For most individuals and couples, a healthy sex life, to include the best sex positions, is a vital component of overall well-being. Chronic back pain can take a toll on the quality of relationships and life in general for those who suffer as well as for their significant others. Finding ways to enjoy sexual activity without pain is, then, an important component of pain management.
Until now, there wasn’t anything in the way of scientific research into optimal sex positions for people with back pain. But thanks to researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada, physicians finally have some scientific evidence to base position recommendations on, particularly for men with a herniated or bulging disc in the lumbar spine.
The results of their research run counter to stock medical advice which, until recently, involved telling patients with any type of back pain to rely mainly on the “spooning” position for pain-free sex. Not only is this ineffective for patients with discogenic pain, but it can actually make pain worse.
The researchers analyzed spinal movement and muscle loading in ten couples engaged in intercourse using five common positions. Their primary finding was that the “doggy style” position – in which the man with discogenic back pain kneels or stands behind his bent-over lover – was ideal, and that a special thrusting technique called “hip hinging” is superior to the normal way of thrusting that involves bending the spine.
When a man thrusts, he often flexes his lumbar spine to move his pelvis forward. For someone with a herniated or bulging disc, this increases pain; when the fronts of the vertebrae move closer together, they squeeze disc fluids to the back where the spinal nerves exit. This can cause significant localized and referred pain.
Hip hinging is a thrusting technique in which a man keeps his spine immobile, instead moving his hips from the bottom where they connect to the legs. This thrusting technique, easy to achieve in the “doggy style” sex position, can help many men with disc-related pain enjoy pain-free sex.
See more on the new research, along with a video demonstrating the hip hinging thrusting technique (with an anatomical model!), at uwaterloo.ca.