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Low Back Problems and Erectile Dysfunction

We live in a country where sexual performance, prowess and fertility are inextricably linked to our ideals of masculinity or femininity. As a result, for most persons, who suffer from the various types of sexual dysfunction, they and their partners suffer in silence. There are many ways that sexual dysfunction may manifest, painful menstrual cycles, infertility or even erectile dysfunction (ED).


ED is the inability of men to experience or maintain an erection firm enough to make penetration possible. Some men with ED may even lose their erections during intercourse. The causes of ED are varied and may be due to physical or psychological problems.  Underlying preexisting health conditions include anything that causes damage to nerves or small blood vessels, including those supplying the reproductive organs. Diabetes and hypertension are two such conditions that are sometimes implicated in ED.

Psychological Problems


Sexual response is understood to occur in a four stage sequence. It begins with the psychological as part of the arousal stage and culminates in the post-orgasmic recovery stage.

In the same way that digestion involves the mind and when depressed, one may lose their appetite, so too does sexual performance. Both work best when the person is relaxed and unstressed. Emotional challenges, depression, anxiety or stress may interfere with the arousal phase of the sexual response cycle.


Riding Bicycles and ED


“A 2005 review article published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that 4 percent of male bicyclists who spent at least three hours per week in the saddle experienced moderate to severe erectile dysfunction, while only about one percent of runners who were the same age experienced ED.” (Excerpt from an article on

Men who ride bicycles for long distances have an increased risk of ED because of damage to the blood vessels and nerves that supply the penis, as you sit on the bicycle seat.

Iatrogenic (Medicinal or Medical) Causes

Certain prescriptions drugs for male pattern baldness may lead to ED. Some of these medications work by reducing the amount of dihydrotestosterone in the blood stream. Dihydrotestosterone is one of the male sex hormones, whose reduction may result in an inability to get an erection. Medical or surgical procedures for prostate problems have a high chance of resulting in ED including radiation therapy or prostate removal surgery.


Spinal Problems

Spinal problems, including those resulting from a fall or motor vehicle accident, may result in damage or misalignments of the spinal bones and/or discs of the low back region called subluxations. Subluxations in this region of the spine may interfere with the nerves that exit the spine here. These nerves are involved in skin sensations and the control of blood flow to the genitals. The majority of such spinal problems do not manifest sexual symptoms immediately, often taking months even years to develop. 

If you are suffering from sexual dysfunction that may be as a result of a spinal problem, then visit your family chiropractor to see if you have a spinal subluxation in the low back. Remember chiropractors are the non-medicinal and non-surgical experts on spinal health.


Low Back Pain – an all too common problem!

A simple task such as bending to tie your shoe lace, picking up a baby or handbag should not be a memorable event.  If one day it causes crippling back pain, it will be a day you will never forget. If this happens to you – you are not alone. Back pain, medically known as lumbago, is one of the most common medical conditions affecting as many as 8 out of 10 persons at some point in their lives. Back pain may come on suddenly and the pain debilitating, or it may be gradual over time and be nothing more than a dull ache or annoyance.

Getting to the Root of the Matter

People experience back pain because of a traumatic injury from falls, car accidents and sports collisions. These may cause strained muscles, sprained ligaments, a bulging or ruptured disc, stenosis or narrowing of the spinal canal and may have occurred up to 10 years before.

What Happens Now

Typically, following the trauma, there is temporary pain or discomfort in the back, which tends to go away over a few days to weeks, but although the pain is gone, the problem remains, slowly damaging the body. Sometimes 5 to 10 years later, there may be stiffness, aches or a sudden flare up of severe pain, often from doing a seemingly simple task like bending over to pick up a towel from the floor. 

When the muscles of the spine get injured, there is an alteration in their normal firing patterns changing the way it responds under contraction.  The back is made up of muscles that move and those that stabilize the spine during motion. Whenever motion is about to happen, the tiny stabilizing muscles are supposed to be engaged first, prior to the contraction of the larger muscles for motion. Following the injury, this normal sequence is altered resulting in the muscles for motion activating before the stabilizers have had an opportunity to maintain the bones in their proper biomechanical position. The result is abnormal motions or mal-positions of the affected joint leading to bones rubbing instead of gliding across each other as they move, causing wear and tear of the bones, joints and discs.


What Happens Later

Over time, arthritis of the spine, spondylosis, ensues. The rate of degeneration of the bones depend on how severe the alteration and how much time has elapsed.


This phenomenon of altered spinal biomechanics which leads to wear and tear is what the chiropractor calls a subluxation. Medically a subluxation is a positional error of bones that is of a degree less than a dislocation. Subluxations lead to spondylosis.

Pain killers and muscle relaxants, which is currently the standard of care for back pain following trauma, may alleviate the initial symptoms of pain, but does nothing to restore the proper firing sequence of the muscles or stop the degeneration. The fast stretch of these spinal muscles that occur during a chiropractic adjustment has been demonstrated to restore the normal firing patterns and may be your first defense against a life of spinal degeneration down the road.

The Gleaner , Monday | November 18, 2013

The Gleaner , Monday | October 22, 2012

Gardner Chiropractic and Technology, GCN Jamaica, GCN
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