Why You Get Back Pain When Sneezing or Coughing


When you sneeze or cough, there is heightened pressure inside the spinal canal, which leads to acute lower back pain. This pain isn’t limited to coughs and sneezes, though. If you overstretch, yawn, or laugh, you can experience the same aches. Lower back muscles secure your spinal canal bones, which links to nerves surrounding the body. If you’ve endured injuries related to back pain, your ligaments and muscles are just as susceptible.

Most people by default bend forward during a sneeze or a cough. This action should be avoided. It stimulates pressure within the spin discs by as much as 300%! Further, if there is a slight tear in your disc, lurching forward too fast can result in nerve pressure, and in turn, immediate back pain.

If you’re someone who endures back pain after a sneeze or cough, ensure you:

1. Arch Your Back

When sneezing or coughing, many people instinctively bend forward, curving their back. This is not recommended. To minimize spinal disc pressure and stop discomfort, your back should maintain its natural arch when sneezing or coughing.

2. Give Yourself Some Support

If you believe you’re about to sneeze or cough, lean on something like a ledge or desk with your hand. This minimizes the spine’s compressive impact.

Further ways to Minimize Back Pain During a Sneeze or Cough

Although these suggestions mentioned are very impactful, they aren’t always sufficient for effective back pain treatment. For optimal pain relief, attempt the following:

3. Take it Easy

Keeping your back rested isn’t the same thing as not leaving your couch. It means taking a break from the things that stimulate or enhance your back pain. If anything, a surplus of rest might worsen your back pain.

For optimal benefits, refrain from lying down for hours at a time, and not for over 48 hours straight. Remain comfortable and minimize pressure on the muscles and discs by putting a pillow beneath your knees as you lie down. When you lay on your side, put the pillow between your knees.

4. Use Support for Lumbar Chairs

The lower spine’s naturally rounded area is known as the lumbar. Lower back pain ensues during outward movement of the lumbar, which tends to occur when sneezing or coughing.

To stop this from occurring and to bypass long-term back pain, consider using lumbar support for chairs. These cushions minimize lower back pressure and stop pain and stiffness from happening. Long-term use can rectify bad posture that might trigger your back issues.

Because support for lumbar chairs are manufactured to accommodate all sizes, they are quite convenient. If you think you’ll be spending a lot of time driving, you are encouraged to read the article entitled “13 Great Lumbar Supports for Car Seats”.

With an inflatable lumbar cushion, you can adjust your support. You can move from one chair to another using the attachment strap.

5. Use a Back Brace

A lower back brace may alleviate lower back pain stimulated by sprains and strains, aiding you in quicker injury recovery. It can also alleviate muscle spasms or chronic pain, encourage proper posture, and stop your back from getting injured again. Your back is stabilized with the brace and alleviates spinal stress, too.

If you suffer from back pain on a consistent basis upon sneezing or coughing, a decent back brace can provide quick results that last. There are various back braces to pick from. Ensure you choose one that will allow you to exercise, work, and conduct yourself comfortably. Have a look at our list of “Back Braces for Lower Back Pain” in this article.

Select a brace that is secure enough that it won’t slip or bunch-up.

6. Try Cold Therapy

You can obtain relief from inflammation and pain with ice. Cryotherapy, aka cold therapy, narrows or tightens the blood vessels and contracts the muscles to prevent swelling while minimizing pain signals.

Your back can be iced when it’s actively triggering pain. You can also ice your back as a preventative approach after physical activity, or after sneezing and coughing. For optimal outcomes, use an ice pack on your back for 15 to 30 minutes each time as many times as necessary. The most popular ice packs are contrasted with each other here.

Bypass using ice for muscle spasms or knots. Such pain can be worsened by cold sensations.

With the ice pack on your lower back, lay down. Place the ice on tight or sore muscles. This will aid in minimizing inflammation and instigate the pain relief process.

7. Use Heat Therapy

Treatment for numerous kinds of back pain can is achieved using heat. Heat is particularly useful to treat aching muscles, cramping muscles, and muscle knots.

Heat therapy involves expanding blood vessels to stimulate circulation. Heightened circulation delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the tissues that are damaged. The healing process is expedited as waste materials are purged from the body. Take a warm bath or add a heat pack for as long as 20 minutes for up to 3 times per day.

Keep in mind that inflammation can be worsened by heat. As such, refrain from using it within the first three days of a fresh injury.

If you are reaping the rewards of heat and ice alike, consider changing up the pair of therapies. This process is called contrast therapy, which you can learn more about here.

8. Try TENS Therapy

TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) therapy can be quite advantageous to people who endure back pain consistently. Portable units simplify the administration of a massage from TENS therapy massage, which can be done anywhere you want! (Check out the item on Amazon here.)

