Neck pain while coughing is a result of the spine being in an unhealthy position. When you’re sick and you can’t get comfortable, you tend to move around more than normal, which can be especially problematic when your neck is already weakened. This can lead to strained muscles, pinched nerves, and even herniated discs or muscle tears.
Reasons For Neck Pain When Coughing
You may also experience neck pain during or after coughing if you are suffering from a respiratory condition like asthma or COPD that causes you to cough and when the air that gets stuck in your lungs irritates them. The muscles around your ribcage will tighten up in order to prevent any further irritation and this can cause some pain because it’s easier for nerve endings to send signals to the brain when muscles are in tension.
If you have terrible neck pain while coughing, try lying down on your back with a pillow under your knees. This helps to redistribute the weight of your upper torso and takes the pressure off of your spine, making it easier for you to relax and breathe normally. If this doesn’t help, try getting up and walking around for a little bit. A simple change of position can help relieve some of the pressure caused by coughing.
The main 3 reasons are:
1. Prolonged time of coughing: Extended period of coughing can put a strain on the muscles of the neck and shoulders. When you are deeply involved in a coughing fit, you may find yourself holding your breath and tensing the muscles in the neck and shoulder area. This can lead to pain after the episode is over.
2. Position of the head during cough: It is not just the action of coughing that can cause pain in the neck, but also how you position your head during a cough. If you have noticed, when you cough, you automatically bend forward as if to avoid something hitting your face. This bending forward is quite unnatural and can cause tension in the muscles around your neck, resulting in pain when the spasm subsides.
3. Poor posture: Poor posture while sleeping or working can also cause neck pain when coughing. Sitting with an incorrect posture for long periods can put stress on the muscles around your neck, leading to cramps and tightness.
How to treat neck pain
Here are some tips on how to treat neck pain when coughing:
🟢Don’t smoke or consume alcohol as both can worsen your symptoms.
🟢Ask someone else to help you cough if it’s too painful for you to do so on your own. This will reduce the force of each cough and lessen your pain.
🟢Try taking deep breaths with slow exhales while lying down, sitting up, or standing up. This will help drain mucus from your airways while reducing pressure in your chest caused by forceful coughing or deep breaths.
🟢Try a hot shower to loosen up tight muscles in your neck and chest area before bedtime so that they don’t get aggravated when lying down flat during sleep time.
How to prevent neck pain
The good news is that there are several ways to prevent your neck from straining when you cough. Keep reading for four strategies that will help keep your neck muscles from getting sore during a coughing fit.
✔️ Sit up straight
✔️ Take deep breaths
✔️ Do not lean forward when coughing
✔️ Use the right pillow
When to see a doctor for neck pain
If your neck pain is severe or becomes worse, you should see your doctor. The doctor will examine your necks and possibly order imaging tests such as X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
The doctor may recommend exercises to help relieve cervical spine strain. He or she may also recommend physical therapy and other treatments.
In some cases, surgery may be needed to alleviate symptoms of cervical spine disease.
How to manage neck pain and coughing
Here are some tips to help manage your neck pain:
🟢 Apply heat or ice to your neck as needed.
🟢 Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). Check with your doctor before taking aspirin since this drug can increase the risk of bleeding in people who have other health problems such as ulcers or high blood pressure.
🟢 Avoid activities that aggravate your condition like bending over while you’re brushing your teeth or looking down at a book while reading in bed at night; these types of movements can strain muscles around the cervical spine (neck).
🟢 Try gentle stretching exercises for your upper back, shoulders, and arms; avoid jolting movements that could cause more pain or worsen your condition.
How to live with neck pain and coughing
There are some simple ways that you can reduce your risk of developing neck pain:
Get regular exercise. Exercising three times per week has been shown in multiple studies to reduce the risk of developing back and neck pain.
Make sure your chair fits properly. The right chair will support your back and keep you comfortable while sitting at work. If your chair isn’t adjustable, consider investing in an ergonomic chair that can accommodate different heights and sizes.
Make sure your monitor is at eye level so that you’re not straining your neck every time you look at it or type on a keyboard.
Get enough sleep — about 7 hours per night — which helps maintain strong muscles and ligaments throughout the body, including those in the neck area.
If you want to know how to stop neck pain when coughing, don’t feel alone. There are many people who spend a great deal of time hunched over a computer or hunched while working at their desk.
As this posture evolves over time, the spine and surrounding muscles can begin to change, leading to pinched nerves and other conditions. Some simple stretches and the right treatment plan can help you beat your cough and neck pain and prevent re-injury.
Dr. Edward Zelman
Dr. Edward Zelman works as a Neurologist with the expertise of over 15 years, helping more than thousands to get back in complete health through his research-proven treatments. He earned his Masters from Harvard University and completed his Ph.D. from Columbia University. Dr. Edward Zelman is one of the notable names in the medical industry for his work in pain management, chronic disorder, and so on. He is also a former faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At present, Dr. Edward Zelman is researching safe and effective natural remedies that can restore as well as maintain the youthful functioning of the body.
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