Ever Feel Like Sharp Pain in Back when Breathing Deeply? Here’s Why

sharp pain in back when breathing deeply

Sharp pain in back when breathing is also a sign of an overload pressure in the bronchial vessels and possibilities of an inflammation.

It is not a fun experienced to have a sharp pain in back when breathing, especially if the symptoms are accompanied by sneeze and coughs, “heavy-sensation” on the chest, pain in the shoulder blade, or spine.

In this case, a doctor’s visit is strongly recommended in order to clarify the health situation and to be able to take measures against the pain symptoms in a proper way.


Why does it hurt to breathe deeply?

There can be many reasons for respiratory problem due to a sharp pain in the back when breathing. Most people feel pain in the left side of their back when breathing in. While others feel in the upper-middle of the back, the right side of the back, or below the shoulder blades.

Although not all of them are self-inflicted or indicate a serious disease, however, it is fundamentally important to obtain a medical diagnosis.

The following are main causes of sharp pain in back when breathing such as:

  • Strained ribs

When we inhale, the ribs inflates and lifting up. And when we exhale, it deflates and moving down and releases the pressure. If the ribs are strained due to being tired or injury, the gas from inflating lungs press the wounded part of the upper back so it generates pain.

  • Flu infections

Many people probably know the stinging pain could arise when a cold or flu hits the lungs. In different cases, when a cough associated with bronchial infections, many sufferers have the feeling that their chests would fill with pain.

For particular severe colds, the back pain can also occur during breathing and radiate to the shoulder blades or the back muscles. If this occurs, the more you feel the pain in the back, immediately see a doctor.

  • Accidents and other injuries

Our respiration system is embedded in a corpus of ribs, muscles, and vertebrae. These stabilize the posture on the body and allow us to stand upright.

On the other hand, they also provide sufficient protection for the internal organs. In other words, if the chest or back is affected by fractures or injuries in its protective function, it may cause sharp pain in back when breathing deeply.

Damage to the shoulder blades especially in the sensitive nerve vessels, which are located between the vertebrae of the chest and back, is also a trigger for the back pain during exhalation or inhalation.

  • Pleurisy inflammation

Similar to the thorax and the spine, the ribs are responsible for the protection of the lungs from pain and injuries. There is a thin layer of pleura, which is forms the inner lining of the chest and prevents the lungs from rubbing on to the ribs during exhalation and inhalation.

sharp pain in back when breathing 265article - image source Google

In the case of pleurisy inflammation, the functionality of this dermal protective skin is enormously impaired. This means that if accompanied by a dry cough and fever, can also cause stabbing back pain while breathing. The pain actually sharper when inhaling than exhaling.

  • Tension in the back muscles

An unhealthy posture, lack of exercise or hard physical work, can be the causes of back muscles tension. If there is no treatment, it is not only lead to irreparable damage to the posture but also trigger a sharp back pain while breathing.

In the neck or around the shoulder blades there are trapped sections of the back muscles, vessels and nerves that responsible for breathing. That is why this area should be free from tension.

  • Disease related to deformations of the spine

Occasionally, back pain during breathing can be attributed to anatomical deviations in the structure of the vertebrae. Especially diseases such as scoliosis are among the most common causes of respiratory problems.

If they were not triggered by trauma or a precondition, the diseases are usually based on genetic disposition, which favors postural damage and thus also respiratory problems, which provide for pain in the back.

Other diseases that may cause back pain during the respiratory process are autoimmune diseases such as myositis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Whereas in myositis, chronic inflammatory reactions occur in the area of skeletal musculature, which results in a painful undersupply of the muscles with oxygen. In RA diseases often also the scapula, bones, and joints are affected by the pain symptoms. In both cases, even the slightest breathing movements can lead to pain.


What is the therapy for back pain caused by breathing?

Of course, there is no magic bullet for relieving back pain when breathing. But, with appropriate therapeutic approaches that based on the treatment of individual causes of the sufferer, could be the only solution. Therefore, a professional diagnosis by the responsible medical doctor plays a decisive role.

Only when the reasons for the emergence of the back pain are clarified, one of the following treatment options is promising, which is:

Medical Pain Treatment

Flu infections, pleurisy inflammation, but also autoimmune diseases and pathological spinal deformations, which cause problems during breathing, can be relieved with a good grip on suitable medicines.
In this context, however, it is to be distinguished between a pain relieving and a disease healing therapy through medications.

Physiotherapy Pain Treatment

In case of respiratory problems caused by accidental fractures or tensions, by doing stretching and exercises, relaxation, or movement therapies are generally best. In many cases, massage, tension-releasing baths, and physiotherapy can reliably eliminate posture problems and associated pain.

More tips for treating and preventing back pain while breathing

If you have intolerable pain in your back due to inhaling or exhaling, consult a doctor immediately to prevent any pulmonary or pleura inflammation from becoming a chronic burden on your bronchus.

Try to allow your lungs to breathe painlessly through appropriate lifestyles. This includes not only a conscious posture, avoid slouching, stay active and the avoidance of flu viruses.

The consumption of cigarettes, as well as the permanent stay in polluted air conditions, can severely impair the pain-freeness of the respiration system.

Suitable herbs to strengthen your airways are eucalyptus, spruce, chamomile, pine, sage, and thyme. Especially during the cold season, the targeted use of these medicinal plants in the form of tea, or baths can protect against infections and defensive weaknesses of the lungs.


If you notice that you are suffering from sharp pain in back when breathing deeply, the causes may vary. For this reason, it is important that you consult a doctor as soon as possible in such a situation. Especially when you have a lungs disease history.

However, if only the back muscles are tense due to soreness and work, this can usually be solved by relaxing and stretching. But keep in mind that you should not underestimate the risk of back pain when inhaling deeply.