Low back pain 'cannot be linked to weather conditions'

10 July 2014

The common belief that levels of back pain can be explained by changing weather conditions has been refuted by a new study from Australia.

Conducted by the University of Sydney, the research followed 993 patients for more than a year, comparing official weather data at the time patients first noticed back pain with climate conditions one week and one month before the onset of pain.

Results showed no association between back pain and temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind direction or precipitation. Meanwhile, a link between higher wind speeds and gusts and a slightly increased chance of back pain was deemed not to be clinically important.

The team now wishes to see further research into if and how weather affects symptoms associated with conditions such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Dr Daniel Steffens, of the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Sydney, said: "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."

Back pain is not generally caused by a serious condition and usually gets better within 12 weeks. However, in chronic cases, medical interventions may be required.

Posted by Jeanette Royston


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