Q:

What causes back pain when you cough?

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Quick Answer

Back pain that is worse when there is coughing can be caused by a herniated disk, as stated by WebMD. A herniated disk occurs when factors, such as the aging process, an injury or strain, affect the disks that separate bones in the spinal column. These different factors can cause a disk to rupture or move out of place and affect nearby spinal nerves, leading to symptoms that include muscle weakness, numbness, tingling sensation and pain in the buttock and leg region.

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Full Answer

The lumbar, or lower back, region is usually affected by herniated disks. Besides coughing, other factors that can aggravate pain in the lower back are sneezing, bending the back or standing. If a person with a herniated disk coughs or sneezes, it can lead to pain that may radiate down the arm or leg, according to Mayo Clinic.

When pain in the lumbar region radiates out to other areas of the body, such as the arms or legs, the condition can require medical attention, notes Mayo Clinic. Treatment options for a disk herniation can include OTC pain reliever, prescribed medications such as codeine, muscle relaxants and cortisone shots. When a herniated disk causes nerve pain, then medications for this symptom are also possible.

Some treatments can also help, including the application of hot or cold compresses and back braces. When these treatment options fail to relieve the symptoms, then surgery may help patients with disk herniation.

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