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682891 tn?1226692630

Pain when sneezing (back, neck, arms)

  I am a 24 year old male. I am 5'11" and 255lbs. I am a former football player and experience extreme pain in my neck, shoulders, and arms when ever I sneeze. The pain in my neck is located around my shoulder blades and in my arms it hurts on the top of my fore arm and my bicep, and occasionally on the top part of my hand. It is starting to get extremely painful and I am not sure what I should do or what is causing it. ANY help would be greatly appreciated. I have done several Google searches but with no luck except people with similar problem, but few answers. Thanks in advance.

48 Responses
387767 tn?1345872027
Is the pain ONLY when you sneeze?  Or do you have pain in these areas other times?  Also, do you exercise or lift weights?  I know that my son, who is 21, had a lot of problems in the neck, shoulder and arm areas from weight lifting.  He had to cut back and use lower weights.

I would say to just check with your doctor.  Maybe you are somehow jerking your head when you sneeze and that hurts you.  You could also try an antihistamine, something like Claritin, to stop the sneezing.
682891 tn?1226692630
The pain only happens when I sneeze. I use to lift weights, but haven't in about 2 years or so.
387767 tn?1345872027
Wow, that is strange.  Then I would say try to control the sneezing.  Do you have allergies? Maybe get that checked out.  
682891 tn?1226692630
Ok, so it looks like its my Radial Nerve ( http://classes.kumc.edu/sah/resources/handkines/nerves/radial.htm ) SO what I am wondering now is do I need to go get this checked on or is it something I just need to deal with, and get over it on my own. I am still young and if I need to do something I would like to do it now so there is less risk, potentially.

Anybody got a suggestion here?

Avatar universal
OK, I turned 25 this last october... I played football for 6 years in school .  I am 5'10" and about 240lbs.. I also have THE EXACT SAME PAIN in my arms/hands/neck when i sneeze.  I have noticed that it has gotten progressively worse since around age 21 or 22... From my searching it seems that everyone with this problem has ONE thin in common, and that is that we all at one time or another played a full contact sport in our teenage years.. The evidence suggests we have all suffered some sort of nerve damage in our spines or base of our skulls... As for a solution, I have tried just about everything to no avail.  The only thing that scares me is that it does seem to be PROGRESSIVE.  So my question is, exactly how severe is this pain going to get?  Will this have any other ill effects as we age?  And, is there any way to cure this?
620923 tn?1452915648
did ne of u get an MRI of ur brain, cervical spine, thoracic and lumbar spines?.....since u have been involved in a contact sport whenin u could have head butted someone and just the trauma of being tackeled....would suggest somepossibility of some kind of damage to the spine.I would suggest seeing a NS and  getting checked!!

Good luck
Avatar universal
I just recently ended my football career as well.  I am 21 and had been playing small college ball the last two years, but because of back pain and neck pain i decided i wanted to be able to walk and turn my head when i got older, so i hung up the cleats.  I have just in the past few months or so began getting pain in my left arm when i sneeze.  its like a burning, numbing pain and is pretty bad, i almost have to stop whatever im doing for about a minute until it goes away.  this does seem like a trend in football players, and i actually had an mri on my cervical spine, with no disk herniation present.  i do however have a herniated disk in my lumbar spine, but i wouldn't think this could be related.  just thought id add another example to the list.  any more advise?  thanks!

Avatar universal
I am 37 and I just started experiencing this sever pain when I sneeze. It feels like my veins are going to explode. I never played any sports. I was much thinner 5 years ago at 200lbs and now 40 lbs over weight  at 240lbs. I have bad cholesterol and I am wondering if anyone else has cholesterol problems. Maybe our veins are clogged and when we sneeze extreme pressure push the blood through the veins. The pain could be expanding veins due to a blockage.. Is this a warning of a potential heart attack??
Avatar universal
I also have the same pain and I it feels like sudden amount of pressure in my veins or arteries throughout my upper body. Lasts for about 15 seconds. I am 43 and about 40 pounds overweight.
Avatar universal
I came across the same pains today for the first time. Im not over weight never played football i cant stand the game. I dont weight lift im just an average joe. I was fine yesterday and sneezin due to a summer cold but today this sharp pain ripped thru the top part of my spine over my shoulder blades and arms and elbows. Fingers felt limp. after 15-20secs im ok again. Ive tried to stop sneezing before i do but dont seem to work. Will make an appointment with my GP and get him to check me out.

