Men who experience back pain and lower spine problems could also experience problems with erections. 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, recently discovered that treating one patient’s back pain also cured his erection problems.
The patient had experienced a car accident, and complained of leg numbness, back pain and erectile dysfunction. “After completing the initial workup, we determined the problem was the patient’s pelvic floor muscles,” Dr. Goldstein said. “We referred him to one of the hospital’s physical therapist who had advanced training in pelvic floor rehabilitation.” Treating the back pain resulted in improvement in erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction drugs may not always be needed. Back pain treatment could improve erectile dysfunction long-term. Back injuries can cause trapping of blood. 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.
Muscle energy, core and lumbar strengthening exercises to align the pelvis and relax the pelvic floor muscles, performed by Physical therapist and pelvic floor specialist Kerri Krebs, facilitated recovery. Following treatment, erectile function and leg numbness improved for the patient, who had seen several other physicians and also had been prescribed erectile dysfunction medication.
Orthopedic spine specialist Ramin Raiszadeh, M.D warns however that men with back or pelvic pain, or who experience urinary incontinence need to see a specialist as soon as possible. Erection problems can be caused by …”other medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, infection, inflammation and tumors can cause these symptoms as well.”
Other approaches to treat erectile dysfunction linked to back pain and injury include Yoga, acupuncture, steroid injections, or massage. Disc herniation, muscle spasm from inactivity and weakness, spinal stenosis, and traumatic back injuries can also cause erection difficulties. Keeping your back in shape, and getting treatment for back pain could lead to improved sexual function and less difficulty with erections, and should be explored after more serious causes of erectile dysfunction are ruled out. “If the sexual problem persists, the patient should see a sexual medicine specialist,” says Dr. Goldstein.