Asthma is a respiratory condition that involves inflammation in the airways of the lungs. When the airways of the lungs become inflamed, they are constricted and it is more difficult to get air into and out of the lungs, making breathing difficult. Asthma usually occurs in episodes of worsened symptoms called asthma attacks. Asthma attacks can be triggered in individuals with asthma by allergens, such as pollen, animal dander, mold or dust, as well as things like excessive exercise and stress. The classic symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, chest pain and shortness of breath, but many people with asthma suffer from back pain as well.
The connection between back pain and asthma is not always clear, but in many cases it seems to be caused by muscle tension caused by having a chronic cough and breathing problems. In people with asthma, the muscles of the chest, ribs and back may be sore and painful from the strain of labored breathing and coughing. This pain can occur during or after an asthma attack, or it may be present when asthma symptoms are mild. The back pain in asthma sufferers may affect the upper and/or lower back.
The primary way to reduce back pain in asthma patients is to make sure the asthma is under control. Proper treatment with asthma medications can reduce back and chest pain, as well as breathing symptoms. There are many different types of asthma medications which are prescribed based on the severity of the asthma symptoms. Some people need to take daily medications to prevent asthma attacks and keep symptoms to a minimum. Rescue inhalers contain medication that can be used to stop an asthma attack once it has already started. People with mild asthma may only need to carry a rescue inhaler in case of an asthma attack. Avoiding asthma triggers by reducing the allergens in your environment where possible can also reduce asthma symptoms.
Back pain can also be symptomatically treated. Taking an over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) can reduce muscle tension and reduce pain. Applying heat packs to the sore back muscles for about 15 minutes every couple of hours may also relieve back pain. Massage, rest and certain back muscle stretches may also help with back pain symptoms. If your back pain is severe and does not respond to treatment, talk to your doctor about other pain management options.