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What causes severe back pain while suffering from cold?

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Posted on Mon, 7 Dec 2015
Question: I am a cancer patient and tomorrow I have my last radiation treatment. However last Thursday I developed a terrible chest and head cold. AND, my lower back is killing me, especially when I sneeze, cough or try to get up from a chair. Is this back pain normal with a cold?
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh (56 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
The back pain may be from coughing.

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome,

The low back pain is not from having a cold virus, but it may be from muscle strain from coughing.

Sometimes with influenza, people feel aching in their low back, and backs of thighs from effects of the virus, but not from a cold. And influenza (flu) can seem like a bad cold. The type of pain is not sharp but more of an ache.

I am guessing you are wondering if this pain may be related to the cancer. If your cancer is in remission or slowed down from the radiation treatment, it is unlikely. But I would discuss this concern with the oncologist.

Depending on where on your body you are receiving radiation, the radiation could cause back pain too. But if came on with the upper respiratory infection, it is more likely related to either strain from coughing, or from flu.

If you can take Ibuprofen (Advil) (no stomach problems), that might help your pain - take after eating food as it can irritate the stomach.

I would advise that you call the oncologist who is on call for your doctor and discuss your situation and also whether you should go ahead with the radiation treatment tomorrow. If you are quite ill with this respiratory virus, my guess is that it should be delayed.

I hope this information helps.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3134 Questions

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What causes severe back pain while suffering from cold?

Brief Answer: The back pain may be from coughing. Detailed Answer: Hello and welcome, The low back pain is not from having a cold virus, but it may be from muscle strain from coughing. Sometimes with influenza, people feel aching in their low back, and backs of thighs from effects of the virus, but not from a cold. And influenza (flu) can seem like a bad cold. The type of pain is not sharp but more of an ache. I am guessing you are wondering if this pain may be related to the cancer. If your cancer is in remission or slowed down from the radiation treatment, it is unlikely. But I would discuss this concern with the oncologist. Depending on where on your body you are receiving radiation, the radiation could cause back pain too. But if came on with the upper respiratory infection, it is more likely related to either strain from coughing, or from flu. If you can take Ibuprofen (Advil) (no stomach problems), that might help your pain - take after eating food as it can irritate the stomach. I would advise that you call the oncologist who is on call for your doctor and discuss your situation and also whether you should go ahead with the radiation treatment tomorrow. If you are quite ill with this respiratory virus, my guess is that it should be delayed. I hope this information helps.