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Weather Patterns not Tied to Back Pain

Update Date: Jul 10, 2014 10:43 AM EDT
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Many people believe that their back pain is associated to changes in the weather. In a new study, researchers set out to examine the veracity behind this relationship. The team from Australia concluded that bad weather does not cause back pain.

"Many patients believe that weather impacts their pain symptoms. However, there are few robust studies investigating weather and pain, specifically research that does not rely on patient recall of the weather," lead researcher Dr. Daniel Steffens, of the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Sydney, said reported by HealthDay.

In this study, the researchers followed almost 1,000 people who sought out medical care for acute low back pain between October 2011 and November 2012. The patients had gone to primary care clinics throughout Sydney. The researchers examined the weather patterns one week before the patients' first felt back pain. They also looked at the weather patterns one-month prior. Data on the weather were provided by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

The researchers found no link between varying weather patterns and back pain. Weather patterns included temperature, humidity, wind direction, air pressure and precipitation. The team found that higher wind speeds and gusts were linked to a small but not a clinically significant increase in low back pain.

"Our findings refute previously held beliefs that certain common weather conditions increase risk of lower back pain," concluded Dr. Steffens according to the press release. "Further investigation of the influence of weather parameters on symptoms associated with specific diseases such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis are needed."

The study "Weather Does Not Affect Back Pain: Results from a Case-Crossover Study," was published in the journal, Arthritis Care & Research.

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