Back Pain – No connection to the weather

Lower back pain is commonly associated to weather changes. But this seems to be untrue.
Are you suffering from intense lower back pain and feel like the weather does impact your pain symptoms? Do you blame the temperature, wind direction and humidity for your aching back? Do you see a specialist for back pain treatment more often when the weather changes?

This notion was now refuted by a new back pain study from Australia. The researchers from the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Sydney agreed that temperature, humidity, wind direction, precipitation and air pressure do not trigger the onset of lower back pain or its severity. Dr. Daniel Steffens, the back pain study’s lead author, states in Arthritis Care & Research that people with lower back pain often do believe that their pain correlate with the weather. The researchers did examine whether there is a link between the two and analyzed data from 1000 adults with lower back pain from the Sydney area for one year. The result is that they found no connection between weather and back pain symptoms.

Prof. Dr. Detlef Koempf, Neurologist at the German Neuroscience Center in Dubai, agrees with the Australian researchers. He disposes of extensive experience with back pain patients and worked in countries with extreme weather conditions, like Germany.  Prof. Koempf confirms that patients tend to connect the weather with the onset and severity of lower back pain. “Especially during the wintertime in Germany people are suffering from the cold and humidity,” says the Neurologist. “On days like these I saw significantly more patients with lower back pain.”

Weather does not trigger the onset of back pain

“Our findings refute previously held beliefs that certain common weather conditions increase risk of lower back pain,” Steffens said. They found out that only higher wind speed increased the odds of back pain by between 14 to 17 percent, though the effect is not really important in his opinion. However, Steffens pointed to the issue that their study took place in Sydney, which has a temperate climate so the collected results could vary from other countries with more extreme weather. Moreover he cautioned that other musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis may be affected by weather parameters though this hypothesis has not been well tested so far.

Nevertheless the specialists mentioned people suffering from lower back pain should not worry about the weather triggering their pain. It is known that nearly everybody suffers from lower back pain at some point in their lives. The researchers agreed that a healthy lifestyle, such as exercising and maintaining a healthy weight could prevent lower back pain.
source: Arthritis Care & Research, news release, July 10, 2014

© GNC, German Neuroscience Center Dubai (Neurology, Psychiatry, Psychology, Counseling, Dubai, UAE)