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Victoria, Chiropractor
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 590
Experience:  25 years overall experience in health care from hospital-based intensive care to private practice
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Why does my body hurt when I sneeze?

Resolved Question:

Why does my body hurt after I sneeze?

Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Victoria replied 9 years ago.


I need a little more information in order to address your question.

Can you be more explicit about how your body hurts after you sneeze and how long it lasts and whether you have pain anyway, but it is just worse when you sneeze?

Does the same thing happen when you cough or strain to lift something heavy?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
It's only been happening when I sneeze. Once the sneeze is out my back, arms, and shoulders are in extreme pain for maybe 10 seconds and then it's over. This has been going on about a week since my sinuses started flaring up. It's the kind of pain you feel when u get a tetinus shot and it leaves your arm sore.
Expert:  Victoria replied 9 years ago.

When you sneeze, you generate a huge, temporary increase in pressure in the spinal canal that houses the spinal cord and nerve roots that exit the spine to go out to the rest of the body, as well as the pressure in the disc between the vertebra. I suspect the sinus problem led to sneezing and the sneezing caused one or more of the discs in the lower cervical spine (neck) to weaken such that the nucleus of the disc is bulging out or partially herniated through the annular fiber portion of the disc into the space in the bony canals through which the spinal cord and nerve roots traverse. This reduces the overall amount of extra space surrounding the nerves. Now when you sneeze and create tremendous pressures in conjunction with this reduction in the extra space, the nerves that go out to your arms and shoulders are momentarily irritated as the protruding portion of the disc protrudes even more under the increased, momentary pressure.

I know it all sounds very complicated, but basically you most likely have a weakened intervertebral disc at C6 (the 6th cervical vertebrae in your neck) that is aggravated by the pressures created when you sneeze. The net result is the nerve roots and probably to a lesser degree the spinal cord are momentarily irritated, creating pain that disipates as soon as the pressure insult passes. You do not want to avoid sneezing, if you have the urge, but you would like to not sneeze unnecessarily. By that I mean, if you have seasonal allergies, you might want to consider taking something like Claritin to control them and prevent sneezing. You also do not want to bend over when you sneeze. With the disc already weak, sneezing can further weaken it and a more unrelenting nerve problem can evolve.

If you have further questions, let me know. It was a pleasure working with you. Thank you.
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