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Research Reveals Weather Does Not Cause Joint Pain

Update Date: Jan 16, 2017 10:13 PM EST

Researchers from Australia have found no evidence that weather is associated with back pain, which is different from what is commonly known. About 33 percent of the world's population experience back pain, while 10 percent of men and 18 percent of women over the age of 60 have osteoarthritis. 

"The belief that pain and inclement weather are linked dates back to Roman times," said Professor Chris Maher, Senior Researcher of The George Institute for Global Health.

Maher adds, "People were adamant that adverse weather conditions worsened their symptoms, so we decided to go ahead with a new study based on data from new patients with lower back pain and osteoarthritis."

Between October 2011 and November 2012, researchers recruited 981 participants with lower back pain, and 350 with knee osteoarthritis and gathered weather reports from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Australia's daily temperature averages from 5.4 to 32.8 degrees Celsius.

Researchers compared the frequency of when patients experienced back pain with weather conditions one week and one month before the onset of pain. After considering temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind direction and precipitation, results show no association between back pain and arthritis.

The American College of Rheumatology also found that higher wind speed or gust slightly increases the risk of lower back pain. However, it was deemed not clinically significant.

The Huffington Post reported additional studies that support the conclusion that low back pain was not linked to changes in the weather. 

"People who suffer from either of these conditions should not focus on the weather as it does not have an important influence on your symptoms and it is outside your control," said Manuela Ferreira, lead professor on an osteoarthritis research, suggesting to focus on managing and preventing pain.

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