Why Does My Lower Back Hurt When I Breathe In?

Why Does My Lower Back Hurt When I Breathe In?

If you suffer from lower back pain, you may notice that it’s more intense when you breathe in than when you breathe out. Do you find yourself wondering, why does my lower back hurt when I breathe in?

Rib and back pain can be quite discomforting, often accompanied by difficulty in taking deep breaths. This discomfort could stem from various causes, including strained muscles, rib injuries, or even underlying medical conditions such as pleurisy or costochondritis. Understanding the causes of rib and back pain is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment. Identifying the underlying issue can help alleviate discomfort and restore breathing ease. Exploring the reasons behind this discomfort sheds light on effective remedies and preventive measures.

There are several reasons why this could be. However, the most likely cause is your diaphragm is located in the lower portion of your abdominal cavity.

In addition to this, deep breathing can also put pressure on your internal organs. Your intestines, kidneys, and spleen are all located in your abdominal cavity beneath your stomach. This is why they have no room to expand and contract like your lungs do as you take deep breaths.

This means that they will have to push against the walls of your abdomen for additional space as you breathe in forcefully. This can easily lead to discomfort or pain in the lower part of your back.

Lower back pain while breathing is caused by numerous health-related problems listed below.

Do you suffer from back pain when you lay down? Find out why here.

Why Does My Lower Back Hurt When I Breathe In?

When you take deep breaths, your diaphragm contracts and expands to fill your lungs with air, this action can cause your spine to experience a mild amount of pressure from the contraction and expansion, which may then cause discomfort or pain.


Scoliosis, the curving or twisting of the spine, is a common condition that can lead to pain, discomfort, and disfigurement. Many people with scoliosis experienced a stabbing or pinching sensation in their lower back when they take a deep breath.

Several factors, including the following, can cause this:

  • The normal curvature of the spine is altered by scoliosis. As a result, your back muscles are forced to work harder than they would otherwise and become overstretched.
  • The discs between your vertebrae may be damaged from supporting abnormal spinal curves. This can cause them to bulge outward or become thin and brittle.
  • When you breathe deeply, your lungs expand against your ribs and back muscles. In someone with scoliosis, this can cause additional strain on your back muscles and lead to discomfort as well as pain.

Heart Attack

A common problem for people who have had a heart attack is that their lower back hurts when they breathe in. This particular symptom can be caused by the surgery required to fix the damage caused by a heart attack or related to a different medical condition.

There are two ways this lower back pain can occur:

1. The first cause of lower back pain caused by breathing in is increased pressure on your spine. Normally, when you inhale, your diaphragm expands and contracts, which causes your lungs to expand and contract as well.

This creates a vacuum effect that draws air into your lungs and the rest of your body. However, if you’ve undergone heart surgery to have a stent put in, this vacuum effect isn’t created properly, which means there’s increased pressure on your spine. When you breathe in, you will feel pain in your lower back.

2. The second way that lower back pain can occur when you breathe in is if you have endocarditis—an infection of the inner lining of one or more of your heart’s chambers or valves—or another type of infection in your heart. When you breathe in, blood moves from higher to lower pressure areas.


When you suffer from obesity, the extra weight on your abdomen may cause your lower back to hurt. This is because of the way your lungs and spine connect.

A healthy spine has a natural curve that allows for easy breathing. The curve acts as a natural support for your lower back and helps with everyday activities like bending over to pick up a box or push a vacuum cleaner.

When you are carrying extra weight, this natural curve is compromised, which causes pain in the lower back. It also makes it more difficult to breathe because the lungs must work harder to expand against the added pressure of the stomach.

Lung Cancer

Patients often experience pain in their lower back during the early stages of lung cancer. This is the result of nerve damage, which can occur when tumors or other lung cancer-related issues block oxygen flow to the lungs.

The lack of oxygen leads to fluid buildup in the lungs and surrounding tissues. The tissues swell as they attempt to contain this fluid, causing compression in the lungs and lower back.

As lung cancer progresses, patients may notice that they cough up blood, develop weight loss and fatigue, and have trouble breathing.


Kyphosis is a condition that causes the spine to curve forward. This condition can cause pain in the lower back when one breathes in because the forward curve of the spine pinches the lungs and diaphragm.

Pain caused by kyphosis in the lower back doesn’t typically worsen with time, and treatment depends on its severity.

Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a condition that occurs when a blood clot blocks one or more of the pulmonary arteries. It most commonly occurs in the large veins of the legs, and the clot can travel to the lungs where it becomes lodged, potentially restricting blood flow and leading to serious complications.

When PE occurs in the lungs, it can cause pain in the chest wall and neck, shortness of breath, dizziness, and sweating. However, PE can also cause pain in the lower back and abdomen when an obstruction of a vein runs parallel with a nerve.

This is called neurogenic inflammation, and it causes pain anywhere along the nerve line. Often this pain is mistaken for a sprain or strain by patients.


Pleurisy is a common condition that causes chest pain and wheezing, but one of the lesser-known symptoms is back pain.

When you breathe in, you expand your lung’s pleural cavity, which can cause discomfort in your lower back. If inflamed, it can put pressure on the nerves behind the back, causing pain and irritation.


Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that causes them to fill with fluid, interfering with breathing and making you generally feel pretty crummy.

Yet, for many people, an especially common symptom of pneumonia is lower back pain. The back hurts when you breathe in because they don’t work as efficiently as usual when your lungs are inflamed. This can cause pain in the lower abdomen, shoulders, and chest.

In addition, the chest muscles may not be able to expand fully while breathing, putting extra strain on the low back muscles.

The kidneys are also located in the lower back region, so if you have pneumonia, your kidneys may become hurt or infected as well.

Pneumonia is a serious medical condition that requires care from a doctor or urgent care center.

Final Thoughts

Most people with lower back pain experience symptoms when they breathe in deeply. To get relief, it’s vital to figure out the cause of the pain. The treatment depends on what caused it.

About the author

Johnny is dedicated to providing useful information on commonly asked questions on the internet. He is thankful for your support ♥

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