How to Deal With Pain in Back when Breathing

For some individual who have aching back, the pain is implied when they breathe deeply. For many people who have dealt with back pain, they claim that this one of the worst forms of back pain since the pain is intense with every breathe take. The discomfort can range from a dull ache to a pronounce pain.

Are you experience pain in your back when breathing? In most cases, such pain in the back when breathing is a sign of aching back muscles though it can as well be a symptom of a less typical pain issue.

The upper back muscles work closely with chest muscles that move when we breathe. The lower back muscles on the other hand work with the diaphragm muscle and abdominal muscles and well as those in the lower parts of the chest that are also used when breathing. It is a tight-knit association that is linked to why people with back aches will experience pain when breathing.

Why You Experience Pain in Back when Breathing

If you experience pain in the upper back when breathing in, it could be due to a sprained rib where the rib is attached to the spine. The lungs will expand and contract when we breathe in and out, regularly pressing against the ribs. Therefore, the ribs should be healthy and pliable enough to ensure breathing goes unabated for the support of other bodily functions.

Strained ribs have a which to a protective clench when the rib’s head rubs against the side of the disc. As a result, the section where the rib attaches to the spine fails to have a coordinated function leading to issues with the function of the chest, particularly when breathing. In the long run, the clenching causes severe back pains as well as pains in the chest cavity when breathing.

Causes of Pain in Back when Breathing

1. Injury

Injuries to the chect can lead to the pain felt when breathing. A broken rib will not hinder the proper function of the chest wall during respiration, but small fragments of the broken rib will rub against the wall and this will be painful. Bruised or strained chest muscles can also have a similar pain.

2. Pleuritis

Pleurisy, a condition where the lungs’ lining (pleura) swells. Inflamed pleura may be a reason for the pain experienced when breathing or coughing. Pleurisy is often caused by a bacterial or viral infection that spreads from the outer walls of the lungs into the inner lining. People suffering from pleuritic can also be caused by other things.

3. Lung Infection

If may be hard to breathe if you have a lung infection. For instance, pneumonia can cause you to have fever symptoms and shortness of breath and things only get worse as longer the symptoms persist making breathing a tedious and painful process. The repeated coughing due to the pneumonia or even a chest infection can strain a rib and this will add to the complications that cause you to experience pain in your back when breathing.

4. Blood Clots

A blood clot (pulmonary embolism) in your lungs can be the reason for the shortness of breath and this can be a painful experience if severe.

5. Cardiac Conditions

The heart is surrounded by pericardium, a layer of tissue that joins to the out linings of the lungs. Inflammation of this tissue can extend to the lungs and this can lead to pain when breathing.

6. Tension Myositis Syndrome

It is a condition that occurs when chest muscles do not get oxygen and will be a reason for the pain as they move when breathing.

7. Obese or Overweight

Issues of body weight are also linked to pain in the back when breathing especially for overweight and obese people. The excess weight can exert high stress or strain on the spine as well as clog the airway causing shortness of breath.

How to Naturally Treat Back Pain while Breathing

Get Up and Moving

In as much as the body should get ample rest, avoid laying on your back for long hours. Try to stay active, engage in light activity and move often. Only consider taking a rest if the pain is unbearable, but do a few hours and then get up and become active.

Belly Breathing

When you engage in belly breathing, the diaphragm moves downwards and surrounding abdominal muscles get in contact with the diaphragm pushing it towards the spine and this creates an eccentric contraction (which is mild). As a result, pressure is created that is directed to the front of the spine frustrating the pressure directed to the back of the spine. The chest movement that happens when breathing only exasperates the pain. As such, switching to belly breathing can help you avoid the pain you experience as you breathe.

Hot and Cold Compresses

Placing an ice pack on an injured area of the body can help with relieving the pain, so placing one on the back can help with the pain especially if you have an injury. The cold ice can lower the inflammation. Do this for around two days. On the third day, place something hot compressing it on the same area to stimulate the flow of blood and help with the healing process.

Minimize Pressure on the Back

Avoid placing unnecessary pressure on your back when doing various actions such as bending to pick an item. Instead bend your knees so that you lower the distance required to pick up the item.

Warnings & Precautions

It is prudent to consider a medical evaluation from a doctor if the pain is associated with various unexplained cause. In some instances, emergency medical care will be necessary if there are any worrying signs and symptoms that are indication of potentially life-threatening issue. The sign and symptoms include

  • Clammy skin
  • Confusion
  • Increased exertion
  • Fainting
  • Fever
  • Agitation
  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • A racing heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Inflammation of the legs
  • Pain in the chest that spreads to the shoulders, jaw, neck as well as the back and abdomen.


It is possible to correct back pain experienced when breathing by just resting enough, exercising, and physical therapy. Cases of pain in the back when breathing should never be ignored. Tracking the symptoms and listening to the body is vital to noting the condition early. It is advisable to seek medical attention if the pain persist. The sooner you take the right measures the sooner you will breathe without having to worry about painful experiences.

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