You may thing that sneezing is nothing to sneeze about.  But, sneezing increases the pressure on your spine and can create or exacerbate many problems.  Increased spinal pressure can lead to sprains or strains of the neck, mid back or low back.  It can also cause muscle spasms or, even worse, disc bulges or herniations.  The increased pressure could be compounded if you are flexed forward slightly or if your neck is turned to the side.  We’ve all seen people who sneeze and lurch forward – this position increases the load on the spine significantly and increases the likelihood of creating a painful and possibly debilitating condition.  Coughing, laughing or having a bowel movement also increases spinal pressures and can have a similar effect.

Sometimes a sneeze comes on quickly and you just ‘react’.  But if you can, don’t sneeze forward, tilt slightly backwards into extension to sneeze in neutral or even somewhat upward.  This will greatly reduce the pressure in your spine.  If you are a particularly aggressive sneezer, brace your back with one hand or even clutch a pillow.  Just make sure to cover your mouth.

Watch our video for more information and a demonstration.

30 Second Back Tips – How to Sneeze Properly

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