Recent research out of the University of Waterloo blew conventional medical advice about the best sex positions for men with lower back pain out of the water. The study offered the first scientifically-backed evidence for the best and worst sex positions for men with different types of back pain.

The researchers analyzed spinal movement and muscle loading in 10 couples engaged in intercourse using five common positions. From the results, they were able to offer preliminary recommendations for positions to pursue and avoid for either “flexion-intolerant” or “extension-intolerant” men. Flexion intolerance is marked by increased back pain upon bending forward, which commonly occurs in men with a herniated disc. Extension intolerance is characterized by increased pain upon bending backward.

Flexion-Intolerant Positions

The following are sex positions that flexion-intolerant men, according to this study, should be comfortable in:

Doggie Style: This position involves one partner on all fours with the other partner behind, entering from the rear. Two variations of “doggie style” include the receiving partner supporting him / herself with the hands or elbows. For the man with flexion-intolerant pain, entering from behind and thrusting from the knees and hips rather that the lower back is a good way to avoid exacerbating pain.

Missionary Modification: A man with flexion-intolerant pain can also assume the missionary position, with his partner lying on her back. He can prop himself up on his hands to extend his back and avoid flexing the lower back when thrusting.

Extension-Intolerant Positions

Men with this type of back pain benefit from positions that would be detrimental to someone with flexion-intolerant back pain. The study identified two optimal positions:

Spooning: The two partners lie in fetal position with the partner in pain behind the other. The flexed position precedes exacerbation of extension-type pain. (Spooning is the position that doctors have generally recommended to people with back pain, but this study found it unidal for men with flexion-intolerant pain.)

Missionary Modification: Here, the man on top will support himself on his elbows, lying almost against his partner. She can flex her hips and bend her knees at his sides to assist in making the position comfortable for him.

Further Research

The reported findings that far have not focused on women with back pain. Researchers plan to publish findings in this area soon, as well as optimal positions for people with hip pain. For now, women can use common sense and favor positions that do not require them to bend their spines in ways that exacerbate pain.

Maintaining a healthy sex life in the face of chronic pain is important for many individuals and couples. The positions that are right for you depend on what type of pain you have. Communicate with your partner about your needs, and find time to experiment!

Learn more about the Waterloo sex study at http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/best-worst-sex-positions-for-back-pain/ .