How to Survive Cold and Flu Season with Low Back Pain
Ah Chew If that sneeze hurt your low back, then you have found the right place to learn more about surviving cold and flu season with low back pain. Coughing and sneezing can really hurt. A week of doing either one can be agonizing. Why does it hurt the low back so much when the upper respiratory system is irritated? And what are some things that you can do to survive a cold or flu with less pain?
That sudden cough, sneeze or laugh (for that matter) does one thing to a lumbar disc that can cause a sudden increase in pain. Research has shown that the mere acting of coughing, sneezing or laughing increases the amount of pressure in the lumbar disc. If the disc is already torn, bulged or herniated, the act of coughing or sneezing can be a very painful experience. And Lord have mercy if the coughing or sneezing happens more than once. In fact, someone might be minding his/her own business enjoying a pain-free life when suddenly an innocent sneeze leads to months of debilitating low back pain.
Life with back pain can be unfair. But with a certain amount of know-how and knowledge, you can be smarter than your problem. When you feel a sneeze coming on, brace yourself against the nearest wall, chair, table or person. By increasing your base of support, you can help your low back survive the sudden increase in pressure. If you tend to be a sneezy-type, try using an anti-histamine to relieve the tendency to sneeze. Don’t let innocent sneezes wreck havoc on your low back.
Coughing is no laughing matter either. Have you ever coughed so much you think your lungs are going to explode? Imagine what the lumbar disc feels like during those bouts of coughing, it probably feels like it is going to explode too. If you hug a pillow or put your back up against a wall while coughing, this could help you survive to cough another day. But better yet, go to the pharmacy and get some cough suppressants. Even if you need a prescription to find one that works for you, the effort is worth it. Less pain is always worth the effort.
Having a cold or the flu is never fun, especially when you already have low back pain. Compounding the problem is the occasional sneeze or the bouts of coughing that can increase the low back pain into an exploding pain. Some of that misery can be avoided by increasing the support for your back or suppressing the irritability of the respiratory tract altogether. Your cold or flu is just a temporary setback that you can survive even if you have low back pain.
Christina Lasich, M.D., wrote about chronic pain and osteoarthritis for HealthCentral. She is physiatrist in Grass Valley, California. She specializes in pain management and spine rehabilitation.