Back Pain When Coughing
Spinal stenosis – As a person ages, their spinal column starts to narrow, and this can put more pressure on the spinal nerves. Being in certain positions, such as leaning forward when coughing, can put even more pressure on the nerves and cause lower back pain.
Spinal stenosis can also cause numbness or cramping pain in the lower back and legs. It may also affect sexual function, cause problems with bowel or bladder function, and, in severe cases, lead to loss of leg function. To reduce the effects of spinal stenosis, a person can try exercising to build up the muscles in the back to help support and strengthen it.
It may also help to take NSAIDs or prescription medications to relieve muscle spasms. Some doctors may recommend steroid injections and possibly even surgery if the symptoms are severe.
- 1 Why do I get severe back pain when I sneeze?
- 2 Why does my upper back hurt with a cold?
- 3 How long does it take for muscles to heal from coughing?
What does a pulled muscle from coughing feel like?
Can You Pull a Muscle in Your Ribs from Coughing? – If you feel a sharp pain, or hear a cracking or popping sound when you cough, this can be a sign that you have pulled or strained one of the muscles in your rib cage, called intercostal muscles. Your intercostal muscles lie between your ribs and attach them to one another.
- They also stabilize your upper body and help you breathe.
- If your ribs hurt when you cough, it could be because the coughing is causing your intercostal muscles to work too hard.
- The more you cough, the more the intercostal muscles have to work, and the repeated movement can cause these muscles to stretch, pull, or partially tear.
If you think you’ve pulled a muscle when coughing, talk to a doctor. Your doctor will be able to identify which muscles have been strained, and make sure your symptoms are not caused by something else. Any of the following symptoms could indicate that you have strained one of your intercostal muscles.
Stiffness and tension in your back musclesMuscle rigidity when you bend or twist your upper bodySharp pain in your upper back or in the general area of your ribsSevere pain that comes on suddenly, particularly if caused by a blow to your chest or backSevere pain when you cough, sneeze or breathe deeplySpasms of the intercostal muscles in your ribs. Muscle spasms can range in intensity from mild twitches to severe pain. You may be able to visibly see your muscles twitching.Tenderness in the area between your ribs
Why do I get severe back pain when I sneeze?
Why does my back hurt when I sneeze? – Here are some potential explanations for your back pain:
- Sciatica ” is a condition that occurs when a herniated disc slips out of the correct position in your spine and presses up against your sciatic nerve. Your sciatic nerve is the nerve that runs from your lower spine down both legs to your feet. Sneezing can push your spinal disc even further onto your sciatic nerve, causing further pain.
- Herniated discs ” Not all herniated discs cause sciatica. However, they can be painful on their own, especially if they press against your spinal cord. Sneezing can push the disc further into your spinal cord, increasing the back pain you feel when you sneeze.
- Vertebral compression fractures ” is the medical term for a collapse in a section of the vertebra. This is a frequent symptom of advanced osteoporosis. Sneezing is likely to cause back pain in people with VCF. However, sneezing can also cause VCF in patients with osteoporosis or another degenerative bone disease.
- Muscle strain ” Muscle strain occurs when you tear or overstretch a muscle. It can occur in any muscle in your body and can cause significant pain. Moving with a strained muscle is usually painful, especially if those movements involve bending or twisting your torso. Therefore, sneezing tends to hurt if you move your torso while you do it.
- ” When you have arthritis, the cartilage around your joints wears down and allows your bones to rub against each other. This causes inflammation around your joint, and your joints hurt when you move them. Sneezing often produces involuntary movements, so your back might hurt if you have arthritis in your or spine.
Why does my upper back hurt with a cold?
Why does your back hurt if you’re sick? – Broadly speaking, back pain may accompany being sick owing to inflammation and the body’s natural immune response when fighting off infections, whether viral or bacterial. As our bodies gear up their defenses to prevent diseases from developing, they wage a battle against the invading viruses by using a process that includes the release of cytokines, an important protein for human immunity.