TENS therapy uses low voltage electrical currents to sooth the muscles and provides back pain relief. TENS is effective for inflammation, sore muscles, and joint issues. It is an optimal back pain treatment approach when triggered by sneezing or coughing. Fortunately, you needn’t worry about going to a clinic to get TENS treatment. You can get it right inside your bedroom! Speak with your physician prior to starting TENS treatment, though.

9. Stretch and Remain Mobile

The American Pain Society and the American College of Physicians highly advise remaining active for those suffering from lower back pain.

Staying stationary all day, especially by working at a desk, can strain the back and neck. A lack of physical activity also leads to weight gain, which exacerbates back pain.

Regular physical activity gets the heart pumping and the blood circulating. Joins, muscles, tendons, and ligaments are kept strong and flexible as you age thanks to this circulation of blood flow. Exercise also encourages fluid and nutrient exchange between spinal discs.

With that, if you cough and sneeze and end up putting your back out, relieve your pain with a 3-pronged approach. Use mild stretches to remain flexible, concentrate on strengthening your core, and participate in low-impact aerobic activities like swimming, walking, or using an elliptical machine.

10. Wear the Right Footwear and Insoles

People who have back pain that is worsened or triggered by standing for inordinate durations are encouraged to purchase high-quality shoes and insoles. Wearing the proper footwear and insoles can stop impact and shock from being transmitted through the feet, legs, and lumbar area muscles.

You must select shoes with decent heel support and a proper arch. Discard shoes that have damaged soles or heels. For optimal shock-absorption when exercising, keep replacing your athletic footwear every six months.

Have a look at our article on the greatest insoles to minimize the chances of back pain from reoccurring.

11. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

Back pain is a typical issue for people who are obese or overweight. There is extra pressure on the muscles, ligaments, and spinal discs. These people, when sneezing or coughing, are destined to endure chronic back pain.

Slimming down can make a substantial difference with regards to your back pain and, ultimately, your health as a whole. To achieve this, work out on a consistent basis and consume your food in portions.

12. Use Your Legs to Lift at All Times

Incorrect lifting approaches are a typical trigger for back pain. To minimize the risks of injuring your back, when you lift, your knees and elbows should be moderately bent. Use your legs every time for power, as opposed to your back. Don’t twist and bend at the same time, either. Ask a fitness expert for correct form the next time you’re at the gym.

Most Typical Instigators of Back Pain to Stay Away From

Raised pressure inside the spinal disc

The first sneeze can stimulate pressure, leading to a painful feeling inside the lower back muscles.

Prior injury or back strain

After you’ve endured injuries or back pain, small tears start to grow inside the back ligaments or muscles. The prior damage makes you susceptible to pain when you sneeze or cough.


If you accidentally overstretch the lower back with a movement (overreaching) or strain (sneezing or coughing), the existing weakened muscles are liable to endure upper, lower, or right side back pain since the spine isn’t as stable as it used to be.

Back Overuse

It doesn’t take much to overuse your back, particularly when carrying hefty loads regularly, or conducting an action that strains the back for a long duration, such as tidying up or lawn work. Excessive use and sudden movements can stimulate muscle tension and spasms, in addition to strains and tears in ligaments and muscles that assist the back.

Unsupportive Mattress

Some much-needed rest is essential in staying strong and keeping your back pain-free. Unsupportive and old mattresses can lead to back pain since they don’t offer proper spinal support. Your spin becomes unaligned while you rest as a result. A lackluster mattress comes at the expense of your sleep, which will make you will feel terrible throughout the day, impacting your well-being, mindset, and diet.

Emotional Stress

Indirectly, depression and stress can manifest as back pain, generally from a substantial rise in muscle tension. People going through anxiety and stress can, as a result, act in ways that harm back health by remaining inactive, eating poorly, and standing with poor posture.

Poor Posture

Back pain may be stimulated by leaning, slumping, and craning the neck. If your back is hunched over while you stand or sit, you’re straining muscles, minimizing circulation, and opening the door to pain and inflammation.

Sitting for Excessive Durations

Whether you’re watching TV, working on your laptop, or driving around, sitting in the same position for excessive durations can place substantial pressure on your spine, and can strain the shoulder and neck muscles, too. Research indicates that sitting for a long time each day raises the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Each one of these health issues encourages immobility and inactivity, which can also result in back pain. When feasible, refrain from sitting down for longer than 45 minutes without taking stretching and walking breaks.

Don’t forget: there are many other ways lower back pain is triggered, particularly with chronic conditions such as sciatica, scoliosis, herniated vertebrae, or arthritis. There are several other ways you can stop back pain when sneezing or coughing, or when conducting day-to-day activities. Some impactful approaches include: using a lower back brace, using shoe inserts and lumbar cushions, and staying fit. Additionally, it is vital to use proper form when stretching, lifting, and sitting.

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