The Southeastern Spine Institute

surgeryBack surgery is a big deal, so comply with your doctor’s orders during your back surgery recovery. You have to continue on medication for pain, undergo a series of physical rehabilitation sessions and confine yourself to those activities that do not reinjure your back. In other words, you have to take it easy.

The same applies to intimate relations. You and your partner may not be pleased with your doctor’s recommendations since you’re probably anxious to pick up where you left off before your surgery. Your desire to return to a normal level of activity may be especially pressing if your pre-surgery back pain had dampened your sexual relations. But if you want to enjoy the full freedom from back pain after your back surgery recovery period, follow your doctor’s orders.

The Recovery Process

Certainly, the sexual activity you can participate in depends on the extensiveness and type of surgery you underwent and the progress of your back surgery recovery. An understanding and empathetic partner may encourage you to wait until you are physically ready and back to your normal routine. A loving partner believes that your comfort comes first during your recovery period.

Side effects of resuming intimacy too soon can include:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain at the incision point
  • Nausea from the pain medication
  • Pelvic area numbness
  • Difficulty obtaining an erection
  • Vaginal dryness

During your back surgery recovery, invite your spouse or partner to join you during a physical therapy session to learn about some of the restrictions you face. Ask your physician or physical therapist to explain to your partner some of the reasons for waiting. Including your partner in conversations about intimacy can help maintain your emotional intimacy. Honest communication underlies healthy sexual relations.

The Benefits of Waiting

“Wait” isn’t a word you may want to hear during back surgery recovery. You may feel as if you’ve waited long enough now that the surgery is behind you. But it can be worth the wait to bring intimacy back into your relationship.

Following your doctor’s orders actually may improve your relations. The benefits of waiting to get intimate following back surgery can include:

  • The incision is less sensitive to touch.
  • Muscle spasms won’t interrupt you.
  • Your spine can support your every move.
  • You are stable for longer periods of time.
  • You won’t add frustration to your list of surgical consequences.

As you ease back into your lovemaking, your doctor or physical therapist may share some positions that you can use during your back surgery recovery that may be easier to handle. Talk about sex with your partner and include your doctor when necessary. And take a few tips to smooth the transition back to full intimate relations:

  • Use pillows to support your back and your knees in certain positions.
  • Take a pain pill before engaging in sex to ease discomfort.
  • Ask your partner to refrain from putting weight or pressure on your back.
  • Try non-sexual touching, which can be holistically comforting, reduce pain and aid in healing.
  • Apply ice before you cuddle.
  • Relax with a massage before sex.