Back Pain and a Healthy Sex Life
Did you know that approximately 80% of adults will experience one or more episodes of back pain in their lives? Whether acute or chronic, back pain can make even the simplest activities difficult. The good news is—you don’t have to back off from enjoying a healthy sex life because your back hurts. Believe it or not, there are ways to manage your back pain and prevent it from interfering with intimacy between you and your partner. Here are some tips to help you reclaim an active sex life and get back to business in the bedroom, despite the pain.
Maybe you’ve been avoiding sex because you don’t want to aggravate your pain. Perhaps your partner is afraid of inadvertently hurting you during sex. If you or your partner feels apprehensive about engaging in sexual activity, the smartest thing to do is talk about it.
Fear can be just as disabling as back pain
Chronic back pain is often accompanied by feelings of depression or frustration. Sometimes the emotional turmoil can cause you to avoid physical contact, which only compounds the problem. The key to overcoming that is to communicate with your partner. What you’re feeling may be difficult for someone else to understand, but talking about it will help you move beyond the challenges that back pain imposes on your life.
Talking openly with your partner about your concerns is the gateway to resuming or improving sexual relations. Good communication reduces the risk for misunderstanding and enhances your relationship—so ditch the fear factor and start talking.
Being prepared means speaking candidly with your doctor about any limitations your condition may impose on your readiness for sexual activity. Sex-related questions are nothing to feel embarrassed about. Knowledge is power, so don’t hesitate to take the initiative and become an active participant in your care.
It also means planning for sex and making accommodations when necessary. Preparing for sex won’t make it any less enjoyable. However, tight muscles or the fear that one wrong move will leave you writhing in pain is guaranteed to put a damper on any romantic rendezvous.
Consider taking an analgesic beforehand to offset pain. Or, incorporate a warm bath or gentle massage into foreplay. Try different positions and identify several that are comfortable for you and your partner.
Did you know that lying flat on your back puts 55 pounds of pressure on the spine? You can cut that pressure in half by using cushions, rolled towels or pillows for support under the knees or lower back. Consider different locations and don’t limit your lovemaking to the bedroom. For many, lying down on a firm surface may be more comfortable than a mattress.
Some positions may exacerbate back pain, such as lying prone, arching your back or lying supine without pillows to support the head. These positions tend to put pressure on the spine, and as a general rule, should be avoided.
Relax and enjoy the moment
Simply put, sex is good for you. It elevates your mood and causes a release of endorphins— the body’s feel good chemicals. When endorphin levels are high, the negative effects of stress are reduced, and you feel less pain. Achieving orgasm also relaxes all the muscles in the body, leading to a reduction in painful symptoms related to your spine condition.
Furthermore, sex exercises muscles that typically aren’t use as often. Having sex can be an effective form of exercise that strengthens muscles in the groin and pelvic floor.
Suffering from back pain doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy sexual intimacy. In fact, you might discover that longer foreplay or experimenting with different positions enhances your sex life.