Causes of back pain and short breath

Mostly, the back pain and short breath are due to a muscle strain or you carried extra weight. But, in some cases, both these situations can be the reason for a serious medical condition that needs medical assistance right away. This guide will tell you about the various possible causes for the same.


The back is highly prone to injury because of the various movements like lifting, twisting, and bending. In case, the back pain lasts for more than 3 months then it is a chronic situation. Make sure that you do not wait for a long time to consult the back doctor.

Short breath means difficulty breathing as it feels like you are not able to catch the breath, did an extreme workout, or breathing is very fast. If you are not able to relate to the symptoms then it means a serious medical condition.

Given below are some of the possible causes why both these condition is occurring together:

Severe kyphosis

Kyphosis is called hunchback or round back. This is the condition in the thoracic spine when it is curved at 50 degrees. If the problem progresses then it can affect the:

– Breathing

– Walking

If the patient is young then the problem is treated with a brace so that it does not progress in the future. Along with that, the doctor will tell you important exercises for improving the posture as well as stop the issue from increasing. However, if the problem is getting worse than the breathing is affected then the spine surgeon will recommend you to undergo surgery.

Intercostal muscle strain

Patients who have their intercostal muscles strained then the breathing will become difficult as the pain gets worse as well as the rib cage contracts and expands.

These muscles are between the adjacent ribs. They play a major role while breathing as the rib cage expands and contracts. However, if the muscles are strained the symptoms can be mild to moderate. With the back pain, the breathing can get affected.

What is the reason for Intercostal muscle strain?

  • Direct Trauma

A fall or Collison can impact the ribs along with the connecting muscles which can injure the intercostal muscles.

  • Overuse

Doing aggressive workout or activity can make the muscles stretch and it results in small tears. Moreover, a sudden movement can also result in muscle strain.

It takes at least 6 to 8 weeks to heal properly. The ice & heat pack or pain medications suggested by the doctor can help. Avoid doing aggressive activities for a few days.

Additional possible causes

  • Severe Scoliosis

This is the abnormal spine rotation and sideways twisting which might affect the breathing. In some cases, it is present along with kyphosis.

  • Rib Fracture

If the rib is fractured or displaced then it can result in sharp or intense pain while breathing. In some cases, it comes along with intercostal muscle strain which results in shortness of breath.

  • Allergic reaction

In some cases, people develop an allergic reaction due to some medication. Like the ones taken for muscle relaxation and they can result in breathing problems, throat swelling, hives, or chest tightness.

  • Multiple Myeloma

It is a type of cancer that affects plasma cells and they are white blood cells found in the bone marrow.

Talk to your doctor to get your condition evaluated in the right way and get a reliable treatment plan.

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