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Back Pain After Sex

When back pain interferes with sexual intimacy, it can affect both partners and damage the relationship. Couples should discuss the issue openly and seek a diagnosis and treatment if necessary.

Fortunately, some simple tweaks can make sex more enjoyable for those with back pain. The key is finding a position that doesn’t trigger or aggravate the pain.

Causes

A strained back muscle is one of the most common causes of pain after sex. The pain may feel like a sharp, stabbing sensation that radiates to the left side of your lower abdomen. In most cases, a strained back muscle is only temporary. If the pain is severe, it may be necessary to see a doctor or physical therapist to get some relief.

Another possible cause of back pain after sex is a urinary tract infection (UTI). A UTI can lead to pain on the left side of your lower back that feels like a deep, dull ache. In many cases, a UTI can be treated with home treatment methods and medication.

For some people, certain sexual positions can make back pain worse. It is important to communicate with your partner about how you would like to pleasure each other without causing pain. Some couples will find that a more passive role, such as massage or oral sex, is less taxing on the back than genital penetration.

A hot bath or shower can help relax tense muscles and may ease pain. Taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, before engaging in sexual intimacy can also reduce back pain. Exercise can also help reduce back pain by strengthening the muscles and decreasing spasms. However, it is important to not overdo it and to stop when you feel the pain increasing.

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Symptoms

A woman with back pain during sex may find it helpful to use the missionary position, which involves supporting herself on her hands or on a pillow in order to bend or extend her lower back more. She can also try straddling the man (facing either toward or away from him) while he lies on his back with a pillow under his lower back or sits in a sturdy armless chair.

If the pain is not in the back, but rather in the vagina, it may be a sign of an infection or other gynecological problem. For example, a yeast infection can cause painful intercourse, along with thick white discharge and pain while peeing. If this is the case, treating the infection should relieve symptoms and make sex more comfortable.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can also cause pain during or after sex, along with symptoms such as abnormal discharge and itching. If you suspect this is the issue, a doctor can prescribe an anti-viral medication to treat the infection and help relieve symptoms of pain during sex.

It is important to be honest with your partner about the issues that are causing you pain. This way, you can both work together to figure out ways to reduce the pain and make sex more enjoyable for everyone involved. Adding extra lubrication, trying new positions and even icing the area before and after sex can all help make sex more enjoyable for people with back pain.

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Treatment

In many cases, back pain after sex can be alleviated with simple painkillers like paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Icing the area afterwards, as is often done by athletes, also helps.

Couples should take pain-relieving medication as needed and plan for sexual activities with care. This may involve modifying positions, using lubes or creams to reduce friction, and taking a hot bath or shower beforehand to relax the muscles in preparation for sex.

If pain persists, consult a doctor to determine what’s going on. If you suspect an infection, a test can confirm or rule out sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, mycoplasma, and trichomoniasis. The STIs cause pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, which can lead to pain and other symptoms during and after sex.

Talking openly with your partner can help. “When couples don’t discuss their sexual difficulties, it can be hard for them to find other ways to connect and feel connected,” says Marks. “And it can also cause a lack of interest in sex.” A physical therapist trained in pelvic health can troubleshoot the mechanics of different positions and offer alternative ones. The team at Fusion Wellness and Femina PT are well-equipped to do so. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. We also offer a sliding scale to make treatment affordable.

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Prevention

If you have back pain, taking a pain reliever before you get intimate can make sex more comfortable. Ice also helps, Marks says, because it relieves overstimulation of muscles and reduces inflammation that can trigger back pain. You can also take a warm bath or shower before sexual activity to relax the muscles.

If pain is preventing you from having sex, you and your partner can try different positions that place less stress on the back. But it’s important to communicate with your partner about the pain, because if you don’t let them know that your back is hurting, they might start to wonder why you are losing interest in their company.

For men, some positions, such as arching your back, may worsen your pain. For women, on the other hand, side-lying and doggy-style positions may cause more pain than the missionary position.

In rare cases, unprotected sex can lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs), which may come with back pain and vaginal discharge. If you develop these symptoms, talk to your doctor for treatment.

It’s also possible that you simply don’t feel aroused enough to have sex if your back is hurting. In that case, you and your partner can find other ways to pleasure each other, such as massage or oral sex. Being open with your partner about your back pain and finding alternatives to sex that don’t involve penetration can help you keep your pleasure and maintain a healthy sex life.