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Could I Have a Pulled Muscle After Coughing?

Jan 20, 2024

Pulled Muscle After CoughingMany people have experienced the discomfort of a persistent cough, but what if that seemingly harmless act of clearing your throat could lead to more than just irritation? You might even wonder if your recent bout of sickness has led to a cough-induced pulled muscle. While coughing is a common reflex aimed at clearing the airways, the strain it puts on the muscles raises concerns about potential injuries. Let’s explore the possibility of developing a pulled muscle as a result of frequent or intense coughing and look at the symptoms, causes, and methods of prevention and treatment to provide insights into this uncomfortable sensation.

Do I Have a Pulled Muscle After Coughing?

A pulled muscle from coughing is also known as a cough-induced musculoskeletal strain, and this can occur due to various factors. The repetitive and forceful nature of coughing can exert significant pressure on the muscles in your chest and abdomen, leading to strain or injury. Some factors contributing to a pulled muscle from coughing include:

  • Intense or Prolonged Coughing: Persistent and vigorous coughing episodes, especially during illnesses such as bronchitis or pneumonia, can strain the muscles around the chest and abdomen.
  • Underlying Medical Conditions: Individuals with pre-existing conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma may experience more frequent and intense coughing, increasing the risk of muscle strain.
  • Age and Physical Condition: Elderly individuals or those with weakened musculature may be more susceptible to muscle strains during strong coughing bouts.
  • Smoking: Smoking can irritate the respiratory system, leading to chronic coughing. Persistent coughing in smokers may contribute to muscle strains over time.
  • What a Pulled Muscle from Coughing Feels Like

A pulled muscle from coughing can manifest with distinct sensations and symptoms. Individuals experiencing a pulled muscle in the context of frequent or intense coughing may notice the following:

  • Localized Pain: The pain is often concentrated in the affected muscle or muscles. A pulled muscle from coughing is commonly felt in the chest, abdomen, or back, depending on which muscles are strained.
  • Sharp or Stabbing Sensation: The pain may be sharp or stabbing, particularly during coughing episodes. The intensity can vary, ranging from mild discomfort to more severe pain.
  • Tenderness to Touch: The affected area may also feel tender when touched. Pressing on the area around the strained muscle may also cause increased pain and discomfort.
  • Pain with Movement: Certain movements, such as bending over, twisting, or even deep breathing, may make your pain and discomfort worse.
  • Limited Range of Motion: Individuals with a pulled muscle may experience a reduced range of motion in the affected area due to pain and muscle stiffness.

It’s important to note that the symptoms can vary from person to person, as well as the reason for your coughing. The severity of a pulled muscle from coughing may also depend on factors such as your overall health, age, and the intensity and duration of coughing episodes. If you are worried about a possible pulled muscle from coughing and your symptoms persist or worsen, it is best to seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis and guidance on appropriate treatment and management.

At-Home Remedies for Pain from Coughing

Managing a pulled muscle from coughing at home involves a combination of rest, self-care, and over-the-counter remedies to alleviate symptoms. Here are some at-home remedies that may help.

  • Rest: Give the affected muscles time to heal by avoiding activities that could strain them further. Rest is crucial for the recovery of pulled muscles.
  • Ice Packs: Apply an ice pack to the affected area for 15-20 minutes every few hours. Cold temperatures help reduce inflammation and numb the area, offering temporary relief.
  • Heat Therapy: You can use heat packs or warm compresses on the strained muscles. Heat can help increase blood flow and relax the muscles.
  • Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Non-prescription pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation in the area.
  • Gentle Stretching: Once the acute pain has subsided, gentle stretching exercises can improve flexibility and prevent stiffness. However, you want to avoid overstretching, and if stretching causes an increase in pain, stop immediately.
  • Hydration: Staying well-hydrated is essential for overall muscle health and recovery. Water helps flush out toxins and supports your body’s natural healing processes.
  • Supportive Pillows: If the pain is concentrated in the chest or back, using supportive pillows when sitting or lying down can help maintain a comfortable posture and reduce strain.

While these remedies can be effective for mild to moderate cases, severe or persistent symptoms should prompt an appointment with trusted healthcare professionals near you.

When to See a Doctor 

When to See a Doctor for Pulled Muscle After CoughingIt’s advisable to consult a doctor if you suspect you have a pulled muscle from coughing, especially if the pain is intense and does not get better with at-home remedies or if it worsens over time. A pulled muscle can cause extreme discomfort, especially if you are already dealing with sickness. Even once your illness has passed, you might still feel the lingering effects of a pulled muscle from coughing. Your local chiropractor or physical therapist can help you recover and experience lasting pain relief.

Comprehensive Care at AICA Atlanta

At AICA Orthopedics in Atlanta, our team of healthcare professionals offers quality, comprehensive care for all types of musculoskeletal discomfort. If you are concerned about pain from a pulled muscle after coughing, visit our team of doctors. We offer diagnostic imaging services, including X-rays and CT scans, and a variety of specialists, all under one roof.

Chiropractors at AICA may use spinal adjustments and other manual techniques to address musculoskeletal issues, including those related to a pulled muscle from coughing. Our physical therapists specialize in rehabilitation and can provide exercises and techniques to promote healing and also help prevent future injuries. They may offer targeted exercises to strengthen the affected muscles and improve flexibility.

It’s so important to get a proper diagnosis for your pain and discomfort so you can get the best treatment to help you experience long-lasting relief. At AICA Orthopedics Atlanta, our team of doctors is here to help you feel your very best. Call or visit our Atlanta AICA Orthopedics location near you to get started on the road to recovery.


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