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Top 6 Sex Tips for Back Pain Sufferers

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Updated June 15, 2007

Back pain can be an intruder into your sex life and even ruin your relationship, if you are not careful. This article presents six things you can do to keep the love in your life when you suffer from back pain. The tips and insights here are provided by physical therapist Lauren Andrew Hebert, who wrote "Sex and Back Pain," and Wendy Maltz, a social worker and sex therapist.

1. Try to Talk to Your Doctor About Your Sexual Functioning - or Turn Elsewhere

Patients tend to be uncomfortable about discussing sex and sexual positions with their doctors. According to Lauren Andrew Hebert, physical therapist and author of "Sex and Back Pain", a big part of the responsibility for the lack of communication between doctor and patient lies with the medical professionals. "Health care providers should be actively seeking the subject," he says. Sex is on par with returning to work and daily activities in diagnosing and treating back pain. If your health care provider will not address your questions about sex, Hebert suggests researching the information on the internet.

2. Address Your Attitude

Address your attitude about your condition and the effect it will have on your relationship. Hebert says that quite often relationships break up when one partner experiences back pain. This is because, he says, reaction to pain is a learned behavior. "As you decide to be, that's how you are." Often people in pain will exaggerate it by avoiding sex. "This is what ruins the relationship," he says.

3. Choose Sensuality over Sexuality

Accept that you may not be able to be as vigorous as you were prior to the onset of your pain. You can turn to your creativity and sense of discovery to help you adapt your sex life to the level your back can handle. Social worker and sex therapist Wendy Maltz suggests a change in goals to keep your sex life rewarding despite your pain. She suggests trying for emotional connection and fun over "hard driving orgasms".

4. Understand Your Back Condition

Know your condition and which positions bring on symptoms, as well as which alleviate them. Back injuries and conditions can be categorized by what kinds of movements make symptoms worse, and this information can be used to guide the selection of sexual positions.

5. Plan Your Positions

With your partner, plan out which positions to try. Often you can modify your favorite positions with just a pillow or towel. Other times, you need to communicate and work it out with your partner. Talk about it up front, then expect, at times, that you will need to modify the plan. Planning your positions is a valuable strategy, Hebert says, because relationships which accommodate back pain with a "we can adapt" attitude fare better than those in which the problem belongs only to the partner with the pain.

6. Help Your Sex Life While You Help Your Back- Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscles

Get your pelvic floor muscles in shape. Strong flexible pelvic floor muscles can greatly enhance sexual function. The good news is that they can also do wonders for your back. The reason for this is that they are a part of the core support system that balances out muscle usage and stabilizes body posture. Hebert says that along with their role in sex, the pelvic floor muscles are as important as the abdominals and low back muscles in back health.
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