Heart DiseaseChronic Pain Sufferers: Take Heart!

Chronic Pain Sufferers: Take Heart!

Five tips for sharing the love, and keeping pain at bay.

Love is in the air and you are hoping for a romantic evening with your significant other? But are you stressed that your chronic neck or back pain will spoil the sensual sizzle? Wince no more. In this story, a Florida sex therapist and a pain specialist have teamed up to offer do-it-yourself relaxation tips for avoiding chronic pain and making this day of love unforgettable.

For pain sufferers it’s not sexual dysfunction or malfunction it is simple back pain or neck pain, says Mary Lutzo, PhD, a sex therapist and psychotherapist at the American Academy of Clinical Sexology in Orlando, FL.

Here are five tips for conquering pain versus pleasure:

  1. Talk it up. It’s important for couples to understand the emotional trauma that comes with chronic pain. As uncomfortable as it might sound to discuss sexual positioning or pain issues in the love department with your doctor, it is absolutely vital and completely welcomed, says Charles Friedman, D.O, and medical director for the Pain Relief Centers, a group of 16 pain treatment centers based in Pinellas Park, Florida.
  2. Mood matters. People also have to recognize that when someone is taking medications for pain management, this has a strong influence on desire and mood, says Lutzo, Both partners need to be aware of these effects. The pain-free partner can’t expect the one in pain to spontaneously respond to sexual advances.
  3. Check privacy settings. Plan for your intimate moments taking into account times of day when pain may be less apparent. Or, include a relaxing (and pain relieving) warm bath or shower as a prelude. There has to be a comfort level for the individual before they can respond to the advances of their lover, says Lutzo.
  4. Get physical. Understanding your condition and which positions bring on symptoms or alleviate them is important, says Dr. Friedman, Spine conditions or injuries can be categorized by what kinds of movements make symptoms worse. This information can be used to guide the selection of sexual positions. Exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles can do wonders as well. Strong, flexible pelvic floor muscles can reduce pain and enhance sexual feeling.
  5. Position matters. For neck pain sufferers any activity that causes you to hold your head too far back, bent to the side or bent too far forward puts stress on the muscles, ligaments and joints of your neck and can create neck pain. Take care to prop your head and neck with pillows or cushions to add support and avoid pain.


Intimacy doesn’t always have to be intercourse, says Lutzo. She suggests lying together, showing affection, caressing each other and reassurance to your partner so they feel whole again.

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