Occasionally, a simple sneeze can leave you paralyzed as a sharp pain flares up in your back.
You could be wondering what the relationship is between a sneeze and back discomfort as you try to make sense of what just transpired.
Sometimes the pain is brought on by the quick, unnatural movement of a huge sneeze.
In other instances, sneezing might bring on a painful sign of a back muscle or nerve condition that already exists.
The causes of back pain when you sneeze will be examined in more detail in this article, along with precautions you can take to safeguard your back.
✅ If you have back problems, seemingly unrelated activities like coughing, sneezing, tripping over something while walking, etc. can cause back discomfort.
✅ A sudden back pain spasm or back pain that lasts for longer after sneezing could be an indication of an untreated back issue.
✅ Make sure to follow up with your doctor if the pain continues or you are having difficulty performing your normal tasks in order to identify the source of the issue.
✅ Knowing what caused your back pain could assist you to avoid experiencing it again the next time your nose tickles.
When you sneeze, what might your back hurt?
A forceful sneeze may cause a number of muscular, bone, and nerve issues, or, if they already exist, may exacerbate them.
Tough, spongy discs are located between your vertebrae, the group of bones that make up your spine and protect your spinal cord. A spinal disc has a hard exterior and a soft interior.
When the soft, jelly-like material inside the disc pushes through a hole in the outside and presses against surrounding nerves or the spinal cord itself, it ruptures or herniates.
Herniated discs are treatable, although discomfort isn’t necessarily associated with them. You might be able to move through your day with little discomfort if you have a herniated disc. However, a cough, sneeze, or other activity could force the inner disc material closer to a nerve, resulting in sharp pain.
A muscle stretch or tear is referred to as a “muscle strain” or “pulled muscle.” It is typically brought on by a specific action, such as lifting or twisting, or by overworking your muscles during an exercise.
When you move, bend, or turn your abdomen when you have a pulled muscle in your back, it may hurt. Additionally, sneezing might strain your back muscles and result in a painful spasm. In rare instances, a sneeze that is unusually strong can actually strain a muscle.
Compression fracture of the vertebrae
When a portion of your vertebra collapses, this is known as a vertebral compression fracture (VCF). It is the most frequent fracture in persons with osteoporosis, a disorder that causes the bones to deteriorate, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.
A VCF can be brought on by a sneeze or even just a few stairs for those who have severe osteoporosis. Typically, a fall or other sort of trauma is required to trigger this type of vertebral fracture in patients with mild or severe osteoporosis.
The longest and widest nerve in your body is the sciatic nerve. It descends through your pelvis, and branches, and continues down each leg from your lower spine.
Sciatica is the medical term for sciatic nerve damage. In addition to back discomfort, it frequently causes leg pain. This robust but flimsy nerve can be compressed by a quick sneeze, which can result in shooting sensations and numbness down one or both legs.
If your sciatica symptoms go worse with a sneeze, you may have a significant herniated disc that needs to be treated.
Can sneezing result in back pain?
Almost all of your upper body actions include your back. Your spine and back muscles need to function effectively for many activities, including lifting, reaching, bending, twisting, playing sports, and even just sitting and standing.
Your spine and back muscles are strong, but they are also prone to sprains and other ailments. You’ve probably had back discomfort at some point after lifting a big object or working too hard in the yard.
Back discomfort that lasts a few seconds or more can also be brought on by sudden awkward movements, such as a forceful sneeze. Furthermore, not just your back muscles are in danger. Your intercostal muscles, which are located between your ribs, and diaphragm contract when you sneeze to assist in expelling air from your lungs.
Your chest muscles may become sore after a strong sneeze. Additionally, if your back muscles are not prepared for an abrupt sneeze, the unexpected tensing of these muscles and the awkward movement during a sneeze might result in a spasm, an uncontrollable and frequently painful contraction of one or more muscles.
Similar to the damage that can result in the neck from whiplash, those same quick and violent motions of a huge sneeze can also harm ligaments, nerves, and the discs between your vertebrae. While a herniated disc typically develops over time from consistent wear and tear, a disc can also bulge outward as a result of a single severe strain.
How to sneeze while preserving your back
One approach to preserving your back if you’re experiencing back pain and you feel like you’re about to sneeze is to stand up straight rather than continue to sit. Standing reduces the pressure on your spinal discs.
A 2014 study found that rising up, leaning forwards, and laying your hands on a table, counter, or another firm surface when you sneeze may provide even greater benefits. Your spine and back muscles may feel less strain as a result.
It could be beneficial to lean against a wall while wearing a cushion in your lower back.
Cures at home for back pain
If you suffer from back pain, you understand how crucial it is to get treatment. Here are a few typical and efficient at-home treatments for back pain:
- Ice. In order to reduce swelling after a muscular strain, apply an ice pack (covered in a cloth to prevent damage to the skin). This can be done a couple times every day for 20 minutes each.
- Heat. Try applying a heat pack to your back for 20 minutes at a time after using ice for a few days. Your muscles’ circulation may improve as a result.
- OTC (over-the-counter) analgesics. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and other painkillers can lessen swelling and ease muscle pain.
- Stretching. Mild stretching techniques like side bends and easy overhead reaches might help release pain and tight muscles. Never continue stretching past the point when you begin to feel your muscles extending and always stop if you experience sudden, severe discomfort. Consult a physical therapist or a professional personal trainer if you’re unclear how to perform safe stretches.
- Mild exercise Even though you might feel like you need to rest, spending a lot of time sitting still can exacerbate your back discomfort. A 2010 assessment of the literature revealed that light exercise, such as walking, swimming, or simply going about your everyday business, can enhance blood flow to injured muscles and hasten healing.
- Good posture. Maintaining proper posture while standing and sitting can prevent you from placing undue stress or strain on your back. Keep your shoulders back and not rounded forwards when standing or sitting. Make sure your neck and back are aligned and the screen is at eye level when seating in front of a computer.
- Stress reduction. Back discomfort is only one of the many physical affects that stress may have on your body. Exercises like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help lower your stress levels and relax your back muscles.
When should I go to visit my doctor?
Follow up with your doctor if a sudden case of back pain doesn’t improve with self-care within a couple of weeks or if it worsens.
Get medical attention right away if you experience any of the following symptoms in addition to back pain: • loss of sensation in your low back, hip, legs, or groyne area; • inability to control your bladder or bowel movements; • a history of cancer; • pain that travels down your leg to below the knee; • any other sudden or unusual symptoms, such as a high fever or abdominal pain.