Asthma And Back Pain


Asthma is a condition that affects the lungs and the respiratory system. Usually, it can be diagnosed during childhood, but it can also appear for the first time in adults. Unfortunately, a cure to fight asthma has not yet been discovered, however, there are treatments and home remedies that could help to relieve the symptoms of the condition. Asthma can be generally divided in two categories: 

  • Intermittent: Asthma that shows the symptoms occasionally
  • Persistent: The type you live with much of the time. Persistent asthma symptoms have three levels of severity, which are mild, moderate, and severe

But let’s have a look at what asthma is. 

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the lungs and the airways. Anyone can contract asthma from various causes at any age. It is a disease that cannot be cured and requires constant medical treatment. The common symptoms of this condition are:1

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Tight chest
  • Shortness of breath

When these symptoms get suddenly worse, it is known as an asthma attack. There are three complications that can happen during an asthma attack:

  • Bronchospasm: the airways become narrow due to which oxygen is impeded from flowing through the lungs
  • Inflammation: the airways get swollen and air cannot easily flow in or out of the lungs 
  • Mucus production: the attack leads to increased production of mucus that can clog the airways 


It is not certain why some people contract asthma and some others do not. However, below are some of the triggers that can cause an asthma attack:

  • Allergies
  • Environment: pollution, smokes, allergens or toxins
  • Genetics
  • Infections
  • Heightened emotions
  • Heavy exercise 

Asthma attacks can be unpredictable, and for this reason it is always advised to carry an inhaler with you. 

Causes of asthma related back pain

One of the painful consequences that can happen after an asthma attack can be back pain. People affected with asthma tend to cough more frequently than people who are not affected with the condition. The frequent and intense cough could strain spinal support muscles and cause possible disc herniation that can also lead to lower back pain. The reasons asthma causes back pain include:

  • The lungs are located inside the rib cage and in proximity to the spine. Asthma symptoms like coughing can directly affect the spine and cause back pain
  • A tight chest could put pressure on the diaphragm, which is connected to the spine and could cause back pain
  • Other chronic conditions like obesity or diabetes could worsen the symptoms of asthma and backache

Other causes of back pain

There can be many causes for back pain, although these are not always obvious. Various researchers shows that the most common causes could be:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor posture
  • Injuries or pulled muscles
  • Sciatica 
  • Herniated disc
  • Kidneys pain 

For some of these cases, it could be easy to help relieve the back pain. For example, for injuries and pulled muscles it is important to stretch, exercise, and to not overstress the back. In the case of poor posture, we should put an extra effort into sitting and walking straight, with the chest and shoulders out. Usually, these tips could help to ease the pain, if not and the pain lasts longer than two-three weeks, then it is best to seek medical advice. 

The link between asthma and lower back pain

The link between asthma and lower back pain is the spine. The reasons why asthma causes pain in the back are the same for the lower back as well. Due to frequent and intense coughs and other symptoms like hyperventilation, the lung-associated muscles undergo extra stress. The air struggles to flow through the narrowed and inflamed airways, straining the breathing muscles. This could strictly affect the spine, causing pain to the upper and lower part of the back . 

Symptoms of asthma related back pain

The symptoms of back pain related to asthma can be subjective. The pain is reported as a persistent pressure around the spine and shoulder areas due to the narrowed airways in constant trying to breathe oxygen. A severe asthma attack could stress the muscles of the back, resulting in acute pain. 

What asthma related back pain might feel like

In some cases, the feeling of the asthma-related back pain is severe and acute, like receiving lots of punches. Some other cases describe the feeling as painful as being stabbed, shot, nerves and muscles on fire, stiff back, and pulsing pain. 


Many ways are suggested to treat and relieve back pain. The most common treatments are: 

  • Exercise (light and frequent movement if asthma is severe)
  • Stretching
  • Straight posture
  • Healthy weight
  • Ice packaging on the sore areas of the back


Although, asthma no cure, there are a list of treatments to help ease asthma symptoms: 1

  • Reliever inhalers: to treat the symptoms when they occur
  • Preventer inhalers: often used for severe asthma, to stop the symptoms from occurring. This type of inhalers contains steroid medicine
  • Combined inhalers: a mix of the reliever and the preventer inhalers may be more effective
  • Tablet leukotriene receptor antagonist (LTRAs): these stop the symptoms from occurring
  • Steroid tablets
  • Theophylline tablets 

For back pain, the usual medications used are analgesics, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants, although anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen should be used with casution in people with asthma.2

Home remedies

There are no definitive home remedies to treat asthma. However, here are some tips to better control the symptoms: 

  • Avoid caffeine and energy drinks
  • Avoid smoking and smoky environments
  • Do breathing exercises
  • Breathe essential oils that helps dilate the airways (for example, eucalyptus) 

Caring for lower back pain

Stretching and exercising appear to be the key to ease the back pain in general, especially the lower part. If asthma is holding you back, try with slow walks. Keep your body active, keep it moving easy and slowly everyday. Also, do not forget to stretch.

When to seek medical care?

If you are experiencing several episodes of asthma attacks with short gaps, it is best to seek medical care. If backache persists after two-three weeks then it is also suggested to contact a doctor.


It is not always easy to know what to do when asthma symptoms occur, or how to treat the pain that the condition brings to the back. Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the lung and the respiratory system. It can be triggered by many factors such as pollution, smokes and fumes, allergies, genetics, infections, emotions and heavy exercises that leads to narrowed and inflamed airways, strains the lungs muscles in proximity to the spine resulting in backache. The the most effective treatment to relieve a backache is ice packaging, stretching, exercising and straight posture. Common medications to treat asthma are inhalers and tablets. Some helpful home remedies to ease asthma symptoms are breathing exercises, avoiding smoking, caffeine and energy drinks, and breathing essential oils to help open up the narrowed and inflamed airways.


  1. Quirt J, Hildebrand KJ, Mazza J, Noya F, Kim H. Asthma. Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2023 Mar 23]; 14(Suppl 2):50. Available from: 
  2. Casiano VE, Sarwan G, Dydyk AM, Varacallo M. Back Pain. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 [cited 2023 Mar 23]. Available from:  
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

Get our health newsletter

Get daily health and wellness advice from our medical team.
Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to this website may be placed by us on our servers. If you do not agree do not provide the information.

Silvia Battaglia

Tourism and Travel Services Management Student, Anglia Ruskin University, England

I'm a passionate reader and writer, my best achievement is the first draft of my own book. I started writing when I was really young.
Experienced medical writer. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818