Health & Fitness

Debunking myth on sexual inactivity and back pain

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Summary

  • Endorphins, also feel good hormones that are your body’s natural pain reliever, tend to increase when you engage in reward-producing activities, such as eating, working out, or having sex.
  • Sex simply acts as a painkiller, numbing the pain temporarily but not resolving the issue.

“I have had chronic back pain for a while now and I have been told that it is caused by lack of sex. Is this true and if so, how often should one have sex in a month to avoid the pain?”

This is a common belief in Africa especially among our men. Let us delve a bit deeper and see what the relation is between sex and back pain. While sex is a form of exercise depending on the various positions partners taken up, back pain like migraines and any other pain, people tend to pop pain killers to deal with the pain. Our bodies naturally produce such pain killers known as ‘happy hormones’.

One of these happy hormones is oxytocin. It is often called the “love hormone.” Oxytocin levels generally increase with physical affection like kissing, cuddling, and sex. This hormone oxytocin rises to almost five times just before an orgasm.

Endorphins, also feel good hormones that are your body’s natural pain reliever, tend to increase when you engage in reward-producing activities, such as eating, working out, or having sex.

Sex simply acts as a painkiller, numbing the pain temporarily but not resolving the issue. The more you pop the pain killer the more your body gets used to the ‘drug’ and stops working as effectively as the first time you took it. This means the body has to keep being sustained by more and more painkillers and stronger ones. This is unsustainable and in the case of sex this is impractical. If your first instinct is to blame your partner for your back pain, perhaps it is time to consider that your partner is avoiding sex for the same reason. This reverse is a rising concern. According to Spine Universe’s Sexual Satisfaction and Back Pain Survey done in the US, ‘while Victoria's Secret adverts encourage slipping into something seductive, many people are more concerned about slipping a disc during sex.

An exaggeration? When it comes to what's happening behind the bedroom door, this survey results are very revealing

In short, for the majority of respondents, back pain resulted in less sex, less satisfying sex, and increased relational difficulties with their partner. Looks like fewer people are having sex in the city or the country or even the suburbs.

Hmmm now where does that leave us; in the event of back pain should we have more sex or less sex?

The real question is ‘what is the cause of the back pain’? The root cause of the back pain needs to be addressed. An estimated five per cent of today’s back pain is as a result of disease, congenital factors or injury. About 95 per cent of today’s back pain is mechanical; caused by problems with structures of the back including muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, cushions between bones (discs) etc.

Some of the underlying mechanical causes are:

•How we sit and how long we sit

•How we stand and how long we stand

•How we lift and how much we are lifting without assistance

•How we sleep and what we are sleeping on

•The type of shoes

•Inappropriate or extreme strenuous exercise e.g in gyms, positioning during sex etc

•Obesity

It is very important that you get your back checked properly to find the real cause of the back pain whose treatment will actually not interfere with your sex life and in fact enhance it. Consult your physical therapist concerning the best positions during sex to reduce the risk of back pain or avoid aggravating existing back pain.