Sex and Low Back Pain

Sex and Low Back Pain

Sex and Low Back Pain

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Counseling on Sex and Low Back Pain is sensitive but necessary.  After gaining the trust of my patients,  this does become a common topic.  You could imagine,  it can be difficult to keep a straight face while fielding very graphic and detailed questions.  But,  there has been some research on this very topic  as sex is instinctual, with physical,  pyschological and emotional  components.

What we do know is back pain does contribute to lack of desire,  poor performance, and reduced frequency.  Couples naturally have barriers to having sex.  Lack of time,  too tired,  life stresses, etc.  Adding back pain can cause that one more barrier to reducing physical intimacy.  To some couples,  that can have a lasting effect.    We do not need scientific studies to show that any pain will make physical activities difficult.   But,  never the less,  there has been studies,  based on surveys,  indicating definite decrease in frequency, desire and satisfaction. 

At the same time,  there are studies indicating recovery from episodes of disk herniations,  have corresponding return of sexual parameters.  Some of the studies indicate people return to sexual activities in about 3-4 weeks after successful lumbar discectomy.  Other studies have looked at the rates of sexual dysfunction in people with chronic low back pain.  Population studies indicate chronic low back pain people have higher rates of dysfunction,  but,  even in the group of patients with chronic low back pain,  stratification of the data does show some factors such as younger age,  lower BMI,  lower duration of the condition is associated with higher rates of sexual activity, and function.

In relationship to sexual activity and lumbar spinal fusion, or lumbar disk replacement,  fortunately the data indicates improvement in the sexual parameters in patients who have undergone the surgery.

So,  what is the bottomline?

First of all,  the topic of sex and low back pain is common to most patients.  Surprisingly,  my patients seem to speak freely about the issue.   In terms of patients with chronic low back pain,  exercise,  weight management, use of NSAIDS, and depression management also improves sexual parameters of desire, and performance.    Studies confirm common sense.  Anything you do to improve your pain,  or strengthen your back can improve your sex life.

For many,  there are certain positions that increase stress on the back, and therefore affects the sexual experience.   Without being too graphic,   certain lying down positions,  or hyperlordotic postures can increase discomfort.   But,  in general,  pain will be your guide to activity levels.

For spinal fusion,  or disk replacement patients,  I would doubt this will even be a possibility in the initial post op phase.  But,  with pain as your guide,  eventual the desire curve will intersect the pain curve,  allowing you to determine the proper time to resume activities.  As stated above,  for simple discectomy patients,  usually there is a 3-4 week delay before activity.  Spinal fusion or replacement patients typically wait longer.

Sex and Low Back pain is a “whisper” topic for many of my patients.  But,  it really is one that is comtemplated,  if not verbalized.   Anything that improves your back pain,  should improve your physical capacity to have sex.   Pain will be your guide.  Learn ways to reduce the pain.

On a lighter note,  headaches are rarely associated with low back pain.

 

 

Citations

  • Tekgül ZT, Pektaş S, Turan M, Karaman Y, Çakmak M, Gönüllü M. Acute Back Pain Following Surgery under Spinal Anesthesia. Pain Pract. 2015 Nov;15(8):706-11. PubMed PMID: 25469794

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Author and Contributor to www.Spine-Health.com – July, 2015

www.Spine-Health.com/author/john-h-shim-md-facs

Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

Board Member Morton Plant Mease Research Council

Co-Director of Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.

One of “6 Spine Physicians Ranked #1 on Google” – December 2016

Top Ten Most Liked Spine Surgeons on the Internet – July 2016

2016 Spine Surgeons to Know list – January 2016

2014 Spine Specialists to know list – September 2014

One of Ten Leaders of Certified Spine Programs – December 2011

 

The Best Orthopedics in Tampa

The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
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