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Coughing and sneezing making sciatica pain worse

Hi there, I am a student doing a case study on sciatica. I understand that coughing and sneezing makes sciatica pain worsen, I have been having a hard time finding out why this is. All of the resources I have checked never explain why, they just list it as a factor to the pain. I was hoping someone might be able to explain why this is.


  • I cringed when i had to sneeze before spine surgery

    Now post op 8 weeks its a breeze

    But we all know what you mean

  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Coughing/sneezing/laughing all increase my sciatic pain. I think it's because those actions tense/jerk already exerted muscles.
    Compressed Discs/DDD - L2/L3, L3/L4
    Major Herniation - L4/L5
    Bulging Disc - L5/S1
    "no healthy 24 year old's back should look like this without a major trauma"
    MicroDisc L4/L5 Nov 7, 2013
  • Mama-SchueMMama-Schue Posts: 337
    edited 10/21/2013 - 5:33 PM
    I know that when I would feel a sneeze coming on I would pull my knee of my affected leg to my chest. For some reason the pain would be less. But if I wasn't able to do that I would try a holler ( sometimes swear) at the same time I sneezed. Trying to relieve the pain with a scream. My chiropractor told me to stand with my back against a wall so that you could keep the spine straight. My guess is the nerve would get compressed more when you sneeze because your body flings forward and back causing your herniation to pinch the nerve more. I don't know I'm not a doctor. All I know is sneezing was the worst. Coughing and laughing never bothered me.

    L4-L5 Herniated 02-02-2013 (Slipped on Ice)
    L4-L5 MicroD 08-07-2013, Reherniated 10-21-2013
    L4-L5 MicroD Revision 10-07-2013, Reherniated 10-17-2013
    L4-L5 PLIF/TLIF 10-02-2013
    Released From Surgeon & All Restrictions 03-06-2014
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