Persistent Cough and Back Pains in Overweight Individuals

Q: Can being overweight cause a persistent cough with a right sided pain in the chest and back? Some months ago, it began with a throat pain and later with bronchitis like symptoms. After many weeks, the pain is now felt even while taking a deep breath. I have never smoked. Antibiotics for ten days and an expectorant did not help. Thanking you in anticipation.
– By M. G., Female 65 years.


You need to get evaluated for your cough. Being overweight can be a factor behind your cough, but this needs to be confirmed after examination by a doctor.

Obesity and Persistent Cough

One of the ways obesity causes cough is that it leads to loosening of the esophageal sphincter.

In obese people, excess fat is deposited around most of the tissues. The sphincter (gate) between the food pipe (esophagus) and the stomach is muscular in nature. Due to deposition of fat on it, it becomes loose. So food stored in the stomach slips back into the food pipe. This causes cough.

Such type of cough is observed when the patient lies down after meals.

Another way obesity may lead to cough is in allergic coughs. In coughs caused by some kind of allergy like asthma, etc. excess fat of the body adds to their effect. So cough is more. Treatment comprises of treating the underlying cause. So anti-allergic medication is given.

Another cause of cough which cannot be ignored in your case is due to any heart problem. Excess weight is a contributing factor in heart diseases. It would be advisable to visit a doctor for cardiac evaluation.

Obesity and Backache

Being overweight definitely leads to back ache. This is because your spine has to carry more weight. The muscles of the back have to work more.

Also, excess weight may be a factor behind degenerative bone diseases like osteoarthritis.

Take Care,

Buddy M.D.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “Cough and Backache Linked to Obesity

  1. laila saaju

    I have been having dry cough since a year and half. Severe throat irritation causes this cough. I’m a right handed person. I have stabbing like pain in my right back region. It comes and goes frequently. I’m 20 years old.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      What medicines are you taking for your cough? Do you get any sputum when you cough, any fever. Do you have any chest tightness?

  2. David ob


    I have had a cough fir a couple of months now . I cough about 3-4 times an hour and am a smoker . In the last twelve mnths i have had various scopes scans endoscopy and colonoscopy . Two clear chest rays and a ct with highlight injection . Everything was ok except the ct showed mild lung disease . I now have post nasel drip and this stupid cough with white phlem . I am also about 5stone over weight ..

    Im really concerned about lung cancer but as my scans were ok am i worrying too much .. ct 12 months ago

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Cancers usually require an MRI for detection. Typically, patients with cancer start becoming weak and lose weight.

      You may be having chronic bronchitis due to smoking. Smoke is an irritant that continuously irritates your respiratory tract and keeps it inflamed. Due to inflammation, mucous is produced which gets thickened and troubles you.


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