My Back Hurts When I’m Breathing – What’s Causing Your Pain?

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

back hurts when breathing

Breathing is essential to life, so it can be a major problem if you’re experiencing chest and back pain with each breath. Sometimes the pain is caused by a minor strain, while other times it could be a sign of a major medical issue. Today, we’re going to examine some of the reasons why you’re experiencing back pain when breathing.

“Hurts With Each Breath”

Back pain with each breath can be scary, especially if you can’t come up with a reason why the pain may be occurring. In general, back pain while breathing is caused by a rib injury, muscle sprain or pinched nerve. These injuries are common with physical sports. If you’ve been tackled in football, slid headfirst in baseball, been checked in hockey or taken a charge in basketball, the trauma to your chest may be causing your back pain when you breath. Oftentimes this type of pain will resolve on its own over the course of a few days.

Another common cause of back pain while breathing is high-impact trauma, most common during an automobile accident. Even though your seatbelt and airbag are designed to protect your chest during a crash, you’re still going to exert quite the force on these protective objects during a high-speed crash. Bruised or cracked ribs are quite common when airbags deploy during an accident. Any injury to the backside of your ribcage will feel like back pain.

Before we continue, it’s worth noting that there is a clear distinction between “back pain while breathing” and “pain causing shortness of breath.” Back pain while breathing causes pain with each breath, but it shouldn’t leave you struggling to breath. If chest or back pain is making it hard to breath, get to a doctor as soon as possible. It could be the sign of a heart attack or another major medical issue.

Resolving Back Pain While Breathing

As we noted above, since back pain while breathing is generally caused by a rib injury or muscle strain, rest is almost always the preferred option. Your doctor may also prescribe painkillers or NSAIDs to help you cope with the discomfort each breath brings. Sometimes a rib injury is the result of coughing heavily, which could be caused by the flu or virus, so treating any illness is also important in preventing painful coughing bouts.

Lastly, if your pain while breathing is being caused by a pinched nerve, low-impact physical therapy or a visit to a chiropractor may do wonders. Obviously you should opt for physical therapy exercises that don’t leave you gasping for air, and many find yoga to be a helpful option. Chiropractic care can also free the pinched nerve and help resolve pain.

In the end, if you are dealing with pain or discomfort while breathing, and it’s not making it difficult to breath, consider taking it easy for a few days. If pain still exists, contact a back specialist in your area.

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