My Back Hurts When I Sneeze

Do you ever feel like everything has conspired against you just to give you that extra bit of misery? We know the feeling! So here we are in our quest to find out why our back hurts when we sneeze. Let’s uncover the mysteries of common injuries and hopefully get some relief.


What Can Cause Back Pain When You Sneeze?

Sudden back pain when you sneeze is most commonly caused by problems with the nerves in your back. Nerves can become compressed and cause pain when there is a violent reaction in your body, like sneezing or coughing. That said, there are several other possible causes:

Muscle Spasms

When muscles in the back contract suddenly, often as a result of bad posture or aching muscles, it can cause severe pain – especially if you sneeze unexpectedly.

Ruptured Disc

A ruptured disc happens when the protective cushion between the vertebrae becomes injured and leaks fluid. This can cause stiffness in your back as well as a shooting pain when you sneeze due to pressure on the nerve endings.


Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread muscle pain throughout the body, including the back. It can also worsen already existing issues such as sciatica – causing increased levels of pain when you move or experience sudden shocks like sneezing.


Spondylolisthesis is a spinal disorder where one vertebra slips over another due to stress or injury, irritating nearby nerves and causing weakness, tingling, and lower backache. Sneezing with this condition causes significant discomfort as it stimulates already irritated nerves even more.

Whiplash Injury

If you have suffered from whiplash following an accident where your head was jolted too quickly or too far forwards or backward – such as during an auto collision – it is likely that your spine has been damaged and delicate muscles badly strained resulting in soreness during movement such as sneezing

It’s important to seek medical advice if your back hurts whenever you sneeze – not only will this identify any underlying conditions but treatment could potentially help alleviate symptoms of chronic pain associated with compression of nerves and muscle strains caused by sudden movement like coughing or sneezing.

Sciatica May Be The Cause

It can be quite alarming when your back starts to hurt when you sneeze, but there may be a reason why this is happening. Sciatica, or pain in the sciatic nerve, is a common cause of back pain and leg pain when you sneeze. This nerve is the widest single nerve in the human body and runs from the lower spine all the way down your leg. When something disrupts it—like a sudden sneeze—it can send shooting pains through your leg.

Sciatica is particularly vulnerable to being disturbed since it’s so large compared to other nerves and its location near your spine makes it even more exposed to injury or illness. It may develop due to an accident or incorrect posture, over-exertion during physical activities, bumping into objects that put pressure on the sciatica nerve, or simply because of age-related reasons like bone spurs growth at the lower spine region.

If you find yourself frequently experiencing back pain every time you sneeze, an examination at your local hospital could be beneficial in ruling out or verifying a diagnosis of sciatica. Make sure to share any relevant information with your doctor such as any prior accidental injuries that may have affected your lower spine region as well as lifestyle habits that could affect it such as excessive lifting or sitting for long hours without taking regular breaks.

With proper intervention and treatment methods like physiotherapy sessions recommended, this condition can be addressed accordingly so that feeling better becomes attainable again without having intense pain afterward every time you happen to sneeze suddenly.

Vertebral Compression Fracture

Vertebral Compression Fracture (VCF) is one of the most common types of fractures among people with severe or moderate osteoporosis. It occurs when one or more vertebra, or bones of the spine, collapses. The sudden compression of the bone can cause sharp pain that you may feel in your back, neck, or arms. It is especially common if you have a history of lifting something heavy or falling down a few stairs and this type of fracture can be severe enough to require surgery.

People with VCF can experience various symptoms such as mild to severe pain in their back that increases when standing or sitting for extended periods. Other signs include loss of height due to collapse, limited mobility, and difficulty breathing if there is too much pressure on the lungs from the collapsed vertebrae.

Neurological surgeons can use X-rays and aneurysms (CT) scans to help diagnose a VCF but often it depends on how serious the fracture is before determining which procedure may be necessary to fix it. Surgery is recommended for more serious fractures while some minor cases may be treated with bed rest, braces, physical therapy, and/or medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). If weakened bones could lead to further fractures in other areas then architecture changes at home might also be suggested by your doctor so that you can avoid slipping or tripping hazards.

If you are experiencing intense pain when sneezing, consult your doctor immediately as it could indicate that you have sustained a VCF injury due to severe osteoporosis – a common condition for older people and postmenopausal women which weakens their bones making them susceptible to breaking even without any great impact. For more information about this type of injury please visit the website of the American Association for Bone Mineral Research (AABMR).

Muscle Strain

Experiencing pain in your back when you sneeze might be caused by muscle strain. Sneezing can lead to a pulled muscle if it is particularly forceful. Muscle strain is an injury to the body in which the fibers of a muscle are stretched beyond their normal limit, resulting in tears to either part or all of the tissue fibers.

