Study: Low Back Pain Not Linked To Weather

ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – According to a new study, lower back pain is not linked to weather conditions.

Everyone experiences low back pain at some point in their life, according to the World Health Organization, which makes it the most prevalent musculoskeletal condition.  It can affect up to 33 percent of the world population at any given time.

“Many patients believe that weather impacts their pain symptoms,” Dr. Daniel Steffens of the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Sydney, Australia, said in a press release. “However, there are few robust studies investigating weather and pain, specifically research that does not rely on patient recall of the weather.”

Researchers analyzed data from almost 1,000 patients that were seen at primary care clinics in Sydney between October 2011 and November 2012. Their info was then compared to the weather at the time patients first noticed their back pain. The weather information was taken from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Results showed no link between back pain and temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind direction, or precipitation.  Higher wind speed and wind gust did slightly increase the chance of lower back pain but researchers said the amount of increase was not clinically important.

“Our finding refute previously held beliefs that certain common weather conditions increase risk of lower back pain,” Dr. Steffens added. “Further investigation of the influence of weather parameters on symptoms associated with specific disease such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis are needed.”

The findings were published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

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