Why Does it Hurt When I Sneeze?

Does it hurt when you sneeze? This is not good timing if you recently caught a cold. Aside from trying to figure out when you’re sick in the first place, back pain caused by sneezing may be boggling your mind. Can sneezing cause back pain? It can! However, typically there is some form of existing stress in the body that also contributed to the pain. As professional chiropractors based near San Diego CA, we treat people with a variety of injuries. Sudden movements packed with physical force (like a sneeze) can amplify existing pain. If it hurts when you sneeze, the comprehensive chiropractic guide will help provide you with clarity!

Existing Back Pain/Injury

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Do you have an existing injury that has been lingering for months? This can contribute to the harsh pain you’re experiencing when you sneeze. Think about it. Sneezing involved breathing in a large amount of air and then forcing it out with a huge push. If you have a prior back injury, a sneeze can aggravate and agitate it. Many people suffer from upper back pain. Since a sneeze causes you to jolt your head forward, a huge amount of pressure is placed on your neck and shoulders. One bad sneeze can be all it takes to send a streak of pain throughout your spine and back.

“But I didn’t think I had a major back injury!?”

Maybe you didn’t. A powerful sneeze can still aggravate an area that is ‘under stress’, leading to pain and potential injury. For example, if your muscles have felt tight that past few weeks, a fast-moving sneeze can cause your body to move at such a quick pace that your tweak something. You can experience severe muscle pain from this. So, since you can’t necessarily prevent a sneeze… what should you do?

For immediate pain relief, these two noninvasive products are highly recommended to combat painful sneezes:

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Noninvasive Pain Relief Option 1

Salonpas Pain Relieving Patch: soothing icy-hot patches that provide 8 full hours of pain relief.

Noninvasive Pain Relief Option 2

Arnica: a homeopathic medicine for instant pain relief. Imagine a natural version of Advil that provides relief from painful sneezes! We – as Doctors – take this ourselves if we are in serious pain and highly recommend it.

The most important thing is to keep your body as healthy as possible. The strong force of a sneeze can pass through you if your body isn’t as tight or bound up. Try stretching several times throughout the day to keep your body loose. Light exercises will help you maintain your strength. Hydrate throughout the day so that your muscles maintain proper health. Lastly, visit a chiropractor to help correct misalignments in your spine and joints.

The Reason It Hurts When You Sneeze

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A sneeze is not meant to be painful! Unfortunately, sometimes it is. What are the top reasons that sneezes hurt? Typically, there is something else going on in the body. Here are common pre-existing conditions that people have before sneezing that contribute to it hurting so badly.

Herniated Disc

Does your spinal cord ever feel squished? Herniated discs may be the culprit. Your spinal cord is made up of several vertebrae all stacked on top of each other. There is a softer material that serves as a buffer between each vertebra and disc. When that spongy material becomes aggravated, it can push out from in between the discs. The pain from this can range from minor to severe depending on how bad it is.

An unexpected sneeze can reactivate the pain you’re already subliminally experiencing from a herniated disc. If the herniated disc is minor, you may not even know that it’s injured. A forceful sneeze is not shy – it will let you know what’s going on in your body. To prevent a painful sneeze from making this happen, consider seeing a chiropractor near you. Chiropractors specialize in keeping the spine healthy. They can identify any misalignments or herniated discs throughout the spinal cord. You can receive chiropractic adjustments, which can help you recover from a herniated disc.


Ah, yes. The longest nerve in your entire body – the sciatica nerve. It runs down your back and pelvis, eventually threading into both legs. Safe to say, your sciatica covers some ground within your body! That’s why it’s on our list of reasons that it can hurt when you sneeze. Many of our physical actions affect and use our sciatica. If your sciatica is already under stress and in pain, sneezing is not going to help.

A powerful sneeze will can disrupt your body and reignite the pain you were experiencing in your sciatica. If you have different muscle or nerve strains throughout your body, sneezing can cause pain to arise. Since the sciatica is such a huge nerve that runs throughout the body, it’s vital that we address injuries and concerns surrounding it. You can receive chiropractic treatment for sciatica to help you experience pain relief. This will prepare you for the overwhelming sneezes to come.

Other Areas That Can Hurt When You Sneeze

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When a strong sneeze rolls through your body, no injury is safe! Prepare your body for a launch of energy that will rush through and shake/rattle/roll your entire being. Ok, that was dramatic…

Abdomen Pain From Sneezing

Many people complain about experiencing abdomen pain from sneezing. Remember, the root cause of the pain is not the sneeze. There is something going on underneath the surface that needs to be addressed. There are dozens of injuries and ailments that contribute to pain from sneezing.

Abdomen pain can be a result of organ stress. For example, if your kidneys are in pain, that could affect your sides, abs, and lower back. Sneezing can trigger this pain because we tense up our abdomen muscles during this event. Brace yourself for impact when you sense a large sneeze approaching! Your abs will feel the energy rush through you. If your abs are already in pain for some reason, a sneeze will remind you of that.

Lower Back Pain

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One of the most common areas of pain for humans – is lower back pain. This pain can come in small or large doses. Get relief fast!

The root cause of lower back pain varies depending on the circumstances. It could be a temporary issue or a chronic injury. Either way, go see your chiropractor to treat your back pain. It’s not worth walking around in pain. Especially if you get sick and start sneezing – your back is incredibly vulnerable. Nip your lower back pain in the bud by receiving chiropractic care.

For anyone struggling to perform daily activities because of severe lower back pain caused by sneezing, consider adding a back support belt to your repertoire. These

Avoid the Pain and Hurt of a Sneeze

If you’re experiencing pain from a sneeze, there is something up within your body. It could be an existing injury or something that happened recently. Any form of physical stress can become reactivated from a strong sneeze. For those who are wondering why it hurts when I sneeze, give us a call today. Click here to learn more about how a professional chiropractor can help provide you pain relief from sneezing. We can help heal your body, and also have high-quality tissues to go with that.

Worried about how much chiropractic care may cost? We hear you. Consider checking if your health savings account can cover the chiropractor. This is how many employees in the San Diego County area are covering part of their chiropractic care expenses.

If you are located in San Diego County and need relief from back pain, reach out to our team today at Twin Waves Wellness Center!

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