The back consists of more than 25 individual muscles, each of which performs its own specific movement task. When we sneeze, the sudden unexpected jarring force can cause back muscles to tear. It’s possible that this can happen even without any excess pressure or stress on the back from wrong posture or incorrect lifting technique as described in other causes of back pain.

If you believe your back pain when you sneeze is due to a pulled muscle, there are several remedies for treating it. The RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) should be used for a few days to reduce any inflammation and help with pain management.

Additionally, taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen can help alleviate discomfort associated with a pulled muscle. Gentle stretching exercises and massage therapy may also be recommended by your doctor or other healthcare professional in order to facilitate healing by improving blood flow and loosening tight areas in the affected area.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc, also known as a ruptured disc, is an injury where the spongy discs that separate and cushion the vertebrae of your spine become damaged. These discs are made up of a tough outer ring of cartilage-like material and a softer inner disc material. When part of the inner disc spills out beyond the outer ring, this is what’s known as a herniated, or ruptured disc.

A herniated disc can cause you to experience ranging from very little discomfort to severe chronic pain because it puts pressure on nearby nerves or your spinal cord. Sudden bouts of sneezing can cause you discomfort or pain if you have a herniated disc because it results in significant stress on your back due to the movement associated with sneezing.

This is why it’s important to take care when sneezing and give yourself some time before trying any other action that involves significant movement in order to prevent any further exacerbation of symptoms.

Can Sneezing Cause Back Pain?

Sneezing can cause back pain, often referred to as a “big sneeze backache,” although this is not typically a common complaint. When you have a sudden sneeze, your upper body tenses up so that the air pressure builds to produce a strong expulsion of air. For some people, the sneeze-induced muscle tension might be too heavy and cause excessive strain on their back muscles. This can be more pronounced with ongoing wear and tear due to age or an existing condition such as scoliosis or arthritis.

On top of your back muscles, during a big sneeze, other muscles in your upper body also tense up just as strongly. Your chest muscles play an important role in helping you get that extra breath of air for explosive exhalation. With the continued tensing of those muscles even after the sneeze is over, it means your entire upper body is under pressure for much longer than just a few seconds.

Consequently, this puts extra strain on the delicate yet strong muscle fibers in your back, leading to potential soreness and pain which could last between twenty minutes to several hours after the incident.

Even if you’re not prone to violent sneezes with forceful movements forward and outward, smaller unexpected tensing due to awkward forms of movement like lifting something heavy or doing vigorous yard work can still lead to some discomfort and potential back pain later on in the day just by themselves.

This is because bending awkwardly puts stress on both your chest and back muscles simultaneously whereas when you approach these activities with proper form then more pressure should naturally be put on appropriate parts instead such as your legs for instance when doing squats.

Nevertheless, our backs are also vulnerable even when performing seemingly minor activities and with repeated bouts of forced contraction due to having too many intense or small unexpected movements via something like a lurking sneeze then chances are that one day you’ll eventually pay with some post-sneeze lower, middle or thoracic back pain.

How To Protect Your Back When Sneezing

Sneezing is a totally normal, if somewhat annoying, reflex. It is the body’s way of cleaning out the passages of the nose and throat. However, if you suffer from chronic lower back pain, sneezing can become a painful experience. To reduce the risk of further damaging your spine—and to potentially help alleviate back pain—you must learn how to protect your back when sneezing.

When a person sneezes they involuntarily arch their back as they do. This motion can cause severe strain on already sore back muscles or even cause damage to spinal discs which can lead to even more serious medical issues in the future.

To protect yourself when you feel a sneeze coming on, try leaning forward slightly and placing your hands firmly on a solid surface such as a desk or countertop. This action will help absorb some of the strain that comes with bending backward while allowing you to keep enough control over your body so that you don’t accidentally fall over from the startling body reflex caused by sneezing.

Another way that you can help protect your lower back when sneezing is by preparing for it in advance: practice exercise designed specifically for strengthening and stretching lower back muscles such as sit-ups and extensions prior to any heavy Sneezing fits so that those muscles are better equipped for taking hits like these during regular activities like sneezing without them having negative consequences later down the line in terms of experiencing further discomfort due to aggravated back pain.

These tips may not necessarily make Sneezing any less annoying but at least knowing what steps need to be taken in order to prevent unnecessary aggravation or potential physical damage due to being caught off guard while being mid-sneezed may provide peace of mind. Of course, if symptoms persist or are worsening consult with medical professionals immediately!

