There are two commonly known meanings for sneezing. First, there is the generic definition of sneezing, which is a bodily reflex assisting in expelling objects and other foreign bodies from the nose. And next, there is the medical term for sneezing called “sternutation.” Most of all, this normal bodily function is an irritation response mechanism. Of note, the sneeze is one of many methods used by the human body to prevent and fight infections to the respiratory system and brain. To most people, sneezing while walking, lying in bed watching TV, and even while operating a motorized or another vehicle, is not uncommon.

But in some instances, when a person sneezes, it is not just a tissue paper grabbing situation. For example, it may result in excruciating pain in their arms. Sometimes the pain is so unbearable, that it can feel like a stroke to some people. In most cases, the pain one endures causes loss of function of the appendage.

Can Sneezing Arm Pain Cause Loss of Control of a Vehicle?
Yes, but not regularly. It seems easy enough to answer this question at first blush, but not really. When one sneezes and suffers arm pain resulting in a temporary period of blocked sensory and control ability, which usually lasts seconds, one wonders if this spontaneous reaction could lead to the loss of the supervision of a moving vehicle.

Think of it like this; we are looking in mirrors, touching knobs, etc. It would appear that even though sneezing can cause some people to be perhaps not able to steer, etc., the period of one second is not seemingly significant. But in some situations, it certainly could be, especially if the arm pain lasts any longer than a small second.

Is Sneezing Arm Pain “Normal?”
To determine is sneezing can place certain people at an increased risk of losing control over their moving vehicles, we must first ask, why does this pain happen at all? Is this a typical reaction, and can anything be done to prevent this pain and subsequent loss of control?

The arm pain intensity, location, and time it affects the person can vary with some people having pain in the shoulders and lower arm and others having pain and numbness in the elbow. For some people, this pain lasts for the length of the sneeze, while others it dissipates within seconds. But for some individuals, the grief can last for a couple of minutes. And for other patients, the pain can go from the location of the arms to the hands and fingers before going away ultimately.

Some individuals have pain and tingling in either one or both arms, and in some cases, the pain may happen in the chest area. Pain in the arms and chest is often associated with cardiovascular disease. And this is especially the case with radiating shoulder at the base of the neck, down to the fingers. And although pain during or after sneezing is not associated with cardiovascular disease, it exacerbates other pain responses in the body.

Sneezing Pain Causes.
Suppressing Sneezes. Pain in the arms can occur when a person attempts to stop a sneeze, rather than allowing it to happen.
Back and Neck Problems. Symptoms of back and neck problems can become more pronounced while sneezing or coughing. But this is due to a weakness in the bones of the neck and back. Because of the involuntary reflexes that occur during a sneeze, these bones shift. As a result, the pressure evoked during a sneeze can irritate the nerves of bulging discs and herniated discs since they reduce the area surrounding the nerves.
Upper Body Tension. Upper body tension increases during a sneeze using muscles, and when these muscles contract after tensing, it can result in strain. The body may react to the stress by producing pain in the shoulders and arms.
Herniated Disc. Sneezing for individuals that have a herniated disc may experience shooting pain in the arms. A herniated disc happens when the spinal discs that are the bone exterior filled with a soft gel-like interior and the soft interior can swell out of the hardened surface.
Pinched Nerve. Pinched nerves get compressed from pressure in surrounding muscle, ligaments, and other tissue. And this or a sudden movement of the neck while sneezing can cause pain in the arms.
Dislocated Vertebras.  Vertebras are small bones in the spine that can become dislocated due to trauma such as a fracture and may cause pain in the arms during or after the individual sneezes.
The act of sneezing causes temporary pressure on the spine. So this means neck and spinal problems with the pain traveling through these nerves. And that can result in pain in the shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, and some case the chest.

Many people notice varying levels of shooting pain in the arms after they sneeze. And after a car accident, for example, when someone is recovering, sneezing can worsen pain in between the shoulder blades or increase suffering from a severe back injury. Conversely, people with these post car crash ailments could be suffering from this shooting pain when they sneeze but not even know the pain is due to a more severe condition.

Stopping Pain from Sneezing.
In some cases, doctors stop the pain in the arms or shoulder through proper medical treatment for the underlying condition. So treating your pinched nerve or herniated disc may be the answer. Getting a diagnosis from a physician is the first step. And your doctor may ask questions about the location of the pain and how long it lasts after sneezing.

The doctor often requests an X-ray of the spinal cord or MRI, identifying the neck or back problem. If the problem is a pinched nerve, the physician may recommend physical therapy. Chiropractic treatments and acupuncture may clinically become advised to relieve the condition.

Exercise often remain part of the muscle strain recovery process. If the cause is inflammation of the spinal cord or a back injury, doctors often recommend ice and heat.   Or anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed for the condition.

The question of whether or not this condition could cause a car accident is plausible. As of yet, we have not located any sources that catalog reports of sneezing and car accidents. Hypothetically speaking, if a person is suffering badly enough from this condition, he or she could be liable for negligence. But that assumes this situation leads to a pileup or crash on the freeways, tollways, or highways in the U.S. To learn more about sneezing and car accidents, contact Ehline Law.