This question is now more relevant than ever before: can coughing cause lower back pain? In the times we live in, what with Covid-19 and all that it has bought upon us, coughing is becoming more of a taboo than a symptom. Now you cough in a public place, and all of a sudden people are looking at you, running away, walking away fast like you just announced you were carrying a bomb.

And that’s how its become now, that the pandemic is wreaking havoc and coughing is becoming more a thing that everybody frowns on. But for those of us who aren’t infected and are simply going through allergies or a really pepper-ish egg, and even the ones who have recovered from the disease, coughing can end up taking a toll on your body, including your lower back.

What’s up with that?  Lower back pain after coughing is all too common, because coughing takes quite some toll on your lungs, and if you do a bit of research on this, you will get to know the reason behind this. It has more to do with coughing than with the internal physiology of the body; considering a person with a basic understanding of human biology, one would think it would have something to do with either the lungs or the diaphragm, but no. Back pain from coughing too much has an inherent problem with coughing itself, not the biology.

Also Read: Why Does My Back Hurt When I Breathe ?

However, that’s not to say that the lungs don’t have any part in coughing, especially when a spell of dry cough presents itself. Coughing is the action of forcefully exhaling air with contaminants out of the lungs.

Forceful exhalation, as the name suggests, requires a lot of force to be exerted on the diaphragm and the lower part of the lungs, which is why after a particularly straining fit of coughing, you might your chest hurting a little bit and out of breath. That is because when the natural process of gaseous exchange is interrupted, the lungs have to forcefully expel air out, especially if there are contaminants or allergens in it, which taxes the lungs. So, the answer to the question ‘why does my back hurt when I cough’ lies in the coughing part.

Can Coughing Cause Lower Back Pain?

Yes, coughing can cause lower back pain. And excessive coughing (like in allergies season) can end up hurting both the chest and the whole back, since the lungs and the thoracic cavity (which houses the lungs, the heart and other important internal organs) reels back and forth repeatedly from the coughs. 

As for the part of why is there lower back pain after coughing, a lot of it has to do with the posture that one makes while coughing, and in part due to the pressure it imparts on the chest and subsequently, the back. Further below, we will explain what posture has to do with coughing and back pain.

Back Pain from Coughing too Much

When a person coughs, the whole body lurches forward, which puts strain on the back, especially the lower back. You may try it for yourself; like an instinctive reaction, the body jerks forward and puts pressure on the lower back when you cough. When you cough repeatedly, the back begins to ache after repeated pressure and shocks will tire out the vertebral column, especially at the lower back. Thus, when you cough too much, the lower back will experience too much shocks and pressure, causing it to exhibit pain.

can coughing cause lower back pain so it have another reason as to why back pain from coughing too much happens is because of the pressure coughing and the subsequent leaning forward puts on the back, especially the lower back. You see, when we cough, the diaphragm pushes the bottom of the lungs upwards to forcefully exhale all the air out. This created a low-pressure area beneath the diaphragm, which radiates pain in the abdomen and the lower back, causing undue pressure to the lower vertebral column. This is why excessive coughing can cause lower back pain.

The Connection of Coughing and Back Pain

Although no immediately apparent connection is there between the lower back and coughing, however, due to an indirect connection and the fact that pain radiates from its origin to the area near it, coughing can very much be an indirect cause for lower back pain. As explained beforehand, it occurs when you cough repeatedly, and can be exacerbated if the spell is of a dry cough, as the airways are not lubricated enough.

This can end up with a person feeling pain in their trachea (the windpipe) as well, since a dry cough is just air leaving forcefully via the windpipe, and a lack of lubrication and presence of allergens and contaminants will scar the windpipe surface lining of epithelial cells.

Either way, to recap, when we cough, we lurch forward, which puts a shock on the back and creates pressure in the abdomen region. When we cough repeatedly, the shock is repeatedly experienced by the lower back, which is then picked up by the nerves as pain radiating from the lower back.

The pressure generated in the diaphragm area also contributes to the pain, where excessive coughing can also cause pain the chest section and the upper abdomen, which can then radiate to the back, especially the mid and the lower back, causing the sensation that coughing too much causes lower back pain. While in reality, it is just the back aching due to the arching it forms when we cough, and the pressure coughing generates in the lower thoracic cavity, whose pain then radiates on to the lower back. 

How to Avoid Back Pain Due to Coughing

This pain can be exaggerated if the back is already a little weak, and lower back pain is something you already experience and suffer from. Long periods of coughing will only worsen the pain and to get around it, two methods can be used; you can either stop the coughing and sit in a more comfortable posture, or you can do away with the back pain by alternating heat and ice packs and letting the back muscles and the vertebral column relax by lying down for a few minutes.

Getting the Cough to Stop:

Coughing is a natural process, one which is essential if an allergen or any contaminant has entered the lungs via the airways (nose and mouth). Therefore, if you have an allergy, to say, pollen, then it is better to let the system expel the pollen itself. The cough might get a little irritating, so you can use medication for it, like Nyquil or Dayquil. This will stop the coughing and soothe the lungs and the windpipe.

As for coughing induced by dust or a contaminant, you can again, take some medication and relieve the throat and the lungs. Usually menthol drops and alcohol-based medication is used to relieve coughing, so use them. The coughing will cease and so will the back pain.

Lower Back Pain:

The lower back is a common point of backaches, considering that a lot of the pressure and shocks sent through the vertebral column end up at the lower end of the vertebra, plus sitting and a lot of other activities put a strain on the lower back. Good posture is imperative for ruling out back pain, so pay attention to how you sit and perform various tasks throughout the day.

Try to relax your back by lying down for a couple of minutes and also make sure that the weight isn’t too much, considering that a belly that’s extended due to stored fats will put additional strain on the back, causing the natural curvature of the spine to be accentuated, which will also cause back pain. So, take care of your back and your back will take care of you.