4 doctors weighed in:

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

4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Patrick Melder
ENT - Head & Neck Surgery
2 doctors agree

In brief: Stretch

The sneeze is causing a localized vibration/trauma which causes the spine to shift and impinge upon the nerve rootlets.
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In brief: Stretch

The sneeze is causing a localized vibration/trauma which causes the spine to shift and impinge upon the nerve rootlets.
.
Thank
Dr. Stan Lee
Orthopedic Surgery - Spine

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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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Dr. Aaron Milstone
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