Effective Tips to Relieve Upper Back Pain from Coughing

Relieve upper back pain from coughing with these proven techniques: apply heat, take cough suppressants, practice deep breathing exercises, and correct your posture.

Coughing happens a lot, especially in cold and flu seasons. Sometimes, it causes upper back pain.1 This article will give helpful ways to ease this pain. We will look at why you’re coughing, what home treatments and medicines help, and ways to stop it from happening again.

Key Takeaways

  • Coughing can lead to upper back pain through muscle strain, spasms, and inflammation.
  • Home remedies like cold/heat therapy and bracing techniques can provide relief.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers and corticosteroid injections can help manage pain.
  • Massage therapy and physical therapy can address the underlying causes of upper back pain.
  • Cough suppressants can help reduce the frequency and intensity of coughing episodes.

Understanding Coughing and Its Impact on the Upper Back

Coughing helps remove irritants and mucus from the breathing path.2 It starts when receptors in the breathing system feel something is wrong.2

The Coughing Mechanism

Your body uses several muscles when you cough.2 This makes a strong sound and pushes air out.2 It’s meant to clear your airways, but it can make your upper back hurt.3

Muscles Involved in Coughing

The diaphragm, intercostal muscles, abs, and larynx muscles are needed for coughing.2 They work together to push air hard.3

How Coughing Can Cause Upper Back Pain

Coughing a lot or hard can make your upper back muscles strain and hurt.2 It also makes problems like muscle strain or herniated discs worse.3

Knowing how coughing works and what muscles do helps find ways to stop or ease upper back pain.23

Common Causes of Upper Back Pain When Coughing

Coughing can make your upper back hurt for various reasons. Overdoing it or coughing a lot can pull your upper back muscles. This makes them sore and swollen.2 You might also feel sharp pain if your muscles suddenly tighten.2

If you have a torn ligament or a herniated disc, coughing makes it worse. The pressure from coughing hurts these areas more.2 Also, a narrow spinal canal can press on nerves. This adds to the pain you feel in your upper back.2

Muscle Strain

Coughing can strain your muscles and cause pain.2

Muscle Spasms

When you cough a lot, your muscles might spasm. This makes your back pain even worse.2

Torn Ligament

Having a torn ligament in your back can hurt more when you cough.2

Herniated Disc

Coughing can press on herniated discs, causing pain.2

Spinal Stenosis

If your spine is narrowing, it can press on nerves. This makes coughing hurt your back more.2 Sometimes, coughing pain means you could have lung problems like pneumonia or cancer.2

back injury

Home Remedies for Relief

There are several home remedies for upper back pain from coughing. You can use a cold pack or a warm towel to lessen inflammation and calm muscles.2 Use a pillow or grab something stable when you cough to reduce back strain.2 Adding a support pillow or fixing how you sit can also make your back feel better. This helps with posture and lessens strain.2

Cold and Heat Therapy

For cold therapy, use ice packs for 10 to 15 minutes, three times daily to decrease swelling and dull the ache.2 To try heat therapy, opt for a warm towel for up to 20 minutes to ease pain by relaxing muscles.2

“Bracing” Techniques

“Bracing” means holding onto something or using a pillow while coughing. It spreads the cough’s force better and lowers pressure on the back.2

Ergonomic Modifications

Using lumbar support and changing how you sit helps your posture. It cuts back strain and makes your back feel better.2

Medications for Upper Back Pain Relief

If your upper back hurts from coughing, start with over-the-counter meds. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and aspirin work well. They lower inflammation and ease the pain for a bit.2 These meds act on COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes to help.2

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs like ibuprofen are good for upper back pain from muscle strain or too much coughing.2 They bring fast, strong relief. This lets people keep doing what they need to do.1

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Corticosteroid Injections

If the pain is really bad or won’t go away, corticosteroid shots might help.2 A doctor gives these to calm down the swelling near the nerves in your back. This can help a lot if you have a herniated disc or other back problems.2

Using pills and shots together helps a lot. It treats pain up front and the cause in the back.21 This combo plan can really work for dealing with upper back pain over time.

Therapeutic Approaches

For upper back pain from coughing, both massage therapy and physical therapy work well. They offer big relief and help in getting better for a long time.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is great for easing upper back pain. It uses methods like myofascial release and deep tissue massage to deal with muscle knots and tension.2 This boosts blood flow and relaxes the muscles, which lowers pain.

