Top 5 Reasons Your Arms Hurt When You Sneeze

Have you ever sneezed so hard that your hands hurt? You are not alone in this! Sneezing is a powerful reflex action that clears your airways and prevents infection. However, for some, this force of air expulsion can trigger a side effect, and that is arm pain. So, if you wonder, “Why do my arms hurt when I sneeze?” This blog has your answer.

Sneezing Mechanism

As mentioned above, sneezing is a reflex action that occurs when stimuli such as mucus, allergens, or irritants connect with the nose lining, triggering the body to clear the nasal passages. This action of the body is needed to expel potentially harming foreign particles, germs, and allergens entering through the nose.

A sneeze is a complex process that involves sensory and respiratory phases initiated by the trigeminal nerve in response to irritants. This reflex causes eye tearing, increases nasal secretions, muscle contractions in the throat and chest, and a forceful expulsion of air carrying mucus and particles.

Is It Normal For A Sneeze to Hurt Your Arms?

It is common to have your arms in mild pain after sneezing, especially in those who have spinal issues because of the unnatural force on the body. However, the pain’s intensity, area, and frequency vary. You must note that it is not normal for arm pain after sneezing to be intense or prolonged.

Arm Pain After Sneezing – Common Causes

Here are some of the reasons why your arms might hurt after sneezing hard:

  1. Pinched Nerves
    If you have pinched nerves, they often get aggravated by the sudden movement caused by a sneeze. This expulsion force increases compression, resulting in pain, tingling, and numbing sensations. In addition, the stress from sneezing may cause inflammation of tissues around the nerve, heightening the discomfort.
  2. Dislocated Vertebrae
    Vertebral dislocation is, more often than not, a consequence of trauma like car accidents. They disrupt spinal alignment, impacting nerves and causing widespread pain. Even minor misalignments are a source of significant discomfort, especially when triggered by the force of a sneeze.
  3. Herniated Discs
    Herniated discs are a condition where the gel-like interior leaks and impinges on nerves. This can manifest as arm pain and worsen while sneezing.
  4. Muscle Strain
    Muscle strain is a common consequence of injury or sudden exertion, leading to pain and difficulty in movement. During the sneeze reflex, the added pressure on muscles and nerves exacerbates existing strains, causing immediate discomfort.
  5. Vertebral Compression Fractures
    Those with osteoporosis often suffer from vertebral compression fractures, even from the force of a sneeze reflex if the case is severe.

Closing Note

Want to learn the treatment options for arm pain after sneezing? Get in touch with our trustworthy physician, Dr. Fakhri Kalolwala, MD, a board-certified internal medicine physician who graduated with honors from the University of Houston immediately at Aqeeq Internal Medicine. Do not hesitate to set up an appointment by dialing (832) 786-8195 to seek our help. You can also drop by our office in Houston, Texas.

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