As men, we put our bodies through a lot of pain. Whether it be benching big numbers at the gym, or helping a buddy move, or carrying around a little one, we try to be everyone’s hero. But we are not Superman.
Everyday life begins to chip away at the body. As we age, muscles deplete, erectile dysfunction (ED) starts up, and aches begin to flare where there were never any pains before. One of the most common pains for males stems in the back.
Sometimes these changes in the body are co-dependent on one another. Suffering from chronic back pain can impede on your sexual life, which in turn drains your testosterone levels, leaving your muscles with a lot less shred. Studies have found that out of 100 sexually active people who collectively averaged 36 months of suffering from back pain, 81 of them experienced “sexual problems.”
So, getting to the bottom of one of the negative effects of aging may present answers to other areas of your changing body as well.
Why We Get Back Pain
Back pain is very common among the human race. In fact, 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their life. After all, is the second most common reason for missing work, costing the cumulative workforce 149 million days a year.
There are many different reasons why we experience back pain. The most common is a strain. Strains can happen either in muscles or ligaments and may result in muscles spasms. You will typically get cases of back strain from scenarios in which you were being a nice guy lending a helping hand. In turn, you end up lifting things too heavily or abruptly, causing major tissue damage in the back.
However, there are litanies of other reasons why you may be experiencing back pain, such as:
· Bulging or Ruptured Disks
· Poor Posture (Walking, Sitting, Driving)
· Bad Mattress
· Infection within the Spine
· Sleep Disorders
· Cauda Equine Syndrome
When Back Pain Causes ED
Just like the old song used to go, “The thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone.” It’s kind of the same idea inside as well. The whole infrastructure of the body is magnificently mapped out. All moving parts necessary for a human to function are in order, working fluidly with one another to steer the ship.
Achieving an erection is a completely autonomous process. Your body instinctually kicks into gear and makes the erection happen. When you start to get into the excitement of a sexual encounter, your body turns into stress mode. As it starts pumping out cortisol, which is your fight-or-flight hormonal response, the parasympathetic part of your body kicks in and tells the stressed area that everything is okay. It reminds your stressed mind that sex is a pleasurable experience.
This allows for the arteries in the penile walls to relax. From there, blood flows through and into the corpora cavernosa. It is then an erection is achieved.
Being right above that area, pinched nerves in the back may cause a disruption in this process. With stress being placed onto the back, blood is unable to flow as freely into the pelvic area as it needs to so you can maintain a strong erection. Without blood filling the corpora cavernosa, you are left with a case of ED.
Treating Back Pain for ED
There is a prescription for everything. You can find yourself double-dosing in pills specialized for back pain and another prescription that addresses ED. Spending hard-earned money, you are adding man-made and addictive chemicals into your body by trying to fix something with a pill that you can do naturally…and in some cases, for free!
Turning to opioids for back pain is a dangerous, and oftentimes unnecessary, slope to go down. An estimated 14,000 people died from an opiod overdose in 2014. On top of that, those who cannot afford opiates after their addiction gets out of control turn to heroin. That drug killed an additional 14,000 the same year.
When we get into a car accident or fall out of a tree and break an arm, ER doctors are quick to write a script and send you on your way. When used as directed, painkillers can be a helpful tool. However, once the pain wears off and people continue to use the drug, it gives them a euphoric feeling. Addicts spend the rest of their lives chasing that feeling one more time…which has led to 28,000 deaths in 2014 in America alone.
Instead of turning to habit-forming pills, opt for these ways to treat back pain instead:
- Massage Therapy
This is a noninvasive way to combat back pain. One study saw a 63 year-old man with chronic lower back pain agree to one 60 minute massage once a week for six weeks to see if his pain subsided. After four weeks, the scientist and patient both agreed to finish the study early because the patient was reporting 0% pain.
Massage therapy is great for mixing up all the stagnant blood stuck around the pinches and the strains in your back. It rejuvenates the circulation of oxygen throughout the body. This decreases tension and improves flexibility in the area that was once tight, allowing for a better night’s rest so your body can replenish itself even more.
Lastly, massage therapy is ideal for releasing endorphins. This works as a mood enhancer which helps boost morale in the face of depression and anxiety caused by bouts of ED. Massage therapy not only works out the kinks in your back, but helps you with your kinks in the bedroom as well.
This is another nonsurgical, non-prescription drug remedy for back pain. Ultrasounds are rubbed over the affected area with a small wand. Sonic waves pass through the wand and into the skin, vibrating the soft tissues.
Vibrations create heat within the tissue, allowing for an increase of blood flow to the area. In turn, this helps reduce pain. However, it also helps assist your issues with ED. Opening up this area also allows a free path for blood to flow to the corpora cavernosa. As we mentioned earlier, this is necessary in the creation of an erection.
