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A 16-year-old member asked:

i have a herniated disk in my lower back. why does it hurt so much when i cough or sneeze?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Patrick Melder
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 27 years experience
Stretch: The sneeze is causing a localized vibration/trauma which causes the spine to shift and impinge upon the nerve rootlets..
Dr. Stan Lee
Dr. Stan Lee answered
Orthopedic Spine Surgery 23 years experience
More pressure: Coughing, sneezing, or any other activity that causes one to strain or bear down increases the pressure in the abdomen, resulting in increased pressure inside of the disks of the spine. With a pinched nerve from a herniated disk, this causes the herniation to bulge a bit more, putting more pressure on the pinched nerve, resulting in increased pain.

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Last updated Feb 18, 2020
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