The weather doesn’t affect back pain it would seem… this is according to researchers at The George Institute in Sydney, Australia. Although they haven’t officially published their research yet, they have issued a press release with the headlines of their findings (I could only access the whole article if I paid $6, so I thought I’d wait until it was officially published and I’d get it for free). The abstract is freely available here.
I haven’t been to Sydney, but if you google “weather patterns Sydney”, you’ll find it’s described as a “Mediterranean” climate. So, I’m not sure that they’re best-placed to determine whether changes in weather trigger back pain. What do you think? There is other research evidence which certainly indicates that changes in temperature can exacerbate pain. However, let’s not overlook the importance of this study, which is hugely valuable if you’re trying to avoid back pain in future (- me too!).
The study set out to determine which factors increased the likelihood of you having an immediate flare-up of lower back pain. There were 999 participants (1 dropped out), and I suspect they will have drawn them from all sorts of backgrounds and all adult ages. The most useful findings were…
- Back pain is more likely to start in the morning – soon after getting up.
- Being distracted while performing a “task” massively increases the risk.
- Manual tasks involving awkward postures increase the risk.
- Lifting people or animals (especially wriggly ones) increases the risk.
- Heavy loads increase the risk (doh!).
- Being tired/fatigued increases the risk.
So, you have been warned. To minimise your risk of lower back pain, you should:
- wait until lunchtime before putting your socks and shoes on
- be more “mindful” when doing physical tasks – don’t multi-task (I knew it was bad for me)
- maintain perfect poise and balance
- tell wee Johnny to climb into the car seat himself
- dial 999 if Granny falls over
- “get a man in” for the heavy garden work
- get more sleep
If – despite all that – you still have a sore back – give us a ring!