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8 Causes of Back Pain when Coughing & How to Avoid it

by Jessica Hegg February 08, 2017

back pain while coughing and sneezing

Unfortunately, for most, back pain is no stranger. We all understand that back pain can result from lifting something heavy or performing strenuous work, but did you know that these factors play a huge role in back pain when coughing or sneezing? Here are 8 common causes, why you should avoid them, and tips that help!

1. Increased pressure within the spinal canal 

The initial sneeze can cause pressure to build causing a painful sensation within the lower back muscles.

2. Previous back strain or injury

Once you've suffered previous back strains or injuries tiny tears develop within the muscles and ligaments of your back. The preexisting damage makes you vulnerable to pain when coughing or sneezing.

3. Overstretching 

If you inadvertently stretch the lower back too far with a strain (cough or sneeze) or movement (overreaching), the already weakened muscles have made the spine less stable and easily subjected to lower, upper, or even right side back pain.

4. Overusing your Back

over and improper use of back

It’s easy to go overboard using your back - especially when repeatedly lifting heavy loads or doing an activity that strains the back for an extended period of time, like gardening or cleaning. Overuse and sudden, awkward movements can cause muscle spasms and tension as well as tears and strains in the muscles and ligaments that support the back.

5. Unsupportive Mattress

man sleeping on couch

A good night’s sleep is vital to maintaining a strong and pain-free back. Old and unsupportive mattresses can cause back pain by not properly supporting the spine and keeping it alignment while you sleep. The less sleep you get because of a bad mattress, the worse you will feel during the day, affecting overall health, attitude and eating habits too.

6. Emotional Stress

stressed out man

Stress and depression can indirectly manifest themselves as back pain, typically from a drastic increase in muscle tension. People experiencing stress and anxiety can, in turn, behave in ways that negatively affect back health by staying inactive, practicing bad posture and not eating well.

7. Improper Posture

cartoon man with bad posture

Slumping, leaning and craning the neck are all postures that can lead to chronic back pain. The more hunched over your back is when sitting and standing, the more strain it places on the muscles, reducing circulation and leading to inflammation and pain.

8. Sitting for Long Periods of Time

cartoon man working at computer

Sitting in the same position for long periods of time, whether using the computer, driving to work or watching television, places significant pressure on your spine and can even strain the neck and shoulder muscles. Studies show that spending significant amounts of time sitting each day also heightens the risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease, all of which promote inactivity and immobility that can lead to back pain too. When possible, don’t get more than 45 minutes sitting down without standing up to stretch a walk around briefly.

Tips to Reduce Back Pain when Coughing or Sneezing

  1. Rest your back and give it time to heal by avoiding strenuous activities that may have caused the initial strain.
  2. Use a chair lumbar support to provide additional support for long periods of sitting. A lumbar support can assist in improving your posture and relieving back pain.
  3. Ice is best for the first 24-48 hours after a strain to reduce inflammation.
  4. If necessary, use an over the counter pain reliever.
  5. Your spine is meant to move so keep mobile, just don’t overdo it.
  6. Once your pain has receded, incorporate a regular stretching routine and work to strengthen the muscles in your back to help maintain proper posture and alignment of the spine.
  7. Wear low heels or flats. High heels create a more unstable posture and increase the pressure on your lower spine.
  8. Watch your weight. Being overweight puts excess stress on your spine.
  9. Bend and lift objects from your knees to avoid straining your back.
  10. Get adequate sleep and try to sleep on your back.

How Can a Lower Back Brace Help?

lower back brace by vive

A lower back brace can help to relieve lower back pain caused by strains and sprains. The brace does this by helping to stabilize and relieve the stress on your spine to prevent further injuries in your lower back.

Benefits of Wearing a Back Brace...

  • Wearing a back brace can help you recover faster from an injury or soothe chronic pain, thus reducing the painkillers you might need.
  • Improves your posture since you’ll assume an upright gait while wearing the brace, thus lowering the pressure on the muscles and ligaments producing the pain.
  • Provides ample support for back pain when coughing or sneezing.
  • A good back brace can help to improve your posture, and thus, lower the risk of injuries when exercising or going about other activities.
  • It enables you to stay active since the brace provides support and relief.
  • The brace can prevent damage and protect your back against another injury.
  • A brace can relieve muscle spasms, and general back pain that many people experience after engaging in a strenuous activity.

What to Look for in a Lower Back Brace?

If you're constantly experiencing back pain when coughing or sneezing a good back brace can offer fast and lasting results over time. There are different back braces you can choose from. Be sure to pick the one that will enable you to work, exercise, and live your life without compromising comfort.  

Ideal Back Brace Design

  • Check for durable, lightweight and well-stitched fabrics.
  • Is the brace functional as well as comfortable?
  • Does it compress and alleviate pain without adding unnecessary bulk?
  • Removable splints allow for you to achieve more or less support, depending on your personal needs.

removable splint on back brace

  • It’s not your grandmother’s girdle. Your back pain can be your little secret. Most lower back braces can be worn comfortably, and unnoticed, under your clothing.
  • Custom fit- the best back brace should be designed with adjustable straps that will allow you to adjust the fit at any time.

Proper Fit of Back Brace

  • Make sure to choose a brace according to your waist size.
  • Choose a fit that is secure so that the brace doesn’t bunch or slip.
  • Check to ensure you can you maintain a full range of movement while wearing the brace.

back brace by vive

Looking to relieve your lower back pain?

Find all the support and relief you need right here!

    Remember, there is a multitude of reasons for lower back pain such as chronic conditions like scoliosis, sciatica, arthritis, or herniated vertebrae. Be sure to check with your doctor if you suffer from numbness, weakness in your legs, or bowel or bladder problems.  These could be a sign of nerve damage, so be sure to seek immediate medical attention.

    Protect Your Back Before the Next Unexpected Attack

    As you can see, lower back pain can be exacerbated for a number of reasons. If you want to relieve pain and/or lower the risk of worsening your existing conditions, a lower back brace just might be the solution.

    Then the next time you have a cold or a cough, you can stand tall because you’ll be prepared before the lower back from that sneeze can threaten to bring you to your knees.

    Jessica Hegg
    Jessica Hegg


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