Sex can be enjoyable but sometimes painful without even realizing it. You can stay in a very awkward position for a very long time, and you only realize your muscles are sore, and your articulations are crying for help after you’re done. Back pain is a common symptom after sex, but it sometimes makes people think twice before enjoying their sexually active life. Why are you experiencing this symptom? Is it normal? What can you do to stop back pain from interfering in your sexual life?
Should I worry about back pain after sex?
In most cases, back pain is not a symptom to worry about when it shows up closely after having sex. If you’ve had your first sexual experience and then started to feel back pain, it’s probably because you’re performing movements relatively new for you. Your body was probably caught in an awkward position, or maybe you worked out new muscles in a completely new way.
If back pain after sex is a common problem, and you already have a long-time established sexual life, it might be one of two reasons. In men, it could be related to underlying back problems. Problems can range from day-to-day posture problems to a herniated disk. If the pain goes away by itself or with little to no help, it’s probably something related to your muscles and articulations. But you want to look for professional help if we’re talking about severe pain or one that is sustained for days without relief.
In women, back and pelvic pain after sex should be evaluated more carefully. They are more susceptible to urinary infections and some sexually-transmitted diseases. In some cases, an inflammatory process in the pelvic region causes severe pelvic pain and back pain. In other cases, a urinary infection travels upward and takes the kidneys, causing unilateral or bilateral back pain.
How can I relieve back pain after sex?
Most cases of back pain after sex are relieved by themselves. But you can always accelerate the process by trying the following recommendations:
- Using medications: Over-the-counter medications are usually enough to feel better. However, do not overdo, and always stays in the range of doses recommended by your doctor.
- Hot bath: This type of bath is a great way to relieve tension in your back if there’s a contracted or tense muscle. If you use Epsom salts or aromatherapy, your hot bath will be more relaxing and help you recover from back pain sooner.
- Massages: This is another way to relieve back pain, and even though it requires the assistance of someone else, it is probably one of the most comforting and useful. There’s nothing better than a good massage on your back when it feels sore.
- Hot and cold therapy: You can also use hot and cold compresses against your back to reduce inflammation and promote blood circulation. This type of alternating therapy is also beneficial for musculoskeletal problems.
If your problem is not associated with muscle tension, the recommendations above may only help partially. If the pain does not go away or in case of severe back pain, talk to your doctor as soon as possible to find out what is happening to you and the best way to help you.
What can I do to stop back pain from ruining my sexual life?
If you prefer not having sex just because you’re having back pain afterward, it is maybe the sign that there’s a problem you need to address. There are many alternatives for you, but it is crucial to find out why it happens so often. Talk to your doctor openly about it, and more importantly, talk to your partner. Try to find a way and a comfortable position that does not cause back pain. Also, consider depression and bad mood as another source, trigger, or aggravating factor of back pain after sex.
Try with one or a combination of the following tips:
- Try with new postures: New postures can make a difference in sex. Try to be comfortable and make small adjustments in your position and that of your partner to see how it goes.
- Take a shower before sex: This is not only suitable foreplay. A shower before sex relaxes your muscle tension and may contribute to easing your body and reducing the painful contractures after sex.
- Use pain relief creams: If you have a specific area that usually hurts after sex, you can apply a pain-relief cream there. The scent can also become a part of the sexual experience. Be sure to wash your hands after using a pain-relief cream to avoid contact with your eyes and other parts of your body and that of your partner.
- Explore with alternatives: If penetrative sex still causes tension and pain, remember that there are many other ways to please your partner and yourself. Explore erogenous areas, try with oral sex, let your imagination be your guide, but always stay safe.
- Use pillows: They can support your back, hips, neck and make a difference in muscle tension and other aspects that typically cause pain. This is usually a trial and error solution, but it will be possible to find the right position and pillow location to reduce back pain after sex with patience.
Back pain after sex is not uncommon, so do not feel bad about it. Talking to your partner is probably the best you can do, and there are many methods you can try. But do not forget talking to your doctor if this becomes a recurring problem, and especially if your back pain becomes severe and difficult to treat.
Larivière, C., Forget, R., Vadeboncoeur, R., Bilodeau, M., & Mecheri, H. (2010). The effect of sex and chronic low back pain on back muscle reflex responses. European journal of applied physiology, 109(4), 577-590.
Sidorkewicz, N., & McGill, S. M. (2014). Male spine motion during coitus: implications for the low back pain patient. Spine, 39(20), 1633.
Grabovac, I., & Dorner, T. E. (2019). Association between low back pain and various everyday performances. Wiener klinische Wochenschrift, 131(21-22), 541-549.