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Weather not to blame for aches and pains

AAP logoAAP 21/12/2016

Blaming the weather for making your aches and pains worse is a waste of time as it has no effect whatsoever, medical researchers have discovered.

A study of more than 1000 Australians with lower back pain or osteoarthritis in their knees found that changes in temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind and rain had no impact on their conditions.

Professor Chris Maher, of the Sydney-based George Institute for Global Health, said links between bad weather and pain can be traced back to Roman times.

"But our research suggests this belief may be based on the fact that people recall events that confirm their pre-existing views," he said.

"Human beings are very susceptible, so it's easy to see why we might only take note of pain on the days when it's cold and rainy outside, but discount the days when they have symptoms but the weather is mild and sunny."

Professor Maher said the institute carried out the study following a public backlash over a research paper published in 2014 which said that sudden, acute episodes of low back pain were not linked to weather conditions.

For the latest study, researchers recruited almost 1000 people with lower back pain and about 350 with knee osteoarthritis.

Using data from the Bureau of Meteorology, they compared what the weather was like when patients first noticed pain as well as one week and one month before.

But they couldn't find any links could be found between back pain and temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind direction or precipitation.

Higher temperatures were found to slightly increase the chances of lower back pain, but the researchers said the rise was not significant.

Their studies were published in the American Academy of Pain Medicine and Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.

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