Tuesday, January 04, 2011 denise, Community Member, asks

Q: severe lower back pain when sneezing or coughing

I am a 46-year-old female who has osteoporosis. I have started having severe pain in my lower spine when I cough or sneeze. What could be wrong? 

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Answers (1)
1/ 5/11 10:39pm

Coughing, laughing and sneezing cause an increased amount of pressure in the spinal discs. If a disc is herniated or torn, then the increased, sudden pressure will cause severe back pain. One strategy is to lean up against the wall or squeeze against a pillow to add increased support while coughing, laughing and sneezing.

 Dr. Christina Lasich, MD


Here are some other links you might help you as you're dealing with your conditions:

How to Avoid Back and Neck Pain

Four Good Reasons to Have Spinal Surgery

denise, Community Member
1/ 6/11 6:32pm

hi, i already have osteoporosis in my lower spine. For the past few months i have chronic pain in my hip ans wrists i was wondering could i now have it in these bones also?I have not taken HRT for over 10yrs now as my body didnt agree with it. Somedays i cannot move my back or any part of my body and i feel crippled with it. I feel my gp has not helped me in the past, do you recommend anything? thankyou.

1/ 6/11 9:54pm

If you are known to have osteoporosis, then your pain could also be caused by a vertebral body fracture because the same flexion, loading forces from coughing, laughing, sneezing can not only cause disc pain but also bone pain. An x-ray would be a most helpful aid for making a diagnosis and  screening for a fracture.


Pain from osteoporosis can be treated in many different ways. If your GP is not helping you, then find someone who will.


Dr. Christina Lasich, MD

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By denise, Community Member— Last Modified: 07/20/14, First Published: 01/04/11