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My Back Hurts When I Breathe – 8 Reasons For Your Discomfort

Feb 28, 2022 | Back hurts when i breathe, Blog

If you suffer from backache while breathing, you must wonder that your lungs are anatomically located in front – the chest area, so “why my back hurts when I breathe.” If we dig in a little deeper in the lung structure, there is a dedicated place and space for it to expand and relax – the chest cavity. However, you must know that the entire area connects with the muscles present at the back and spinal nerves.

If you feel lung pain in the back while breathing, there is mostly an underlying condition connected to it. In this blog, we have discussed the possible reasons why your back hurts when you breathe.

Physiological Triggers

Sometimes breathing itself is not a trigger, but there is an underlying condition creating troubles, a few of which are divided into 3 broad categories:

Chronic or Acute Conditions

Injury, a slipped disk, or heartburn; all can cause severe back pain when you breathe; with that, you may face chest tightening and shortness of breath, after treating the underlying condition, the backache while breathing goes away in some cases.

Physical Changes – Harness or braces

Some patients, after an accident, require physiotherapy using harnesses or braces; this addition can make breathing difficult and lead to consequent back pain. These treatments are pretty uncommon and go away when the aiding device is taken off.

Sleeping Position

Misaligned sleeping position is one of the reasons why unwarranted pressure is put on the thoracic region, causing back pain when breathing. Rarely, anxiety or panic attacks also contribute towards breathing difficulties and back pain.

Your pulmonologist will suggest changing the position and some relaxation techniques for better sleep in such a case scenario.

Other Possible Triggers

Other than physiological issues, here are some other risks that may trigger back pain when you breathe:


Obese individuals have an extra layer around the neck, abdomen, and backside that puts pressure on the muscles and nerves, causing pain while breathing.

Lung cancer

If you have lung cancer, it can be the main reason why your back hurts when you breathe. The tumor growth inside the lungs presses on the wall, causing pain and this happens when you breathe, eat, talk or laugh.

Heart Attack

Sometimes during a heart attack episode, the pain radiates from the front to back with symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue, etc. The main symptom is excessive sweating; reach out to your doctor if you encounter these bodily changes immediately.


Extra pressure on the spine compresses the nerves leaving less space for lung expansion. Additionally, the spine can also deform in this condition, making the ribs poke into the lungs or other organs.

Active Injury

Bruised lung or ribs fracture can cause back pain when you breathe, especially if the injury is near the abdominal area. Surgery may be one way to alleviate pain.


It is an infection that inflames the lung walls and fills them up with fluid which causes breathing difficulties. The symptoms range from mild to severe. After careful examination and proper diagnosis, the root cause is killed via medications.


Lung pain in the back when you breathe is a condition that destroys the quality of life and makes mundane – routine tasks difficult. If you are looking for treatment options, head to the best pulmonologist in Tomball at Pulmonary Medical Consultants for a checkup. Call 281 357 1300 for more information.


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