Home Remedies For Back Pain

Back pain can have many causes, including muscle strain, muscle tension, or even mental stress. When you experience back pain after sneezing it is important to know what the underlying cause may be. To begin treating this condition, there are many effective home remedies that you can implement to help reduce and manage your back pain.

The first step in treating your back pain is to identify the source of the discomfort. Be sure your neck and back are properly aligned with good posture at all times, as overextending in any direction could result in extra pressure being placed on the lower spine. If you stand or sit for long periods of time make sure that you get up and move around regularly as this can help with improving blood flow.

In terms of home remedies for back pain, there are several options to try out—they include: using an ice pack or heat pack on the sore area a few times a day (15 minutes at a time), taking an OTC pain reliever such as Motrin, Advil or Aleve when needed, stretching and gentle exercise once cleared by a doctor to increase flexibility and promote cardiovascular health; practice deep breathing exercises for relaxation; use stress management techniques such as mindfulness if necessary; and performing simple safe stretches that work out the targeted muscles several times a week such as side bends and overhead reaches. In some cases, working with a physical therapist or personal trainer may be necessary if your issue persists for more than a few days.

Overall, home remedies for back pain are very important when it comes to providing short-term relief from the discomfort associated with sneezing or other activities related to musculoskeletal conditions like poor posture or prolonged sitting– understanding how important it is in helping to alleviate those painful symptoms is key.

However, it is always best practice recommended that you speak with your physician prior to attempting any physical activity while experiencing sharp pains due to any underlying injury or illness-related issues that might have physical effects when used incorrectly.

When To See A Doctor

Sneezing can cause pain in the back, especially if other unusual symptoms accompany it. However, most of the time the pain is nothing serious and will go away on its own. But if you’re experiencing these pains in combination with other troubling symptoms, it is best to seek medical care.

If your back pain is accompanied by fever or sudden and severe weakness in a particular muscle group, such as the groin area or legs, it could be a sign of a more serious medical condition. If you are experiencing any sudden loss of bowel control or severe abdominal pain along with your sneezing-triggered backache, you should visit a doctor immediately.

A high fever indicates that an underlying infection could be causing your symptoms. In some cases, longer bouts of back pain caused by sneezing can be indicative of something more serious as well, and it’s best to have that looked at by a trained medical professional.

Other red flags to look for are nausea or vomiting along with difficulty breathing and numbness in one or both extremities. If you experience any combination of these symptoms simultaneously with your sudden bout of back pain due to sneezing, make sure to get yourself to a doctor right away for proper diagnosis and treatment!

Frequently Asked Questions

Sneezing and back pain can be caused by a variety of causes, including allergies, sinus infections, colds, and upper respiratory infections. It can also be caused by a pinched nerve, muscle strain, or even an injury. If the pain continues or is accompanied by other symptoms, it is best to consult a doctor to determine the cause of the pain.

  1. Strengthen your core. Doing exercises such as planks, bridges, and crunches can help strengthen your core muscles, which can help support your back and reduce the strain when you sneeze.
  2. Stretch your back. Doing simple back stretches can help loosen the muscles of your back and reduce the strain when you sneeze.
  3. Practice good posture. Making sure that you maintain a good posture throughout the day can help reduce strain on your back and make it easier to sneeze without pain.
  4. Wear a back brace. A back brace can help provide extra support and help reduce the strain on your back when you sneeze.
  5. See a doctor. If your back pain persists, it's important to talk to your doctor to make sure there's not an underlying cause.

Coughing and sneezing can cause pain in the lower back if the muscles are strained from prolonged coughing or sneezing. If the pain persists, it is recommended to see a doctor for an evaluation. Treatment options may include physical therapy, medications, or injections to relieve the pain.

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In conclusion, it’s not uncommon for otherwise harmless activities such as sneezing to cause some discomfort if you have an undiagnosed back condition. While the pain of a sneeze-induced spasm can be alarming, its exact cause is hard to identify and can be due to a variety of different issues.

Your best bet is to talk to your doctor if you have back pain that escalates after sneezing or engaging in other daily activities. They may be able to provide further insight into your condition and therapies that can help minimize the impact of the spasms on your life.

Of course, prevention is better than treatment, so taking steps now like monitoring your posture and stretching properly before engaging in rigorous activity may prove beneficial should you encounter the same issue next time you find yourself on the receiving end of an unexpected sneeze!

Whatever the cause of your symptoms, being aware of what you’re doing when it happens is also important for understanding why it’s happening and how best to protect yourself from further occurrences or exacerbations of your back issues in general.

Spine Institute NY