Physical Therapy and Exercises

Working with a physical therapist is also smart. They create exercises especially for you. These help make your upper back stronger, more flexible, and speed up healing.2 These exercises cut down on muscle strain, keep away spasms, and stop back pain from coming back.

Cough Suppression Strategies

The first step to deal with upper back pain due to coughing is to lessen the cough.4 You can use over-the-counter cough medicines to do this. These meds decrease how often and how hard you cough. This helps your upper back muscles relax.5 Also, cough drops or lozenges are good. They make your throat feel better and cut down on how much you cough. This also eases the pain in your upper back.

Over-the-Counter Cough Suppressants

Cough medicines like dextromethorphan or guaifenesin work well.4 They aim at the part of your brain that makes you cough. This calms the urge to cough. So, your upper back has a chance to feel better. Be sure to give them the right amount. This is super important, especially for kids. Overusing these medicines can cause problems.

Cough Drops and Lozenges

Don’t forget about cough drops and lozenges too. They have things like menthol and honey.4 These make your throat feel nice and stop you from coughing as much. This way, your upper back gets some time to heal from all the coughing.

Always talk to a doctor before using cough medicines or drops. This is extra important for kids.4 Getting the right advice is key to helping your upper back pain from too much coughing.

How to Relieve Upper Back Pain from Coughing

To ease cough-induced upper back pain, you need a full plan. It means mix of cold/heat wraps and braces, meds, massages or physical therapy, and ways to stop the cough.1 This helps deal with the cough’s main cause and handle upper back pain. So, you can feel better and stop more pain later on.

Use cold packs for 20-25 minutes at first to cut down on swelling and pain.1 Warm packs are good too, for about 20 minutes each time.2 Holding something stable or a pillow while coughing can ease stress on the upper back.1

Pain and inflammation can be tackled with over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen.26 In tough cases, a doctor might inject corticosteroids to lessen the hidden swelling and keep pain away for longer.2

Therapies like massages and physical therapy do lots of good. Massages, like deep tissue work, calm upper back muscles and ease up tightness.2 Exercises from physical therapy boost core muscles, make you more flexible, and cut down on muscle twitches. This helps a bunch with pain management for cough-related upper back pain.26

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Healing the cough itself is key. Cough meds from the store can dial down how much and how hard you cough.6 Hard candies or cough sweets are good too. They make your throat feel better and stop the cough a bit.

With this full plan, you can really lower cough-induced upper back pain. Plus, it stops more pain from coming your way in the future.

Identifying Underlying Conditions

Having upper back pain while coughing can show there’s more going on. It might mean you have a problem with your lungs. If coughing a lot and the pain is severe, it could be from serious issues like pneumonia, bronchitis, or lung cancer.6

Lung Diseases

Illnesses that affect your lungs, such as pneumonia or bronchitis, can make you cough a lot. This heavy coughing can hurt your upper back.2 Even lung cancer, with its chronic coughing, might add to your back pain.2 Seeing a doctor is key, especially with ongoing cough and back pain or if other symptoms show up. It helps rule out any6 lung diseases.

Other Medical Conditions

Not just lungs, but other health problems could also cause back pain when you cough. Issues with the spine, like2 spinal stenosis or2 herniated discs, might be to blame. These issues can make cough-induced back pain worse.6 Getting a full check-up is important to figure out what’s happening and choose the right treatment.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If upper back pain from coughing won’t get better with home tips, get help. If your pain is2 sticking around or2 very bad, see a doctor.6 Warning signs like numbness or tingling should make you go to the doctor.6 They will check for any hidden issues and help you feel better.

Persistent or Severe Back Pain

Is your back hurting bad for a while after coughing? It’s key to see a doctor. There might be a problem needing special care.1 If your pain doesn’t lessen in a few days, seeing a spine expert is a good idea.

Concerning Symptoms

If your back pain comes with warning signs like numbness, act fast.6 These signs might mean something big is up. A doctor can figure out what’s wrong and find ways to help you feel better soon.

Preventing Future Episodes

To stop future upper back pain when you cough, look at main reasons.1 Making your core muscles stronger can help lower the pressure there during coughs.1 Good posture is also key, not just for daily life but also when you cough. It cuts down the hurt on your upper back.1 Doing exercises and changes in how you live to boost core strength and posture is great to avoid the pain from coughs again.

