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Pneumonia and Back Pain

Back pain can be one of the symptoms of pneumonia. This article will provide detailed information on the relation between the two.
Madhura Pandit
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Pneumonia can be caused due to a variety of factors like viruses, bacteria, fungi, other organisms, inhalation of food, dust, gases, etc. People with a weak immune system contract opportunistic pneumonia.

Pneumonia is a respiratory disease. In most of the cases, it is caused by bacteria known as Streptococcus pneumoniae. Cold, high fever, chest pain, chills, etc., are the prominent signs and symptoms of this disease. But, did you know that pneumonia can be one of the reasons for back pain? Let us take a look.

Can Pneumonia Cause Back Pain
Not everyone is aware, but, back pain is one of the lesser known symptoms of pneumonia. As lungs are infected, one experiences back and chest pain when suffering from this disease. You may be aware that the symptoms of pneumonia and bronchitis, the two respiratory disorders, appear very similar. But, note that tightness of the chest can be seen in case of bronchitis; whereas, in pneumonia, you experience chest and back pain. This is a major distinguishing factor between the two.

Back pain is usually observed in case of bacterial pneumonia. Most of the time, it is observed that chest and back pain aggravates with breathing. When the person breathes deeply, he experiences pain in the back and in the lower chest. Therefore, if a person complains of back pain that worsens while breathing, chances of pneumonia cannot be ruled out.

But, not all cases of back pain are caused by pneumonia. Similarly, not all cases of pneumonia cause back pain. When suffering from pneumonia, many other symptoms are also observed. Here is detailed information about pneumonia that will be helpful in knowing more about the disease.

What is Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infectious respiratory disease. Exposure to smoke, industrial pollutants, and smoking, etc., significantly increase a person's risk for contracting it. There may also be a case that the bacteria already present in the mouth or nose, go into the lungs leading to pneumonia infection. Similarly, a person is at a greater risk of contracting lung infection if he is already weakened from any disease or has recently suffered from viral infection, or diseases of the lungs or the heart. The infection can be found in people of any age group, and can even be fatal in case of babies and old people.

Common signs and symptoms of pneumonia, like cold, fever, chills, and cough, etc., are similar to that of influenza or flu. The following symptoms are also observed.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Back pain
  • Fast/shallow breathing
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
Apart from these, other symptoms like lack of energy, lack of appetite, and low breathing rate are commonly observed in children. Older people may not have all the aforementioned typical symptoms; but, may show other signs like confusion or delirium. If a person is already suffering from any lung disease, he has the highest chance of contracting pneumonia.

A chest X-ray helps in diagnosing the cause of back pain while breathing. X-ray report can clearly show infection in lungs. If the person also experiences other major symptoms, the doctor will ask the person to undertake blood tests. The treatment depends on whether it is caused due to bacteria or virus.

Anti-viral medication, or anti-bacterial medication and antibiotics can help in treating pneumonia. Back pain can be treated by other prescription medication.

On the other hand, if it is followed by other complications like respiratory system failure, SARS, abscess, or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), it is difficult to control and cure it. In that case, hospitalization with intravenous antibiotic treatment is required.

Pneumonia, accompanied with other complications, can even result in death of the person. It should be noted that the infection can be cured completely only if it is treated immediately.

Note that taking pneumonia vaccine, maintaining cleanliness and hygiene, and having a healthy diet can prevent the disease to a great extent. Lastly, one should remember that not all cases of back pain are caused due to pneumonia. It can be caused due to a variety of factors. Therefore, it is wise to consult the doctor and get the condition diagnosed immediately.

Disclaimer: The aforementioned information is meant for educational purposes only. It is recommended to consult the doctor for proper advice and treatment.