- The American Cancer Society summarizes the role of cytokines as “signal the immune system to do its job”: specifically, cytokines are released by our bodies to locate the cells in our immune system that are designed to combat infections.
- Once the cytokines locate the relevant immune cells, they bind to them and cause those cells to activate, whereupon they aim for the infected areas where they are needed.
When we feel bad while sick, it’s not primarily due to the sickness itself, but rather our bodies’ immune responses attempting to eradicate the illness. As uncomfortable as it is to experience, the pains, aches, and fevers we suffer during periods of sickness are signs that our bodies are doing what they’re supposed to be doing.
- In time the heat will die down, and our bodies will restore to their normal resting levels, at which point any pains should subside.
- During the war of our immune systems against infections, cytokine release has one key side effect that patients experience: inflammation.
- While not all cytokines produce inflammation, some are classified as anti-inflammatory, those that help facilitate our bodies’ immune responses naturally cause inflammation.
(ThermoFisher Scientific provides a helpful breakdown of several cytokines and their relationships to inflammation here, but fair warning to the non-doctor readers: it gets pretty technical.) If you’ve ever had a cut or scrape that’s red and tender to the touch, that’s a sign of inflammation, which is to say a sign of the body at work on the healing process.
So when our bodies fend off illnesses internally, the inflammation causes the affected areas to swell, which leads to pressing against nerve endings and muscles – hence the pain. This is also why we feel achy and sore when dealing with the flu; our body is throwing a lot of punches internally, in the form of inflammation.
This inflammatory process may be magnified for flu patients who already have pre-existing back pain. Spinal conditions like sciatica, herniated discs, or bulging discs can feel more painful when we’re sick because of the increased inflammation.
Can coughing pull a back muscle?
Muscle strain or ligament sprain – Sometimes, a bout of intense or sudden coughing can put unexpected pressure on the back. This pressure can lead to a temporary injury, such as a muscle strain, which doctors may refer to as a pulled muscle. The pain can become more intense with certain positions or activities, including coughing.
- A person may also experience back stiffness, muscle spasms, or muscle tenderness.
- Taking NSAIDs, resting the back for a day or two, avoiding postures and positions that worsen the pain, and applying a cloth-covered ice pack to the affected area can all help promote recovery.
- If the symptoms do not subside within 4–6 weeks, however, a person should see their doctor.
Learn more about strains and sprains, including the differences between them, here,
How long does it take for muscles to heal from coughing?
Physical therapy – PT may involve various stretches to strengthen intercostal muscles, foam roller stretches, and deep breathing exercises. If difficult or painful breathing occurs, deep breathing exercises are often ordered to improve a person’s shallow breathing.
Long-term shallow breathing can lead to complications, such as pneumonia. A person with intercostal muscle strain should not do any stretching exercise unless under the supervision of a physical therapist or other healthcare providers. Stretching should be stopped immediately if it increases pain or makes symptoms worse.
Mild intercostal muscle strain commonly heals within a few days. Moderate strains may take 3 to 7 weeks to heal, and severe strains that involve a complete tear of the muscles can take longer. In general, most intercostal muscle sprains should heal within a 6-week time span.
Can your lungs hurt in your back from coughing?
There are several reasons you may be feeling pain in and around the back of your lungs. This pain may be due to injuries or disturbances in the lining of your lungs (the pleura) or the bones and muscles surrounding the organs. Persistent coughs can even cause back pain in the back of your lungs.
Why do my lungs hurt when I cough?
When should I call the doctor? – You should call your healthcare provider if you experience:
Coughing up blood, Difficulty breathing. Extreme fatigue, Fever and chills, Sudden, unexplained chest pain. Wheezing,
A note from Cleveland Clinic Many conditions can cause a dry cough. Often, an irritating dry cough will go away when you identify and treat the underlying condition. You can use home remedies to soothe dry coughs that develop after a respiratory illness like a cold.