Strengthening Core Muscles

Building your core muscles helps a lot in avoiding upper back pain from coughing.1 It makes the stomach, back, and pelvic muscles help your spine more. This eases the pressure on your upper back when you cough.1 Working out your core with moves like planks and Pilates makes these muscles stronger and your spine straighter.

Maintaining Good Posture

Having the right posture is crucial to keep upper back pain away when you cough.1 If coughing makes your back hurt, try bending it backward a bit. This spreads out the stress better.1 Using a special pillow for your lower back or changing how you sit can improve your posture. It helps your back feel less strain, especially when coughing.

Working on your core and sitting up right can really cut the chances of upper back pain from coughing.1 These steps, as part of a fit lifestyle, can really help you steer clear of back pain.1 They’re key to being comfortable and keeping your spine healthy.

The Role of Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle factors are key in preventing and managing upper back pain from coughing.7 Working on these areas can help make the pain less and cut down how often you cough. This gives relief to the upper back.

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Stress Management

Feeling stressed can make you cough more and hurt your upper back.2 Doing activities like deep breathing and staying in the present moment can lower your stress. This might make you cough less and help your back feel better.

Adequate Hydration

Drinking enough water is very important for your breathing and back health.7 Not drinking enough can cause a dry cough, making your upper back pain worse. More water can make your mucus thinner. This can make you cough more easily and put less stress on your back.

Smoking Cessation

If you smoke and stop, your cough and upper back pain might get better.7 Smoking can hurt your throat and make you cough a lot. This can hurt your upper back more. Quitting smoking can help fix your throat and stop the cough. This might mean your back hurts less.

By dealing with these lifestyle things, you can stop upper back pain from coughing. You’ll feel better and enjoy life more.


Upper back pain from coughing can be tough. But, there are ways to cope and stop it.8 To beat this pain, treat the cough’s main cause first. Then, use home and medical treatments, ways to relax, and change how you live. Doing this can bring real ease and keep back pain away.9 When needed, a doctor can offer help. This plan can make life better, especially when you’re sick.

To stop upper back pain from coughing, use many ways together.8 Try cold or hot treatments, and wearing support can help. Taking the right meds and getting massages or therapy are also good steps. Plus, work on coughing less.9 This way, you’re not just fixing the hurt but also why it happens. So, you can feel good for a long time and avoid more pain.

For upper back pain because of coughing, using lots of methods is best.8 Mixing several helpful ways and getting medical care as needed is key. With the right mix, you can feel better and enjoy life more, even when it’s cold time.10


What causes upper back pain from coughing?

Coughing can make your upper back hurt. It strains muscles and can cause muscle spasms. It might even hurt your ligaments and discs.Conditions like spinal stenosis can get worse too.

How can I relieve upper back pain caused by coughing at home?

Use cold or heat on your back. You can also try bracing. This might help. Make sure you sit and stand up straight.

What medications can help with upper back pain from coughing?

Try taking NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, or aspirin. They fight off swelling. If it’s really bad, a doctor might give you a corticosteroid shot.

What therapeutic approaches can help with upper back pain from coughing?

Getting a massage or doing physical therapy can really help. These things work on your back muscles and make them stronger and more flexible.

How can I suppress my cough to reduce upper back pain?

Cough medicines and lozenges can calm your cough. This helps your back muscles not to work so hard with each cough.

When should I seek medical attention for upper back pain from coughing?

You should see a doctor if it won’t stop hurting, is really bad, or you have other strange symptoms. They need to check for serious medical problems.

How can I prevent future episodes of upper back pain from coughing?

To stop your back from hurting, make your core muscles stronger. Sit and stand with your back straight. Manage stress, drink enough water, and quit smoking.

Source Links

  1. https://theadvancedspinecenter.com/the-best-tips-on-how-to-relieve-back-pain-from-coughing/
  2. https://phoenixrehabgroup.com/articles/back-pain-treatment/coughing-back-pain/
  3. https://www.drestner.com/blog/why-does-my-back-hurt-when-i-cough
  4. https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ss/slideshow-cough-treatments
  5. https://www.hey.nhs.uk/patient-leaflet/help-chronic-cough/
  6. https://www.bswhealth.com/blog/coughing-causing-back-pain
  7. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/symptoms-causes/syc-20369906
  8. https://backintelligence.com/pulled-muscle-in-upper-back/
  9. https://physiopretoria.co.za/pain/back/upper-back-muscle-spasm
  10. https://www.genesispain.com/upper-back-pain-between-shoulder-blades-causes-and-pain-relief/