Lower Back Pain When Coughing? Here’s What You Need to Know

Our blog
lower back pain when coughing

Lower back pain when coughing often indicates underlying issues such as muscle strain, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or degenerative disc disease. Each of these conditions can be aggravated by the pressure and force exerted on the spine during a cough. If you’re experiencing this type of pain, it’s crucial to address the root cause to prevent further discomfort and complications. Seeking professional help from Innovative Physical Therapy Care can provide you with personalized treatment and relief strategies.

Causes of Lower Back Pain When Coughing

Muscle Strain and Sprains

  • Frequent or forceful coughing can lead to muscle strain in the back, resulting in pain and discomfort.
  • Symptoms: sharp or dull pain, muscle tightness, limited range of motion.
  • More about muscle strain at Healthline.

Herniated Discs

  • Coughing increases pressure within the spinal discs, potentially exacerbating herniated discs.
  • Herniated discs occur when the soft center of a spinal disc pushes through its exterior casing.
  • Symptoms: Pain, nerve compression.
  • Additional information at Disc Herniation vs. Bulging Disk and MedlinePlus.

Spinal Stenosis

  • Spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spinal canal, which can pressure the spinal cord and nerves.
  • Symptoms: Pain, numbness, muscle weakness.
  • More on spinal stenosis at Mayo Clinic.

Degenerative Disc Disease

  • Age-related wear and tear on the spinal discs can lead to degenerative disc disease.
  • Coughing can aggravate this condition by increasing pressure on damaged discs.
  • Symptoms: Pain, reduced flexibility.
  • More details can be found at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Spinal Fractures

  • Severe coughing can cause or worsen spinal fractures, especially in individuals with osteoporosis.
  • Symptoms: Severe pain, immobility.
  • Information on spinal fractures can be found at Cleveland Clinic.

By understanding these causes, you can take steps to manage and prevent lower back pain associated with coughing. The next sections will provide detailed strategies for managing pain and preventive measures to maintain a healthy spine. For more insights, you can also check Innovative Physical Therapy Care – Back Pain on our website.

Tips for Managing Lower Back Pain When Coughing

  1. Medication
    • Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin, can reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
    • For persistent or severe pain, consult a healthcare provider about stronger prescription medications.
    • More information on pain relief methods is available at Chronic Pain Treatment.
managing lower back pain
  1. Physical Therapy
    • Strengthening core muscles supports the spine and reduces pain during coughing. Physical therapy exercises can help stabilize the spine.
    • A physical therapist can create a personalized exercise plan targeting specific areas of weakness or pain.
    • If you are looking for treatment for lower back pain and live in Maryland or Delaware, please visit one of our locations here.
  2. Posture Adjustment
    • Proper posture reduces spinal strain when coughing. Avoid hunching forward; keep your back straight and support yourself with a stable surface if necessary.
    • Good posture helps manage pain and prevent future injuries.
    • For tips on improving posture, refer to Why Are My Shoulders Always Raised? How to Fix It.
  3. Alternative Therapies
    • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy involves using low-voltage electrical currents to alleviate pain and relax tight muscles.
    • Steps for Using TENS Therapy:
      • Place the TENS electrodes on the area of pain.
      • Set the device to a comfortable intensity level.
      • Use the device for 15-30 minutes per session.
    • TENS therapy is effective for chronic pain management. More about TENS Therapy at The Feel Good Lab.
  4. Rest and Activity Modification
    • Avoid prolonged bed rest. Modify activities to prevent further strain:
      • Limit activities that exacerbate pain, like heavy lifting or prolonged sitting.
      • Use supportive pillows to maintain spinal alignment while resting. Place a pillow under your knees when lying on your back, or between your knees when lying on your side.
    • Expert advice on managing back pain is available at Worst Sleeping Position for Lower Back Pain.

Preventive Measures for Lower Back Pain

lower back pain

Regular Exercise

  • Engage in low-impact aerobic exercises like walking, swimming, or cycling to strengthen back muscles and improve flexibility.
  • Consult with a healthcare provider or physical therapist to develop a safe and effective exercise routine.
  • For personalized exercise plans, visit Chronic Pain Treatment.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

  • Excess weight strains the back, exacerbating pain and discomfort. Maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise.
  • Tips on healthy weight management can be found at Mayo Clinic.

Smoking Cessation

  • Smoking can lead to chronic coughing and reduce blood flow to spinal tissues, increasing the risk of back pain. Quitting smoking improves overall spine health.
  • Explore resources and support for quitting smoking at American Lung Association.

Ergonomic Support

  • Using ergonomic chairs and mattresses helps maintain proper spinal alignment and reduces back strain. Lumbar support cushions provide additional support to the lower back.
  • Investing in ergonomic furniture and using proper support prevents back pain and promotes better posture.
  • More information on ergonomic support and posture is available at Upper Back Pain After Sleeping.

Proper Lifting Techniques

  • Avoid heavy lifting whenever possible. When lifting is necessary, use proper techniques to prevent back strain:
    • Bend at the knees, not the waist.
    • Keep the back straight and the object close to your body.
    • Lift with your legs, not your back.
    • Avoid twisting while lifting.
  • Learn more about safe lifting practices at Shoulder Pain While Squatting – Prevention Strategies.

By implementing these management strategies and preventive measures, you can effectively address and reduce lower back pain associated with coughing. 

FAQs Section

Why does my lower back hurt when I cough?

  • Lower back pain when coughing can be caused by muscle strain, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or degenerative disc disease. The force of coughing puts pressure on the spine, which can aggravate existing conditions or cause new issues. 

Can coughing cause a herniated disc?

  • Yes, coughing can increase the pressure within the spinal discs, potentially leading to or worsening a herniated disc. This is especially true if the discs are already weakened or damaged. For more details, visit Herniated Disc vs. Bulging Disk.

How can I prevent back pain when coughing?

  • To prevent back pain, maintain good posture, strengthen core muscles, avoid smoking, and use ergonomic supports. When coughing, try to keep your back straight and support yourself with a stable surface. Detailed preventive measures can be found at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
  • Practicing good posture can significantly help. For more tips, refer to Why Are My Shoulders Always Raised? How to Fix It.

When should I see a doctor for back pain when coughing?

  • If your back pain persists despite self-care measures, or if it is severe and associated with other symptoms like numbness or weakness, it is important to consult a healthcare provider. For signs that require medical attention, please visit  Physical Therapy You Can Trust.
  • If your pain is related to a recent injury or accident, such as a car accident, you may need specialized care. Learn more about post-accident care at Pain After a Car Accident.

What treatments are available for lower back pain caused by coughing?

  • Treatments include over-the-counter pain medications, physical therapy, hot and cold therapy, TENS therapy, and posture adjustments. In severe cases, medical interventions like imaging tests and possibly surgery might be necessary.

Final Thoughts on Lower Back Pain When Coughing

Managing lower back pain when coughing involves understanding the underlying causes and implementing effective treatment and preventive strategies. By following practical tips such as using TENS therapy, practicing proper lifting techniques, and modifying activities to prevent further strain, you can significantly reduce pain and improve your quality of life. If your pain persists or worsens, seeking professional medical advice is crucial. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, good posture, and proper ergonomic support plays a vital role in preventing back pain. For more personalized advice and treatment options, consider consulting with a healthcare provider at Innovative Healthcare Centers.

By implementing these comprehensive management strategies and preventive measures, you can effectively address and reduce lower back pain associated with coughing, ensuring a healthier and more comfortable life.