Back Pain and Sex: Care Instructions

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It's common to be afraid to have sex when you have back pain. But you can still have a satisfying sex life. Talk to your partner about which movements are comfortable for you and which aren't. If the thought of having pain during sex worries you, talk about that too.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Learn which sexual positions may be good or bad for your back. For example, some back problems cause pain when you bend forward. Others cause problems when you arch your back.
  • Try positions you've never considered before. You may need to use a firmer surface than your mattress, such as a soft rug on the floor or even a sturdy chair. Oral sex might be easier than intercourse.
  • Go slow. Sex is like exercise—warming up and stretching first are important. Many people use yoga to gently stretch their muscles. When you're ready to have sex, keep your movements slow and gentle.
  • Take a hot shower to help relax your muscles. Or have your partner give you a massage.
  • Increase the time you and your partner spend touching and caressing each other before sex (foreplay).
  • If it hurts, stop. That may seem obvious, but when things get passionate, it can be hard to stay in control. Try to keep it slow so that you can stop right away if your back starts to hurt.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.