Sneezing is something not commonly associated with pain, especially back pain. Rather, it’s the opposite case, since many people actually feel discomfort when you lose a sneeze just on the edge. Like when you’re ready for your brain to clear up and all your nerves refresh when you sneeze, but it just ends up with no sneeze and you feeling a little annoyed for losing that great post-sneeze feeling you get.

But there have been instances of people reporting back pain when sneezing or after sneezing, which is fairly common and happens regardless of age or gender. So, for today, we will be discussing back pain when sneezing, and why is it that two seemingly unconnected areas be affected in tandem with each other. Also, why lower back pain after sneezing is such an issue?

Also Read: Can Back Pain Cause High Blood Pressure?

The fact is, that sneezing is a pretty intense process. A strong sneeze, induced due to pollen allergies or pepper, can cause the body to wrack up, eliciting pain in not just the back or lower back, but (temporarily) in the neck and the jaw, since the impact can sometimes cause a jerk on these parts of the body.

Back pain after sneezing only happens in a limited number of scenarios, wherein the back pain is not a direct result of the sneeze, but rather the sneeze jolts some underlying condition that triggers the back ache, similar to an indirect connection between the sneeze and the back ache. 

The common answer to why does my back hurt when I sneeze is the following points, usually four, that are medical conditions and are widely known to have caused such back aches due to sneezing. However, as a general rule and understanding of the human physiology, the back is the essentially a centre point of all movements and activities of the human body.

Since the spinal column is located there, our body basically balances the x, y axis on it, and a lot of our movements are regulated by it as such. So, considering the focal point our back has in our body, and the violent action that is a sneeze, you can pretty much guess how and why can back pain when sneezing is a common issue. 

For one, your back bears the brunt of most of the shock and the impact, and is likely to disturb a few muscles in the process, causing a mild pain ranging from a few seconds to a minute, tops. Similarly, when you sneeze a lot of pressure is exerted on the lungs through the diaphragm, which can end up causing a mild pain the in the lower chest area. On to why back pain when sneezing is so common.

Why Does the Lower Back Hurt When You Sneeze?

There are basically four medical and physiological explanations for this. These all are listed below,

  • Ruptured Disc

A ruptured disc, also known as a herniated disc, is a condition where the discs of fluid and collagen inbetween the bony parts of the spinal cord, slip or are ruptured due to excessive pressure or shock. This can cause the vertebral column to send out flares of pain, when the herniated disc is pressed upon due to any activity that might include sneezing.

Because when you sneeze, the whole back basically lurches forward in a sudden jerk motion, causing the herniated disc to pain out. This is usually the primary cause for back pain when sneezing, considering that a good majority of people suffer from osteoporosis, which is a condition that causes joints to get slipped in the first place. So, if you do suffer from something like this, be sure to check out your vertebral column to ensure nothing is wrong with that particular part. 

  • Pressured Sciatica Nerve

The sciatica is the longest and widest nerve in the body, starting from the base of the brain to the pelvic region, where it branches into two nerves going into two legs. This is a nerve protected by the spinal cord, but is usually quite exposed to the bony extensions of the spinal cord, which is how a sneeze can cause back pain.

Basically, when you sneeze, your back lurches forward, putting pressure on specific vertebras in the back, which can end up prodding the sciatica nerve, which is immediately picked up by the brain as back pain. So, again, indirectly, a pressured sciatica nerve can cause back pain when sneezing, which gives the illusion that the back pain is directly caused by sneezing, and not by the inner machinations of the spinal cord itself. 

  • Pulled Muscle

The back is composed of large muscles that are connected to the spinal cord via large sheaths of connective tissue and ligaments. These muscles both contract and relax, based on the position of the back and the way that it is stretched or relaxed. If you already have a muscle that is sore from activity, a sneeze could cause it to suddenly contract or relax, causing muscular back pain that could be in the upper or lower back, depending on the location of the muscle itself.

  • VCF (vertebral compression fracture)

Vertebral compression fracture (VCF) happens when a part of the vertebral structure collapses, which again, is consistent with people suffering from osteoporosis, a condition which softens the bones. So, a violent and sudden action like a sneeze can actually end up rupturing a bone or a ligament, causing back pain, that is then interpreted as back pain due to sneezing, when its actually back pain induced indirectly by sneezing.