Lower Back Pain When You Sneeze: Causes and Remedies

Have you ever felt a sharp pain in your lower back when you sneeze? Many people have experienced this. It’s often caused by things like herniated discs, muscle strains, vertebral compression fractures, and sciatica. When you sneeze, it puts pressure on your back. This can make your muscles, ligaments, and discs hurt.

If you already have a back problem, sneezing can make it feel worse. We will look at why lower back pain when sneezing happens. And, we’ll share tips on how to avoid hurting your back when you sneeze.

Key Takeaways

  • Lower back pain when sneezing can be caused by herniated discs, muscle strains, vertebral compression fractures, and sciatica.
  • The sudden and forceful movement of a sneeze can put significant pressure on the back, leading to immediate pain or worsening of existing injuries.
  • Maintaining good posture, strengthening core muscles, and using home remedies like ice, heat, and over-the-counter medications can help alleviate back pain from sneezing.
  • If the pain persists or worsens, it’s important to consult a healthcare provider to rule out any underlying conditions.
  • Protecting your back during a sneeze by standing upright, supporting yourself with your hands, and leaning forward can help reduce the strain on your spine.

What Happens During a Sneeze?

Sneezing is a reflex action that your body does without you deciding to. Your body first changes to get ready to sneeze. The diaphragm, a muscle under your lungs, tightens. This builds pressure in the abdomen and spinal canal. Then, the sneeze bursts out at up to 100 miles per hour. The quick, strong movement of a sneeze can strain your back muscles and spine.

Sneezing as a Reflex Action

Sneezing helps remove things that irritate your nose or throat. This includes dust or pollen. Your diaphragm tightens as a reaction to this irritation. This makes you breathe in fast and then push the air out hard. The mucus in your nose or throat comes out, too.

Pressure Build-up in the Abdomen and Spinal Canal

When you’re about to sneeze, the diaphragm tightens. It creates pressure build-up in your abdomen and spine. This pressure can push against your back muscles and discs. It’s like your body is getting ready to push out the sneeze forcefully.

Forceful Expulsion of Pressure

The last part of a sneeze is when the pressure quickly comes out. This strong force can impact your back. It might cause muscle pain, push out discs in your spine, or hurt already weak areas of your spine.

Causes of Lower Back Pain When You Sneeze

Sneezing suddenly can hurt your back. It might cause herniated discs or muscle strains. Also, it could lead to vertebral compression fractures or sciatica. Knowing this helps you handle and stop the pain.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc is when soft stuff from a disc comes out. It presses on nerves. This can cause a lot of pain, especially when you sneeze hard.

Muscle Strain

Sneezing very hard can hurt your muscles. This happens because of the fast movements when you sneeze. It makes muscles in your belly and back tight, causing pain.

Vertebral Compression Fracture

If you have osteoporosis, you might break a bone when you sneeze hard. This can lead to back pain and make you shorter. It might cause other problems, too.


Sciatica flare-up from sneezing feels like a sharp pain. It happens when your sciatic nerve is irritated. The pain goes from your back to your legs.

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Knowing why sneezing can cause back pain is useful. It can help you keep your back safe. And you can deal with any pain that comes from sneezing.

lower back pain when i sneeze

When you sneeze hard, your stomach and back muscles tense up quickly. This can make your back muscles spasm or strain. Also, the big movement and push from coughing hard can hurt the ligaments, nerves, and discs in your spine. This could cause sudden back pain that might stick around for a while.

Sudden Tensing of Back Muscles

Your back and belly muscles squeeze fast and hard when you sneeze. This quick tightening can shock your back muscles, making them hurt a lot. The pain can last even after the sneeze is over.

Injury to Ligaments, Nerves, and Discs

When you sneeze, the fast movement can stress the ligaments, nerves, and discs in your spine. This stress could make them sore, swollen, or even hurt more. It leads to back pain that lasts a while.

Protecting Your Back While Sneezing

When you feel a sneeze coming, be careful to protect your back. The fast movement of a sneeze can hurt your spinal discs and back. By using some easy tips, you can keep your back safe while sneezing.

Standing Upright

It’s best to stand up when you sneeze. Standing helps lessen the pressure on your back. This way, you avoid harming your spinal discs or back muscles. Standing also lets your back muscles support your spine better during the sneeze.

Supporting Yourself with Hands

If you can, put your hands on something solid when you need to sneeze. This support keeps your upper body stable. It stops your back from taking too much pressure. Using your hands can lower the sneeze’s impact on your spine.

Leaning Forward

A 2014 study found that leaning forward while sneezing is good. Leaning helps move the sneezing force down, not straight back. This might lower the chance of hurting your back. Try leaning forward next time you sneeze.

Using these tips can protect your back while you sneeze. It’s wise to be careful with your spine. Preventing back problems from sneezing is always better than dealing with them later.

Home Remedies for Back Pain

Many home remedies can help ease lower back pain. This type of pain can come from a sneeze or something else. Ice and heat therapy reduce swelling and relax tight muscles. You can also try over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen for relief. Doing gentle stretching and low-impact exercises like walking or swimming will make your back and core stronger.

Maintaining good posture sitting or standing helps not make the pain worse. Learning stress management techniques like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing can calm your muscles.

