Back Pain Ruining Sex Lives

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New survey reveals back pain results in less sex, less satisfying sex, and more relational difficulties.

I spend a lot of time meeting with patients, and I know they can feel embarrassed or uncomfortable talking about sex during an appointment about their back pain

Sex and back pain make estranged bedfellows: if you have back pain, you'll most likely have less sex. That result comes from a recent national survey, Sexual Satisfaction and Back Pain, conducted by SpineUniverse. 72% of respondents said they had sex less frequently than before their pain began. And 70% of respondents found their sex life less satisfying since a herniated disc or spinal stenosis or even just a muscle strain gave them pain. 61% of back pain sufferers think that their ongoing pain has made their relationship with their partner more difficult.

The survey also revealed that for many patients, it's intimidating to talk to spine specialists about the sex and back pain connection. 67% of patients have never discussed the impact of their back pain on their sex life with their spine specialist. 52% of those patients said they didn't bring it up because they were uncomfortable with the issue or because their doctor didn't bring it up (perhaps the doctor was uncomfortable, too). To read the full results of the survey, go to

Less sex, less satisfying sex, and more relational difficulties: this isn't what people with back pain want to hear. They're already dealing with multiple ramifications of back pain in their daily lives.

"I spend a lot of time meeting with patients, and I know they can feel embarrassed or uncomfortable talking about sex during an appointment about their back pain," says Dana L. Davis, a physical therapist and the Clinical Director at Rehab Orthopaedic Medicine in Decatur, GA. "But as this survey shows, back pain does affect sex. If you're concerned, it's important to talk to a medical professional, and you don't have to be self-conscious because we want to help."

Dr. Jason M. Highsmith, a neurosurgeon in Charleston, SC, re-emphasizes the benefit of talking to your doctor. "Doctors understand that you want to continue your normal life in the midst of back pain. We can help you learn how to adjust your activities, including sex, to accommodate your pain and other symptoms--without hurting yourself more."

Spine experts have numerous tips that can help back pain sufferers have better sex. To read these tips, including positions that can help reduce back pain during sex, go to

About SpineUniverse
SpineUniverse, the most-visited spine-focused site on the web, provides online and offline resources for both patients and spine professionals. helps patients and their families understand their back or neck problems with clear, straightforward explanations about what causes spinal problems and how they can be treated. features an industry-leading library of patient case studies and education resources. Relying on an 80 member Editorial Board of leading spine experts, SpineUniverse ensures that all information presented is trustworthy and of the highest quality.

For more information, please visit


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Ethan Ash
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