This therapeutic practice has been popular in Chinese Traditional Medicine going back almost 3,000 years. The way it works is by stimulating the central nervous system, most notably the brain and the spinal cord.
During the treatment, metallic needles are stuck into the body at different surface levels. Delving deep into layers of muscle and fat, the needles are left in areas that pain is reported at for 15-30 minutes.
Turning toward acupuncture will give you the effect that you are looking for when you pop a pharmaceutical. Studies have found that, “Electroacupuncture (EA) stimulates the release of beta-endorphin, enkephalin and endomorphin, which in turn activates the mu- and delta-opioid receptors, and that higher frequency EA stimulates dynorphin which activates the kappa-opioidreceptor.”
That means acupuncture gives the analgesic feeling that comes with taking opiods without the addictive qualities and potentially harmful aftermath.
- Gravity Boots/Inversion Table
Here you get to channel your best inner-Dracula. Gravity boots allow for you to hang upside from a horizontal bar. This is good for stretching out your spine and rejuvenating the blood in your body.
Compressing your spine all day by being hunched over at your desk, in your car, and on your couch, stimulates back pain. From there, blood is not freely flowing much past the lower back area, causing a case of ED.
Hanging upside down allows for your body to readjust itself. One of the oldest studies on inversion therapy was done in 1964. This study saw 175 patients get eight inversion treatments. After the study was over, 155 patients were able to return to work. This is due to the stretching of vertebral muscles as well as the widening of intervertebral discs that comes with inversion.
- Foam Roller
This practice is great after an intense workout. Foam rolling is like getting massage therapy done, but you are doing it yourself. After a long day of sittingor benching too much at the gym, foam rolling can help break down knots of fibrous tissue.
Studies have shown that using a foam roller can reduce muscle pain after a workout. Using a foam roller during your post-workout cool down can also help improve circulation while also working to reduce delayed soreness that comes the hours and days after an intense workout.
Once you have addressed your back pain, it is necessary to build the strength in your back up again so that you don’t have to deal with the same aches and pains down the road.
In order to get your previously knotted up back, back into shape, you need to strengthen your core. We are putting too much weight and stress on our back when it’s our core that should be taking the brunt of the pain. When we learn to maneuver through life with mindfulness, strain in our back will naturally subside.
Here are three ways to cultivate core strength:
As we have mentioned with inversions and massage therapy, our muscles need to be stretched out and massaged. The art of yoga is using your breath to guide you into stretches. Cultivating inwards and upwards energy is a natural way to smooth out any knots and pains in the body.
Studies are still being conducted on the correlation between yoga and easing lower back pain. However, the results have been seen as promising. Scientists reported that in the short-term yoga undoubtedly aids in the functionality of those suffering from chronic back pain.
Commonly used by females for strengthening their extremities, this practice is effective for men as well. In fact, kegels have been shown to be effective in combating ED. The best way to learn how to do kegels is to figure out where your pelvic floor is. Stop yourself mid-stream next time you urinate. These are the muscles you need to clench when you do kegels.
To use kegels as a form of exercise for lower back pain and ED, clench the muscle for five seconds. Then relax. Do this 20 times three times a day. Try switching your position where you perform these exercises. Where you do kegels will have an effect on how the muscle is worked out. Try with your knees up, then lying down, sitting in a chair, and standing. Variety is the spice of life.
This form of exercise is not only great for getting the heart pumping and shedding weight, but also for combating ED and lower back pain all in one punch. A recent study found that healthy 50 year-olds can reduce their back pain through six weeks of callisthenic workouts.
We live so much of our lives sedentary. This causes our bodies to evolve in a hunched over, rigid manner. In turn, our backs yelp out in pain. Moving around stops complacency from taking over our bodies. Try giving your back a total body workout to get the prime areas that cause back pain .
Calisthenics is a free way to cut down on back pain while improving your overall health.
Kill 2 Birds with 1 Stone
Combating back pain is to combat ED. Once you get control of one, the other should follow suit in no time. The key is to take better care of our bodies in the first place. We sit, hunch over, and lay around far too much. We need to get up and keep moving for the sake of our backs and libidos.
Whatever you do, do not turn to prescription meds for the solution. There are natural answers to back pain in the form of massage therapy, ultrasounds, acupuncture, gravity boots, and foam rollers.
Once we alleviate the pain, the goal is to strengthen the core to take on the brunt of the burdens the back takes on. In order to do this, balancing a regimen of yoga, kegels, and calisthenics will help your back pains and issues with ED in no time.