Why Does My Back Hurt When I Breathe?

Why Does My Back Hurt When I Breathe?

When you breathe in, the diaphragm muscle contracts and moves downward, expanding your chest cavity and filling your lungs with air.  This breathing mechanism also recruits your abdominal muscles and the muscles between your ribs to help move your diaphragm when you exhale and inhale.

The human body is so efficient that all these muscles contract and expand seamlessly without affecting other functions.  However, some people still notice the process.  Why do some people sometimes feel a sharp pain in their back when breathing?

The Connection Between Back Pain and Breathing

Ideally, breathing shouldn’t cause you any kind of discomfort.  But since the rib cage is connected directly to your spine, any problems in the thoracic area could be affected by the rib cage’s expansion and contraction.  If you have been wondering why my back hurts when I breathe, you likely have an underlying condition that’s causing the pain.

The following are some of the reasons why you may be feeling a sharp pain in the back when breathing;

1. Obesity

Your body can only handle a certain amount of weight.  If you are obese, all the extra weight places a ton of strain on your back and joints.  Taking full, deep breathes may be uncomfortable or downright painful if you are severely overweight. 

Getting onto an exercise program and adopting a calorie-restricted diet can help you shed the extra weight and ease the pressure on your body.  Make sure you speak to a doctor before embarking on a weight loss journey.

2. Scoliosis

This condition causes the spine to curve sideways.  In severe cases, the curvature of the spine can be so extreme that it places a lot of pressure on the lungs and makes it difficult or even painful to breathe.  The condition usually affects young teenagers, but it can also occur in people of every age.  Common symptoms include shortness of breath, back pain, numbness and weakness in the hands and feet, and difficulty walking. 

3. Heart Attack

Another answer to your query on “why my back hurts when I breathe” may be an imminent heart attack.  This happens when the flow of blood to your heart’s muscles is stopped and can be accompanied by pain in the chest, jaw, and arms, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting.  You may also feel lightheaded, as well as a feeling of fullness or pressure in your chest.

Reach out to an emergency service immediately if you have symptoms that may point to a heart attack. 

4. Lung Cancer

Sometimes lung cancer manifests as chest pain that becomes more acute when you breathe or cough.  The tumor may press against the nerves in your spine and cause back pain when you breathe. You may also feel pain in your back or hips if cancer spreads to other organs. Other symptoms of lung cancer include shortness of breath, wheezing, difficulty swallowing, and frequent respiratory infections.  

Contact Prestige ER

Many doctors have heard statements like when I breathe in, my back hurts, or my back hurts when I breathe.  This is usually caused by an underlying condition.  Reach out to Prestige ER if you feel pain in your back, and we will determine the reason and help you find a suitable treatment option.  Contact us today.