Acute low back pain? Do not blame the weather - a case-crossover study

Keira Beilken, Mark J. Hancock, Chris G. Maher, Qiang Li, Daniel Steffens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate the influence of various weather parameters on the risk of developing a low back pain (LBP) episode.

Design: Case-crossover study.

Setting: Primary care clinics in Sydney, Australia.

Subjects: 981 participants with a new episode of acute LBP.

Methods: Weather parameters were obtained from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were derived comparing two exposure variables in the case window-(1) the average of the weather variable for the day prior to pain onset and (2) the change in the weather variable from 2 days prior to 1 day prior to pain onset-with exposures in two control windows (1 week and 1 month before the case window).

Results: The weather parameters of precipitation, humidity, wind speed, wind gust, wind direction, and air pressure were not associated with the onset of acute LBP. For one of the four analyses, higher temperature slightly increased the odds of pain onset.

Conclusions: Common weather parameters that had been previously linked to musculoskeletal pain, such as precipitation, humidity, wind speed, wind gust, wind direction, and air pressure, do not increase the risk of onset for LBP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1139-1144
Number of pages6
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue number6
Early online date15 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017



  • low back pain
  • weather
  • meteorology
  • case-crossover design
  • epidemiology
  • risk factors

Cite this