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Back Pain When Sneezing: Causes & Treatments

Do you feel back pain when sneezing? Back pain can be unpleasant and debilitating, but one source of back pain most people don’t think about is sneezing! 

Today, we're going to take a deep dive into why you might be feeling back pain whenever you sneeze. We'll look at some causes, some treatments, and even when you should see a doctor.

Are you ready? Let's get started!

What Causes Back Pain When You Sneeze?

There are several origins within your body that may be causing back pain when you sneeze. However, some causes are more common than others. Here are the four main reasons your back might hurt when you sneeze.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc occurs when the discs, which are shock absorbers for your spine, become damaged. When damaged, it can result in limited mobility in your spine, which can cause pain when sneezing due to the sudden jolt of the sneeze. 


Sciatica is indicated by a compressed or pinched sciatic nerve, which originates at your lower back and can be very painful. Since the nerve pathway is directly inserted into your lumbar spine at your lower back, an abrupt sneeze can trigger a spinal flexion that may cause pain. 

Muscle Sprain

Your back has 40 muscles, and if one of those muscles gets sprained or injured, it’s normal to be tentative with fast, sudden, or abrupt movements to avoid any associated pain. However, when sneezing, you may uncontrollably flex your spine, provoking the muscle sprain and experiencing pain.

Vertebral compression fracture (VCF)

A vertebral compression fracture can be a very serious and debilitating injury. When the bone is compressed as in a VCF injury, restricted movement and reduced physical activity are common pain management functions. Accordingly, since sneezing can engage your core and back muscles, pain can be a byproduct of sneezing when dealing with VCF.

How to Treat Back Pain When You Sneeze

Treating back pain when you sneeze can include several different techniques and approaches. 

Proper Posture

Not only is proper posture good for overall health, but also for sneezing with pain. Working on maintaining an upright position when sitting, instead of hunched over and flexed, can reduce the load on your spine when you sneeze. 

Try Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises that allow you to open up the surrounding muscles in your spine, shoulder, neck, and hips can be beneficial in reducing pain when sneezing. Focus on stretches that pull those muscles into extension (instead of flexion), which will increase your mobility and your posture.

Try Yoga 

Yoga is an excellent option to build strength and flexibility in the core and back muscles. Many yoga poses, such as Crescent and Warrior 1, will emphasize the hip and spinal extension that you want in order to release the muscles for better posture and mobility. 

Over-the-Counter Medicine

Over-the-counter medicines, such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can be especially helpful in severe cases of back pain when sneezing. While taking over-the-counter medicine may not be a long-term solution, using the medicine occasionally to make you comfortable to engage in daily activities is significant. 

When to See a Doctor for Your Back Pain

If you have back pain when sneezing over a long period of time without any improvement, it may be helpful to see a doctor that can perform a manual exam and/or order diagnostic imaging to see if there is a severe injury, such as VCF.

Furthermore, if you also feel back pain when coughing, then this might be another indicator that you should see a doctor. While DIY methods might sometimes be effective, you should see a doctor if the pain persists.  

Get Rid of Back Pain When Sneezing Today

Getting rid of back pain when sneezing starts with understanding the cause, then utilizing the necessary treatment options to eliminate your pain. Taking these steps will help you get rid of back pain when sneezing and feeling happy and healthy!