Back pain and erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a problem that occurs in many men, and for many reasons. ED is often caused by physical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and low testosterone. Other causes may include psychological issues, blood flow problems, hormonal fluctuations, and nerve damage.

Many people think that erectile dysfunction is just an old person’s problem or that it’s just in a person’s head, but that is not the case especially for those that also have low back problems. According to several studies about it, the percentage of men under 50 years old that has spine problems and suffer from erectile dysfunction could reach 34%. The link between spine disease and sexual potency has long been a subject of speculation, but the mechanisms remain unclear (1).

Along this post, we will analyze the reasons that could cause the problem and how are both diseases linked and what could help to resolve them.

Proven link between back problems and Erectile Dysfunction

According with recent studies directed by Irwin Goldstein, M.D., medical director of Alvarado Hospital’s Sexual Medicine Program—the first hospital-based sexual medicine program in the U.S.—and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, men who experience back pain and lower spine problems could also experience problems with erections (2).

Men with back pain may be experiencing blood flow difficulties in the pelvis as the cause of erection problems. According to Dr. Goldstein, pelvic muscles can become weak and spasm from back injuries, resulting in decreased sexual function from limited blood flow to the penis when muscles spasm.

Painkillers make the problem much worse

Based on a research made to 11.000 men  who suffer from back pain are in a higher risk for erectile dysfunction. The health records of the participants were analyzed to determine whether males taking prescription opioids were more likely to also receive prescriptions for  testosterone replacement or ED medications.

The investigators found that over 19% of males who took high-dose opioids for 4 months or more were also given ED prescriptions, while fewer than 7% of males who did not take painkillers received prescriptions for ED (3).

Muscular treatment for back problems helps

The goals of physical therapy are to decrease pain, increase function, restore normal movement, and prevent recurrences.

Massage therapy increases circulation to the affected area. There are several techniques and devices used in massage therapy.

Electrotherapy involves sending gentle electric currents through the skin to stimulate muscular contraction, increase muscle strength, and increase the flow of neurochemicals to the area.

In ultrasound, sound waves penetrate the skin and cause soft tissues to vibrate, creating deep gentle heat that increases blood flow, relieves pain and inflammation, and reduces muscle spasms.

All these techniques could help you to minimize your back pain without painkillers use what could help you also to improve your Erectile dysfunction problems (4).

Kegel exercises boost erections and restore strength

Several researches suggest pelvic muscle training may be helpful for treating ED as well as other pelvic health issues. Pelvic floor exercises improve the strength of the pelvic floor muscles and are more commonly known as Kegel exercises (5)

The best method for locating the muscles of the pelvic floor (the lower pelvis) is to stop your stream several times in the middle of urination. The muscles you clench to do this are the ones you need to exercise.

To perform a rep of Kegel exercises, squeeze those muscles, hold for five seconds, then relax. Repeat this 10 to 20 times, two or three times a day. You may want to try this in different positions, including lying down with your knees up, sitting in a chair, and standing (6).

To close, I would like to say men suffering from both back pain and erectile dysfunction may be surprised to find out that the back pain could be causing the erectile dysfunction.  Our bodies are a complex infrastructure of connected parts that can either work fluidly together or cease to function properly when one area is affected. Erectile dysfunction is often a symptom of other areas of concern.

The process of getting an erection begins when something sexually stimulating impacts the senses, making the muscles of the penis relax and blood flow increase to the area which then pushes against the veins carrying blood out so that they are blocked and thus an erection is created. Erectile dysfunction is then usually caused by blood flow being disrupted, slowed, or hindered through out the body.

Back issues can cause erectile dysfunction when nerves or veins are pinched, leading to lessened blood flow to the pelvic area.  Many men who have had a car accident or work injury affecting the back or pelvis region then found themselves facing erectile dysfunction.  When this correlation was first discovered, treating the back injuries was found to cure the erectile dysfunction at the same time.

Treating the cause for the problem will lead to a cure for the symptom, so have your back checked and work on leading a healthy lifestyle full of nutritious foods and exercise.

(1) Erectile dysfunction in men with low back pain. Christina Lasich.
(2) Back pain treatment could solve erection problems.
(3) Pain killers increase the risk of Erectile Dysfunction.
(4) Back pain.
(5) Exercise to eliminate erectile
(6) Exercise to eliminate erectile