Back Pain? Best Sex Positions for your Bad Back

Hello readers! Today I am thrilled to share with you an article written by a local chiropractor who, like me, recognizes the importance of having great sex in your relationship. Dr. Jennifer Smith’s article discusses the Best Sex Positions if you have a bad back. Dr. Jen doesn’t mess around- this article is jammed packed with visuals to help you have the greatest sex, even if you have an aching back! 

Back pain isn’t just one of the most common reasons for missing work; it impacts all areas of life, including your sex life. Up to 73% of women with lower-back pain report having less sex as a result of their discomfort and I would wager that this statistic is similar for men. Since low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, with 4/5 people who will suffer from low back pain at some point in their life, this is an important topic to discuss!

Michelle Coomes, a psychotherapist who focuses on relationships, parenting, and creating a life you love, explains that connecting through physical touch is one of the key ways to express and feel love with your partner. For many, physical touch is how we feel loved and having barriers or limits to that form of expression may cause serious issues within the relationship. It is important to recognize back pain and seek therapeutic relief as to minimize the effects that it may have on your life, including your sex life. Trying out different positions and communicating with your partner on what feels good and what causes pain not only allows you to engage in sexual intimacy but also strengthen your communication with your partner. Having an in-the-moment conversation about how a position feels can increase your trust for one another in all areas of your lives.

The Research:

For a long time, spooning has been considered the best position for all people who suffer back pain however, there had been no research to support or refute this recommendation. That is, until now!

For the first time, a new study from the University of Waterloo in Canada has taken a scientific approach to learn how to avoid exacerbating and/or causing back pain during sex by investigating the ergonomics and body mechanics associated with sex.

The Waterloo research team recruited 10 healthy couples who did not suffer from low back pain. The couples were outfitted with reflective markers that acted as sensors, similar to what video game animators and visual effects artists use, to model the spine angles used during five different sexual positions. They also monitored how hard muscles worked during sex, and even which muscles were affected by orgasm.

The first phase of the study looked closely at male movement in the “spooning,” two variations of the “missionary position,” and two variations of the rear-entry quadruped (also known as “doggy-style”) position.

Now this study use heterosexual partners, with a general focus on the male having the back pain however, the recommendations can be applied to anyone, male or female, who is controlling or not controlling the movement within these positions.  In regards to any position, it is recommended, just like with lifting, the movement should be created through the hips and legs and not though the spine. The individual who is not controlling the movement should aim to maintain a neutral spine during positions which will limit stress and strain on the back as well.

Your Type of Pain: All back pain is not created equal

It is important to identify directional preference in relation to your back pain; determine which direction worsens your pain. In general, for most, it will be one of two options.

Flexion-Intolerant:  experience worsening pain when they touch their toes or sit for long periods of time.

Extension-Intolerant: experience worsening pain by lying on their stomach or standing for long periods of time.

Why is this important? The researchers noted that for two positions, missionary and rear entry, not all variations are created equally. In the study, slight changes in the posture of the female (non-controlling) partner changed the kind of muscle movement the male (controlling) partner and vice versa, for both the rear entry position and missionary.

Positions for Flexion-Intolerant:

Best:

Controlling: Missionary where the person controlling the movement is propped on their hands

mis arm

Controlling & Non Controlling: Rear-entry position where the partner not controlling the movement is propped on their elbows (Elbow position may be more comfortable than resting on hands)

flex best

Non-Controlling: Spooning

spoon

Worst:

Controlling: Spooning

cont spoon

Controlling & Non-Controlling: Missionary position where the arms are propped on the elbows

mis elbow

Positions for Extension-Intolerant:

Best:

Controlling: Spooning might be the most pain free position for these individuals

cont spoon

Controlling & Non-Controlling: Missionary position where the arms are propped on the elbows

mis elbow

Worst:

Controlling & Non-Controlling: Rear-entry position where the partner not controlling the movement is propped on their elbows and/or hands

flex best

Controlling: Missionary variation where the person controlling the movement is propped on their hands

mis arm

Non-Controlling: Spooning

spoon

Future Research:

The University of Waterloo intends to look at the impact of orgasm on back pain as well as do additional studies for those with hip pain and additional categories of back pain to further develop the guidelines.

Health and Happiness,

~Dr. Jen

Jennifer Smith, DC, MSACN

Resources:

https://uwaterloo.ca/news/news/back-pain-killing-your-sex-life-groundbreaking-study-reveals

https://uwaterloo.ca/stories/waterloo-research-best-sex-positions-women-bad-backs

https://uwaterloo.ca/stories/low-back-pain-waterloo-research-reveals-best-sex-positions

Creative Insights Psychotherapy

Disclaimer: Information contained within this article is not meant to replace medical advice provided by a qualified physician in a health care setting.

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