You may need to modify your activities initially, but the sooner you get back to doing them again, the sooner you will feel better. Research has shown that resting for more than a day or so does not help and may actually prolong pain and disability.
Getting stiff joints and muscles working can be painful, but this is a normal response and not a sign of damage. Feeling a bit sore initially is normal and often a good sign that you are making progress.
Changing your position or activity frequently through the day will help to prevent and reduce stiffness. Try to keep yourself active and build up your general activity gradually.
If you have been prescribed painkillers these may help you to return to normal activities. 'Over the counter' painkillers can also be helpful; a pharmacist will be able to advise you on the appropriate tablets.
Some people find that a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel on the affected area for 20 minutes can reduce pain. Other people prefer to use a pack of frozen peas wrapped in a damp towel for 10-20 minutes.
Hot and cold can burn. Please remember that you need to check (every 5 - 10 minutes) that your skin does not become very red or blotchy; if this happens, stop use.
Below are links to useful self-help leaflets and various websites, and other useful physiotherapy leaflets.