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Can Pneumonia Cause Back Pain?



Pneumonia CAN cause back pain. 

Pneumonia is an acute, chronic disease caused by chemical or physical irritants along with bacteria or viruses that result in lung inflammation. Even parasites or fungal infections can cause pneumonia. What may be, at first, diagnosed as back strain may, in fact, be back pain, which is a symptom of pneumonia.

Contracting Pneumonia

Pneumonia results when a healthy person breathes air containing bacteria from the sneeze or cough from an infected individual or when bacteria already in the nose or mouth is aspirated into the lungs. A weakened immune system also makes a person more susceptible to contracting the disease.

Two Categories

The aspiration category of pneumonia is the result of breathing in chemicals, vomit or infected mucous. When bacteria infect and spread in the lungs, you are dealing with infective pneumonia. The more widespread the inflammation of infective pneumonia, the more parts of the body become involved such as the chest and back. Breathing becomes labored. Coughing and sneezing results in tightening of muscles in the chest and back. This back pain is the result of the body responding to lung irritation and inflammation.

Back Pain

As the breathing grows labored, back muscles may spasm, resulting in a pain level from mildly to extremely painful. As the inflammation spreads, pain increases. However, not all types of pneumonia cause back pain. Back pain is primarily a symptom of bacterial pneumonia.

Bacterial Pneumonia

Bacterial pneumonia is an infectious disease, spread by interaction with a person who is already infected. The process is initiated by inhaling infected bacteria that invade the body through the eyes, mouth and nose. The lungs become ingested with fluid and pus that decreases the amount of oxygen usually generated by the lungs. Coughing and sneezing is the body’s response as the body seeks air. The pull on the muscles causes back pain.




“Pneumonia: Causes –” Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2011.

Komaroff, Anthony L.. The Harvard Medical School family health guide. New York: Free Press, 2005. Print.

“Pneumonia: Symptoms –” Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2011.

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