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If you regularly struggle with back or neck pain, you’ll know that certain actions can cause a flare up, or make the pain more intense afterwards. With lower back pain, coughing and sneezing are certainly actions that we hear cause people to experience a temporary flare up of symptoms, or even to trigger a long-term flare. Today we’ll be going through why exactly this kind of action causes a flare up of symptoms, and some things you can do to help make it a bit more bearable. We’re in September now, the weather is starting to cool down and with it comes bouts of cold and flu. If you’ve got any injuries, big or small, in your spine, coughing and sneezing can further irritate the injured structures.

Whether you’re coughing or sneezing, they’re both quite violent motions – and if you’ve come down with the cold or flu virus, you’re likely to be repeating these motions quite frequently. If you happen to cough or sneeze quite violently on a one-off occasion, it may still be quite likely that you experience a flare up of symptoms.

Why Does Sneezing Cause Back Pain?

We often use the analogy of a cut on an elbow. If you’ve ever had a scab on a main joint, if you happen to quickly bend that joint then you’re going to rip the scab and it’ll probably start bleeding again. The same thing happens when you cough or sneeze, an increase in pressure rushes to the abdomen and places further pressure on the injured disc that causes you pain. Increasing pressure to the abdomen causes the disc to drive back towards the spinal canal further, to bulge further, which is commonly why when people sneeze when they have a disc issue it can cause a shooting pain to occur down the legs or in the lower back.

In order to best support yourself if feel like you need to cough or sneeze, try to be mindful about your positioning. Throwing yourself forward to cough or sneeze is a very bag idea, so try to remain in control of your motion. You’ll want to try to keep yourself upright and in a position of good posture – shoulders back and down and a natural arch in your lower back. If you are getting this kind of issue regularly, it’s likely going to be beneficial for you to seek treatment to get on top of the problem, so it starts to heal effectively. Getting expert advice on the problem rather than trying to manage it on your own, will help you see long-term results with your back or neck pain.

How Poor Posture Contributes To Back Pain

If the problem has only been going on for a few days, it’s worth bearing with it to see if the problem can resolve on its own. There are things you can do to help with this, including most importantly to correct your posture. A lot of injuries in the spine occur due to poor posture over a period of weeks, months or years.

Your spine should be naturally aligned in such a way that it effectively distributes the force of gravity throughout your body. Sitting with incorrect posture everyday looking down at your phone on your journey to work, slouching in your office chair at work, or slouching on the sofa or in bed in the evenings watching Netflix, are all things that can contribute to your spine remodelling itself to cope with that change in your behaviour.

Over time, this puts a lot of pressure on either your lower back or neck depending on which area of the spine you’re neglecting. Increased pressure in those areas compresses your discs, which can eventually lead to experiencing issues like disc bulges. If you’re only just starting to experience back or neck pain for a short period of time, you may still be able to correct the problem by resolving certain behaviours. However, if it has been going on for a long time you may need a more targeted treatment plan devised by a professional to fix the problem.

That being said, it’s always worth trying to strengthen the area. A smart and robust treatment strategy to work on alleviating the pain and reducing inflammation to help the healing process is essential. Action after a relapse such as a back provoking sneeze can make a real difference. This is why we created our Back In Shape membership. It provides you with the immediate course of action to follow as well as a rehabilitation process to make sure vulnerabilities are eliminated. 

Start The Back In Shape Program

All you need to strengthen and rehab your lower back injury from home, from the first aid, all the way through to longer term strengthening support. Join the membership and get your Back In Shape.

Treatment For Back Pain

If you’re based in the London area, we are specialists in treating back and neck pain. We have a range of technology based treatments to help reduce inflammation and heal the problem from the source of the problem. Many ‘solutions’ given for back pain don’t take into account the underlying cause of the problem – often poor posture – and seek to mask the symptoms. Painkillers and injections are both examples of masking the true underlying problem, and don’t take into consideration the patients spinal alignment, which may continue to cause an issue that gets progressively worse over time. At The Mayfair Clinic, our process begins at the initial consultation. A thorough examination, followed by X-rays if required allow us to create a full picture and analytical view of your spine. We look at the angles of your spine, as even a small deviation from normal for a spine angle can cause the spine to degenerate faster and cause problems later in life. You can learn more about how the angles in your spine can be changed on our YouTube video here.

So if you’re suffering with back pain that is exacerbated by coughing or sneezing, and it’s pain that has been bothering you for more than just a few days – it’s worthwhile seeing a professional who can assess your back. We’re based just a couple of minutes walk from Oxford Circus Station in Central London, and offer an examination complete with X-ray imaging if necessary and treatment on the first visit. Call us today to arrange your first visit on 0203 947 3222 or email us at info@themayfairclinic.com to discuss your case.

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