Let’s Talk About Sex!

There are three areas of conversation that we are told too avoid at all cost while in the treatment room; sex, politics and religion. These subjects are clearly based upon ones personal opinions and beliefs and are rarely needed to provide sound clinical outcomes in massage therapy.

Today, I am making an exception. New research has been revealed that can help thousands of patients who routinely suffer from low back pain during sex. Over my 20 plus years in the industry, I have seen many patients who complain of pain during sex. Not wanting to abstain from what is commonly considered to be a pleasurable experience, I am often asked what the best position is for avoiding the occurrence of back pain during sex. Until now, my answer has been the same as the majority of health care professionals, “spooning”.

“If you survey the primary care physicians around the world, they will tell you that they are absolutely lost when a couple comes to them and says that ‘sex causes back pain and in fact we are now abstinent or celibate because we’re knackered for two month afterwards’,” says McGill.

But alas, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Stuart McGill, one of the foremost authorities in low back pain and PhD candidate, Natalie Sidorkewicz at Waterloo University, they have conclude that spooning may in fact be one of the worst positions to avoid back pain during sex.

“Before now, spooning was often recommended by physicians as the one position that fit all. But as we’ve discovered, that is not the case,” said Natalie Sidorkewicz, a PhD candidate at Waterloo and lead author on the paper. “Sex positions that are suitable for one type of back pain aren’t appropriate for another kind of pain.”

sex back pain best positionMcGill and Sidorkewicz set out to build an evidenced based practical ‘atlas’ matching sexual positions and styles with potential back pain triggers. Ten healthy couples were recruited and filmed using motion capture and infra-red technology while they had sex. The researchers were in a separate room where they could hear, but not see, the participants. Electrodes were used to record muscle activity in certain parts of the body to get an idea of force.

In the end, the results of the study have provided health care professionals with a general ‘atlas’ of how to best limit the degree of back pain one may experience during sex by providing suggested positions based upon the specific movements that elicit back pain. The most significant of which was that more hinging that takes place at the hips and the less hinging of the spine, the better off their back is.

I encourage you to watch the video below to learn more about the results of the study. Regardless of whether or not you currently experience back pain during sex, this study will likely come in handy at some point in your present of future experiences considering that 85% of us will experience debilitating back pain at some point in our lives.

Until next month, Feel Better!

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