Back Pain And Weather: Is There A Link Between The Two?

Many people who suffer from osteoarthritis and chronic back pain report that they experience more intense pain with the onset of cold winter weather. Many patients spontaneously make the connection between back pain and weather. But has this link been scientifically established? Here are some answers.

A link long disputed by science

The link between back pain and weather has been a subject of scientific debate for many years.

Researchers looked at the issue in 2014, 2016 and 2017 without finding a proven causal link between the onset of cold weather and increased back pain.

So scientists have long claimed that the idea that winter is the worst season for back pain sufferers is just a popular belief... although they had also failed to prove no causal link!

A 2019 study changed the game

A study conducted at the University of Manchester and published in the scientific journal Nature in 2019 has shed new light on this debate. According to this more recent study, there is indeed a link between back pain and weather, but the increase in pain has nothing to do with falling temperatures and cold weather.

According to researchers at the University of Manchester, the likelihood of increased joint pain is 20% higher on wet and windy days than on average throughout the year.

Contrary to popular belief, then, you shouldn't dread the cold but rather bad weather days combining rain and wind.

How to prevent back pain in winter?

For patients with chronic back pain, the main benefit of the 2019 study is to help them better plan their activities.

Now that you know the connection between back pain and weather, you too can get better organized based on the weather forecast in your city.

If you need to do activities that could trigger pain like DIY work, for example, schedule them on days when the weather is more favorable, i.e. sunny and windless.

Also, many doctors agree that the reason patients complain more about back pain in the winter is because this season is accompanied by a decrease in physical activity.

When the weather is bad, people get out of the house less and move around less, and this inactivity is thought to be the real cause of the increased pain.

Therefore, if you want to prevent back pain, you need to continue to be active even when it is cold and/or gray outside.

However, let's make it clear that in order to benefit from this preventive effect, you don't need to exert much effort. All you need to do is cover up and go out for a walk or choose an active hobby like gardening or cooking rather than sitting in front of a screen.

Author: Audrey
Copyright image: Amy Gatenby on Unsplash
Tags: PAIN, COLD, winter, Manchester, chronic, causal, CITY, Trigger, diy, sunny, physical activity, Back pain, hobby, weather forecast, wind, Rain, joint pain, light, Nature, scientific journal, osteoarthritis, gardening,
In French: Mal de dos et météo : y a-t-il un lien entre les deux ?
En español: Dolor de espalda y clima: ¿existe una relación entre ambos?
In italiano: Mal di schiena e meteo: esiste un legame tra le due cose?
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