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Lower Back Pain No Longer Blamed On The Weather

In the past, there has been a correlation between joint and back pain, and the weather, whether it has to do with rainy skies or the pressure in the atmosphere, but recent studies have proven that this is not a contributing factor to those who are having problems with their lower backs. Tech Times expresses: “If your achy back is aching more when it's cold or rainy, it isn't because of the weather, or humidity or air pressure or temperature.”

The research was conducted in Australia, as researchers monitored acute lower back pain episodes and their findings argue with previously published information in Arthritis Care and Research, which is a journal of the ACR or American College of Rheumatology.

Research and Study Information

The World Health Organization reported that almost all human beings will experience some form of lower back pain in their life, as it has become one of the most common musculoskeletal pain types reported. Much of these reports tend to suggest that these pains in bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves have to do with changes in the weather, but Dr. Daniel Steffans of the George Institute for Global Health through the University of Sydney, located in Australia, feels that studies prove otherwise. Through the use of data collected from 993 patients from October 2011 to November 2012, and with weather data supplied from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, he and his team found that there was no association between back pain felt by patients and humidity, air pressure, wind or precipitation. The only weather that seemed to play the slightest role in the rising of pain was high wind gusts, but the level of pain reported was too minimal to be certain as to whether or not it was the wind that caused the elevated pain. Dr Steffans is quoted by Science Daily in saying: “Further investigation of the influence of weather parameters on symptoms associated with specific diseases such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis are needed.”

Future studies could also include weather related headache pain, and whether or not air pressure can create tension for those who suffer from migraines and other chronic pain conditions not related to the lower back.

How This Affects Patients In The United States

In the U.S. lower back pain has been suggested to be the second most usual neurological condition faced by the country. It is experienced by nearly every person at some point within their life span, whether it’s due to injury, illness, or gravity. All age groups, genders, and socioeconomic groups seem to have equal experiences with this form of pain, and research in the past has shown that back pain is the primary cause for work and finances lost due to injury. This means that more people call in sick to work, or take disability leave for back pain than for any other problem associated with pain or illness.

Headaches And The Weather

While back pain has been debunked as having little or nothing to do with the weather, headaches are still under discussion, as a paper published in the Journal of the International Headache society suggests that lightning storms and headaches have direct correlations. The study showed that there is a 31% change of gaining a headache when lightning has struck within 25 miles of your home or where you are currently residing. This connection has to do with the barometric pressure, and patients who were studied insinuated that they often felt as though they were a personal meteorologist due to their correct assumptions on weather conditions resulting from headaches; states: “Barometric pressure is another way of saying air pressure -- the weight of the air pressing against the surface of the Earth. During fair, sunny weather, more air is sinking down to the Earth, producing higher pressure.”

Uniquely, it seems that the opposite happens during low air pressure, when air rises into the atmosphere and clouds and rain appear. How these changes affects the pain that people feel during migraines is unknown at the moment, but the current assumption is that the pressure in the weather system causes pressure to build in or around sinuses and other areas of the head. Some researchers suggested that this might be an evolutionary trait that appeared to warn human beings of impending storms, while others feel it is just a coincidence relating to the change in temperature and other conditions that could cause problems with those who are fairly sensitive to begin with. Many of the patients who have found that headaches increase with weather changes also complained of allergies during seasonal changes, and if monitored, there also seems to be a link between seasonal changes and migraines as well as days get longer or shorter and bright light exposure can be a trigger for this type of pain.

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