What can cause back pain while breathing?

Breathing should be so easy you don’t even think about it- literally. If you are experiencing back pain with your breath, this is difficult to do. If back pain occurs when a person breathes, it can mean there is an underlying medical condition that should be addressed. In some cases the pain is sharp, and makes going about your daily activities nearly impossible. This type of pain can be the result of many possible causes, ranging from inflammation or infection of the chest to spinal curvature and lung cancer. Of course, while words like “lung cancer” are scary, they are the extreme cases and not the typical diagnosis. Let’s look at some of the most common reasons for feeling pain in your back while breathing:

#1 Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine. In some people, the spine can become so curved that it places extra pressure on the lungs, making breathing painful. This may be happening to you. If you have Scoliosis, you may be experiencing back pain, weakness, and numbness in the hands and feet, uneven shoulders, difficulty standing up straight, problems walking, and shortness of breath. The treatment for Scoliosis depends on how curved your spine is. For people with mild-to-moderate curvature, time spent with the Physical Therapist will do wonders!

#2 Kyphosis

While Scoliosis occurs when a person’s spine is curved to the side, Kyphosis is a condition that causes the spine to curve forward. This leads to a hunched posture. This curvature can develop following a spinal injury or as a result of aging. It often causes back pain, swelling, and balance issues. Symptoms typically get worse over time and then lead to difficulty breathing. Treatment for Kyphosis can involve attending physical therapy and wearing a brace. Your Physical Therapist will show you stretches and exercises to help your posture and therefore your breathing.

#3 Obesity

Any time excess weight is placed on your spine and organs, your body begins to feel some pain. This is because the weight places extra pressure on your back, joints, and other parts of the body. Some people with obesity find it uncomfortable or even painful to take full, deep breaths. Losing weight in a healthy manner that involves a calorie-restricted diet and regular exercise often helps to alleviate back pain and difficulty breathing. If you find this hard to manage on your own, a Physical Therapist will go over great exercises you can do at home as well as educate you as to healthy eating choices you should be making.

Back pain while breathing may be a sign of a serious underlying condition, so it is important not to ignore the symptom. Your body is trying to get your attention! For those in the Columbia, MD area, BEAT Physical Therapy will help you manage or solve these conditions. Whether your pain is coming from Scoliosis, Kyphosis, or excess weight- we can help! We make it easy to schedule a physical therapy appointment online. If you prefer, you can also call us at (410) 884-0003. Difficult pain while you breathe, cannot and should not be your “normal.” When you visit us, it won’t be!

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