Sex and Back Pain
Low back pain can have a debilitating impact to your sex life. Not only can it make you try to avoid any bedroom activities, it can also cause a strain in your relationship with your partner. However, if managed well, it doesn’t have to lead to avoidance or awkwardness with your partner. So how do we manage it?
The very first thing to do is of course to talk to your partner about it. Having an open communication with your partner helps a lot in reducing any tension. You need to let them know that what they may perceive as loss of interest, is actually your fear of triggering your back pain during sex. It is also important for your partner to understand that the back pain can also interfere with your performance.
Another person that you should communicate to about this is your healthcare professional. This can be your doctor or physiotherapist. In my 11 years as a physiotherapist, I have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of patients with back pain. Only two of them have broached the subject of sex with me. Most of my patients are too embarrassed to talk about sex even if I bring it up. It makes it difficult for us, healthcare professionals, to give you advice if you are not willing to tell us.
In general, there are 2 types of low back pain. One that gets worse with bending forward, and another that gets worse when standing straight. If you have a vertebral disc issue, you may have problems bending forward, but standing up straight tend to make you feel better. If you have spinal stenosis, a narrowing in your spine, you tend to feel better while bending forward and worse when standing straight.
The relieving positions of these 2 types of back pain is completely opposite of each other. Therefore, getting an accurate diagnosis is crucial in deciding what position works best during sex.
Prepare for sex
Planning can make sex better. It can also make it less likely for your back pain to trigger during sex. Some things that you can consider doing before sex include:
- taking pain killers
- taking a hot shower
- using a hot pack
- getting a massage from your partner
The last advice i have for you is experiment with new positions. Usually, the person who is suffering from back pain would prefer to be at the bottom because their back will be nicely supported. However, this largely depends on what condition you have and how severe your back pain is.
Exploring new positions can go a long way to helping you be pain free during sex and regain a healthy sex life.
Winsen graduated from University of Melbourne in 2012. He worked in organisations of various sizes such as Singapore General Hospital, Pain Relief Practice, and Physioclinic before working at Elevate Physiotherapy. He specialises in sports and musculoskeletal injuries and has worked with athletes of various sports such as fencing, dancing, dragon boating, and cycling.
In his spare time he enjoys singing and playing chess.