Home RemedyBenefits
Ice and Heat TherapyReduces inflammation and eases muscle tension
OTC Pain MedicationProvides relief from back pain
Gentle Stretching and ExerciseStrengthens back and core muscles
Proper PostureAvoids further straining the back
Stress ManagementHelps relax back muscles

When to Seek Medical Attention

If your back hurts after you sneeze, you should see a doctor if it doesn’t get better after two weeks. Or if it gets worse. You must see a doctor right away if you feel numb, lose control of your bowels or bladder, there’s a history of cancer, or the pain goes down your leg past the knee. These signs could mean a serious condition that needs quick treatment.

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If your back pain is worse when you sneeze, look out for any symptoms that get worse or don’t go away with home care. A doctor can find out what’s causing it, whether it’s a problem with a disc, a muscle, a bone break, or something else. They’ll give you the right tests and suggest the best way to get better.

If back pain from sneezing doesn’t stop, or if you’re worried about it, don’t wait to see a doctor. Your health is very important. Getting help when you need it can make you feel better faster and stop any more bad things from happening.

Back Braces for Additional Support

Do you get back pain when you sneeze? A back brace might help give your spine the support it needs. Make sure to get one that fits well. Your doctor should say which one is right for you.

Prescription and Proper Use

Back braces ease the pressure on your back when you sneeze. They help by squeezing around your back. But, make sure you wear it the right way. That’s how you get the best out of your brace.

Building Core Strength

It’s good to have a back brace, but don’t forget about your tummy and back muscles. A strong core means a strong back. This can lower how hurt your back gets when you sneeze. Try doing Pilates or yoga to make your core strong. It helps a lot along with using a brace.

Preventing Back Pain While Sneezing

To keep a good posture and avoid back pain when sneezing, watch how you sit or stand. Keep your shoulders back and your back straight. This helps lessen the stress on your back muscles when you sneeze. Also, doing activities like Pilates helps. They make your center stronger. This gives more help to your spine, keeping it safe when you sneeze.

Making your core muscles strong and flexible is key. It helps against the strong movements of a sneeze. These workouts make your spine steady and improve your posture. Good posture is vital to keep away back pain, especially when sneezing.

Keep in mind, working to have a good posture and a firm core is smart. It helps protect your back. It reduces pain when you sneeze hard.

Sneeze-Induced Back Injuries

Have you ever sneezed so hard it hurt your back? The force of a sneeze can cause back injuries. These include herniated discs, muscle strains, and vertebral compression fractures. A herniated disc comes from the soft inside poking through the tough outer layer. This puts pressure on nerves nearby. Muscle strains are when fibers in a muscle tear or stretch too much because of a sneeze.

Herniated Discs

Herniated discs got their name because they can slip out. If you have one and you sneeze, it can press on your spinal cord. A disk can herniate from something as simple as a little strain or twist. This can happen more often as people get older and their bones get weaker.

Muscle Strains

Muscle strains are often felt in the lower back after sneezing. The lower back is key for holding up the upper body and moving. If your back muscles are weak, you might feel pain when you sneeze.

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Vertebral Compression Fractures

In people with osteoporosis, a sneeze can break a vertebra. This happens when the front of a vertebra cracks and collapses. Older people are more at risk because their bones can grow thin and weak.


Having lower back pain when you sneeze is no fun, but you can do things to help. Learning about why it happens, like herniated discs or muscle strains, is a first step. This can help in knowing what to look for and how to treat it.

Good posture and strong core muscles can make a big difference. Using ice, heat, or over-the-counter meds at home can also ease the pain. Taking these steps can help prevent injury when you sneeze.

If the pain doesn’t get better, talk to a doctor. They can make sure nothing serious is wrong. Getting their advice is key to finding the best treatment.

Taking care of your back is important. It can stop future pain when you sneeze. Keep your back strong and enjoy life without the worry of sneezing hurting you.


What can cause lower back pain when I sneeze?

Lower back pain when you sneeze might happen from a few things. These include a herniated disc, a muscle pull, a vertebrae break, or sciatica. The quick and hard movement of a sneeze puts a big strain on the muscles and ligaments in your back. This can cause a lot of pain.

How can a sneeze lead to a back injury?

When you sneeze hard, your belly and back muscles quickly tighten. This sudden tightness can strain your back muscles. Also, the strong force from a sneeze might hurt your spine’s ligaments, nerves, and discs.

What can I do to protect my back while sneezing?

To keep your back safe when you sneeze, stand up straight. Also, put your hands on something strong and lean forward a bit. This helps take the pressure off your spine.

What home remedies can help with lower back pain from sneezing?

You can try these at home for back pain after sneezing. Use ice or heat packs. Also, you can take over-the-counter pain meds. Gentle stretching and easy exercises are good too. Don’t forget to sit and stand up straight. Doing things like yoga and meditation can also help.

When should I see a doctor for lower back pain from sneezing?

Go see a doctor if your back still hurts after a few weeks. Get help right away if you feel numb, and lose control of your bathroom urges, or have had cancer. Also, if pain goes down your leg below the knee, it’s time to see a doctor.

How can back braces help with sneeze-induced back pain?

Back braces offer your spine extra support. This helps if you often have back pain from sneezing. Remember, a doctor needs to recommend a brace. Follow your doctor’s advice about how and when to wear it. Also, work on building up your core muscles. This can keep you from needing the brace for too long.

How can I prevent back pain from sneezing in the future?

Good posture is key to avoiding back pain when you sneeze. Make sure to stand and sit up straight. You should also strengthen your core with exercises like Pilates or yoga. This makes your spine stronger and less likely to get hurt when you sneeze.