Darren - Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire
Avatar universal
All i can say is i had a cold for a few day, but even before i had this cold, every time i sneezed. my upper back and lower arns hurt so much that all i want to do a roll up in a ball and hope it will end soon. i study Taekwondo for years, im health, but maybe 26 pounds over weight. I just want it to stop. if there is an answer out there that someone might have other then disc issues or that im holding in my sneeze which im not I would be very happy to hear form U. Im just so tired of the pain that if it wont stop it could effect my job.
Avatar universal
I am 34 and I too have been experiencing EXTREAME pain when I sneeze. The pain is always in my biceps up into my shoulder and across my chest which then radiates to my trapezoids. I only ever experience this pain when I sneeze, but when I do it is severe enough to stop whatever I am doing so that I can deal with the pain. I like many others I have seen here played football, basketball and spent many more years in martial arts. Further I used to power lift on an extreme level for many years on and off. I haven’t been to the gym in about a year due to continuing education and a L5 injury that never stops nagging. My heart rate and BP are within normal ranges, not great, but definitely not bad. I am probably about 15 to 25 lbs. over weight, nothing extreme. I know pain, I can take pain, my threshold is far greater than most anyone I know, as is normal with guys like us here on this site. Despite this, I must admit that the pain i get from a sneeze worries me greatly. I will visit my doctor soon and try to relay any useful information. Please, anyone, please do the same.
Avatar universal
Im 27 former football football player ex powerlifter martial arts wrestler. I've had these symptoms for years but in the last week they have gotten so bad i literally fall on my knees when i sneeze. Im probably 20lbs overweight now due to not going to the gym as often. I Hate to say it but im actually afraid to sneeze. I hope we can figure this out
Avatar universal
I am a 41 year old and played high school and college football. I ended my college career with a bad hit damaging my c3,4 and 5 vertebrae. In my 20's the pain was only in my left arm when I sneezed. My 30's began to expand to shoulders. Now in my 40's the pain shoots thru my entire upper back concentrated most strongly in shoulder, spine and lats. The pain has become almost unbearable when I sneeze, to the point that I literally fall to my knees in agony with large sneezing. Dropping items is common if holding them during a sneeze. It feels like electrical short circuit and bone pain. I am trying find anyone that has similar issues and may have a doctor or specific field of medicine for me to visit. Any reports, books or information would be great.
Avatar universal
I am an 18 year old guy who has been suffering from the same thing. I played football freshman year in high school but have long since lifted a weight. This pain started about a year ago when I would sneeze. At first it was just a quick, sharp pain around my shoulder and upper arms that would go away after a few minutes. It is now extremely painful! The pain stretches from my shoulders and neck to my waist and even my legs and in my hands too; the pain can last for up to 15 mins. It is so bad I have to stop everything I'm doing to deal with the pain. I even had to pull over once while driving because it was so painful. I don't know what to do  and could really use some answers, can it get any worse?!?
Avatar universal
Have the same problem. Please read this.
Avatar universal
I am 31 years old. I have this same problem usually when I sneeze. I can't really recall it ever happening on the left side, it is usually on the right side. And also, it does not happen every single time I sneeze. It does happen often though. I played football and wrestled in high school, but I am pretty sure that this problem is not related to that as I have never had a neck, back or upper arm injury. I have broken/severely sprained my right hand four times and one time broke many of the meta tarsals and meta carpals in my right hand in an accident.
My wife seems to think that the problem could be related to clogged arteries, as she was a nurse at one time. I have not been checked out, and am not sure if I will be able to any time soon. If I do get it checked out, I will post on here what I find out.
Avatar universal
Here is some input from a neurosurgeon that is pretty interesting:


I am a medical student with this problem. I think what he explains in the article makes sense, but it probably doesn't explain everyone's pain. In my case, it doesn't involve the distribution of any specific nerves. I am wondering if it could also be caused by vasospasm or a sharp increase in intravascular pressure during the sneeze in people with atherosclerosis.
1326416 tn?1370927001
The post is about 5 years old. I doubt anyone is monitoring it anymore! I do the same thing sometimes, especially if I have some relevant info. to share. i learned to look for the hourglass next to the name and date, it indicates an older post.
Avatar universal
also a football player. 22 years old. only injury i can remember having was at a opening kickoff, i always was the fastest one, the first to make contact. i not so sure what happened, but i BELIEVE i put my head down and next i know i was standing next to the coach on the sideline getting instructions on what to do next. also remember snot bubble on the sideline. maybe this helps maybe not. just my 2 cents. hopefully an answer. or cure even lol it hurts to sneeze. oh by the way, this happened freshman year. i played 3 more years after this. without incident (to me anyway =D)
Avatar universal
Im 32 / male / 180cm / 90kg / 12% BF

Never been over weight.

Played contact sports from about 10 yrs old to 18 yrs old.

Been lifting weights since about 19 yrs old.
On and off every 6 - 12 months.
Havent trained in about 6 months.

I was just googling this as i have the exact same symptoms.

For the last few months, EVERY time i sneeze.
Severe ache / pain in the upper body.
Neck & shoulders down to upper back and chest.
Through upper arms down to hands.

Feels like every muscle has cramped to the point of breakage.

Most of those links above are broken.

If anyone has any input feel free to email me.

Avatar universal
You likely have a Chiari Malformation. Have an MRI to rule this out.
Avatar universal
Chiari Malformation. Get an MRI to rule this out.
Avatar universal
I am 21 not a sports player but played many diff sports in school, little bit football but.I did play a very hectic life in work and career. I just experienced the Same problem unfortunatel. Today I have a lot of cold and the body is paining extremely bad in the upper side. Just trying to control cold... Any suggestion. What to do?
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