Scientists have found the sex positions that are worst for women with back problems, giving them hope for better sex lives.
The findings by the researchers from the University of Waterloo, which were part of the first-ever study to document how the spine moves during sex, outline the sex positions that women suffering from different types of low back pain should go for. The new recommendations follow on the heels of comparable guidelines for men released last month.
Also read: Expert tips: Spine-saving sex positions for men
Natalie Sidorkewicz, who led the study, said that though it was thought that spooning reduced nerve tension and load on the tissues, they found that it could actually be one of the worst positions for certain types of back pain.
The pioneering research combined infrared and electromagnetic motion capture systems, like those used by filmmakers for full computer graphic character animation, to track how 10 couples? spines moved when attempting five common sex positions. The findings were used to create an atlas, or illustrated set of guidelines that recommends different sex positions based on what movements trigger a patient's pain.
The atlas suggested that women who were extension-intolerant, meaning those whose back pain was made worse by arching their backs or lying on their stomachs, for example, replace spooning with the missionary position. Adding a low-back support, such as a pillow, could also help keep the spine in a more neutral position. For women who were flexion-intolerant, the atlas recommends spooning or doggy-style sex where the woman is supporting her upper body with her hands, not her elbows.
According to Statistics Canada, 4 of every 5 people would experience at least one episode of disabling low-back pain in their lifetime. Up to 84 per cent of men with low-back pain and 73 per cent of women report a significant decrease in the frequency of intercourse when suffering back pain.
The next phase of the study would involve recruiting patients with different categories of back and hip pain, as well as additional sex positions, to further develop the recommendations.
The study is published in European Spine Journal.
Also read: Men, stop spooning: It's bad for you!