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Sex tips for back pain sufferers

Written by Bosede Ola-Samuel - Tribune, Nigeria

Back pain can be an intruder into your sex life and even ruin your relationship, if you are not careful.
This article presents six steps you can take to keep the love in your life when you suffer from back pain. Back pain is one of the most common types of chronic pain men can suffer from; it affects millions of people every day.
There are countless types of chronic back pain; however, they generally fall into one of the following categories: mechanical back pain, injury-caused back pain, back pain caused by diseases, and back pain arising from infections. All these have very negative effects on the sex life of couples and they deny them the exciting moments provided by great sex.

Mechanical back pain is associated with the spinal columns or the surrounding muscles that make one more susceptible to chronic pain at the back region of the body. Disc degeneration is such an example of such pain.

Injury-caused back pain results from accidents, such as a car crash, a fall, as well as repetitive damage over the years due to wears and tears. This includes muscle sprains and strains, ligament damage and spinal fractures.

Disease-caused back pain: Diseases can cause back pain directly, if they target the back, or indirectly if they place excessive strain on the back. Such include arthritis (rheumatoid). Infections or tumours are potential causes of chronic back pain. Pregnancy can also exert a lot of pressure on the back leading to back pain.

Effects of back pain on sex.
Back pain can be an unwanted third wheel in what, otherwise, should be an enjoyable experience. Thus, sex becomes an uninteresting act to people with back pain, while the urge for sex is kept intact. This can be likened to the case of "the spirit is willing, but the body is weak." This may be the hidden reason for the many turndowns from married persons towards their partners. This is why it requires attention in order to assist such sufferers to minimise its effects on their sex life.
Sex Tips To Relieve 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. I believe it will help those who suffer from back pain, and at the same time be a source of good information to others. Enjoy it.
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 at 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 behaviour. "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 favourite 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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