Bed Rest

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 4, 2022.

What do I need to know about bed rest?

Bed rest can help you heal from an injury, surgery, or illness. Bed rest may also prevent more damage to your body after an injury or illness. You may be on bed rest for hours, days, or weeks. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You may need bed rest for any of the following reasons:

  • To prevent a spinal cord injury from a fracture in your spine
  • To prevent dangerous bleeding after surgery or a procedure
  • To help heal from an infection such as a heart valve infection or bone infection
  • To decrease pain or swelling from an injury such as a herniated disc, broken bone, or torn ligament
  • To prevent preterm birth or miscarriage

What can I do to help myself heal while I am on bed rest?

  • Change your position in bed every 2 hours as directed. This will help prevent pressure sores. A healthcare provider may need to help you change your position to prevent injury.
  • Do range of motion (ROM) exercises as directed. ROM exercises can help prevent stiff joints and muscles. A healthcare provider will teach you how to do ROM exercises. The provider may also need to help you do ROM exercises.
  • Deep breathe and cough as directed. This will help prevent a lung infection. Take a deep breath and hold the breath as long as you can. Then push the air out of your lungs with a deep, strong cough. You may be given an incentive spirometer to help you take deep breaths. Put the plastic piece in your mouth and take a slow, deep breath, then let the air out and cough. You should deep breathe and cough 10 times every hour.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.