Chest Pain When Sneezing: Why Does My Chest Hurt When I Sneeze?

Chest pain when sneezing can be caused by a condition called angina, which is caused by a restriction of the blood supply to the heart.

Sneezing causes an involuntary contraction of the chest muscles, which may restrict the movement of blood through them.

Chest pain when sneezing often takes place during exercise or even just after waking up in the morning but may not always occur with every sneeze.

Also Read: How Long Does Indigestion Last?

It’s common to experience chest pain when sneezing, due to the sudden burst of air traveling at high speeds. This is referred to as “sneezing syncope” and can also be experienced with hiccups, coughing, laughing, or any other type of effort that causes the chest to tighten.

For those who experience chest pain when they sneeze, the pain seems to originate from their sternum. It can be extremely painful and may lead to shortness of breath and a feeling of panic. The key to relief is identifying and dealing with the cause of the chest pain.

Why Does My Chest Hurt When I Sneeze?

When you sneeze, your diaphragm contracts to force air, mucus, and other substances up through the nose or mouth. This can cause a temporary increase in pressure on the chest which may result in pain.

Sneezes cause a sudden and forceful inhalation of air, which can lead to the rupture of weakened, dilated vessels in the lungs and even a pneumothorax (collapsed lung). The pain may also be the result of trapped air in the lungs that are forced against the rib cage.

Either way, that tight feeling is caused by fluid or gas that’s been pushed into or out of your lungs.

Causes of Chest Pain When Sneezing

Chest pain is one of the most common symptoms people experience when they sneeze.

It can be caused by any number of different conditions, but the most likely culprits are overuse of the chest muscles during the act, irritation to the phrenic nerve, or sudden changes in pressure that can affect blood flow.

When one sneezes or laughs, they often use their chest muscles to push air out of their lungs.


A common cause of pleurisy is a bacterial or viral infection that has spread to the lungs. This can happen when a person has a respiratory infection such as a cold, flu, or pneumonia.

Other causes of pleurisy include an injury to the chest wall where there is bruising or irritation of the lung lining, tumors near the surface of the lung, or cancer in other organs.

Muscle strain

Chest pain when sneezing is a common symptom of muscle strain. The pain can feel sharp, stabbing, dull, and localized to the chest area. It may be possible that a person experiences this symptom due to an injury in a specific region of their body, but many times it’s because they have strained a muscle or tissue in their chest wall.

Allergic asthma

Sneezing is a natural occurrence for most people, but not so much for those with allergies. Sneezing can cause chest pain in those who suffer from allergic asthma.

It has been found that it is common for people with allergic asthma to have nasal blockages which can cause a buildup of pressure in the sinuses and lead to chest discomfort during a sneeze.

Every year, over 500 people are admitted to the hospital due to allergy-related asthma attacks, and many more do not seek medical help or information because they think their symptoms are minor.

The American Lung Association notes that approximately 10% of children suffer from asthma, and an estimated 15% of adults do too.

Heart Burn

Chest pain when sneezing is a common symptom of heartburn. Heartburn occurs when stomach acid flows back up the esophagus, which is the tube that connects the throat to the stomach.

When this happens, it causes what is known as acid reflux- an increase in pressure on the esophagus that can often cause chest pain or discomfort.

There are many ways to manage heartburn and prevent chest pain when sneezing.


Chest pain when sneezing due to arthritis is a commonly seen symptom of osteoarthritis in adults. This condition may be caused by the narrowing of the spinal canal which occurs as a result of degenerative changes in the spine.

It can also arise from damage to the joint cartilage or from inflammation in the joint capsule, potentially induced by trauma.


Chest pain during a sneeze can be a sign of a hernia. A hernia is an injury to the abdominal wall that causes part of the intestines or other organs to protrude from its natural position due to structural weakness in the abdominal wall.

It often occurs when lifting heavy objects, coughing, or sneezing. The two most common types of hernias are inguinal and incisional.

When to see a doctor

Chest pain when sneezing is not typically caused by the common cold, but could be an indicator of something more serious.

Although chest pain when sneezing is rare, it can also mean that there is some kind of heart problem or infection in the lungs.

Sneezing itself is not dangerous, but if it causes intense chest pain, you need to get checked out immediately.

It is important to know what you are experiencing as chest pain can be an indication that something serious is going on.

If you experience chest pain when sneezing or feel any other type of chest pain that lasts for more than five minutes, you should consult a doctor.


In conclusion, chest pain when sneezing is a common symptom that many people have experienced. The sensation of chest pain can be caused by a few different reasons.

Some instances may be allergic reactions, asthma attacks, or even heart conditions. If you experience chest pain when sneezing, take a moment to identify any possible triggers and find solutions to your symptoms.

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