Are bad weather and back pain related? See what the British Medical Journal says about this common belief.

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See the source imageAre bad weather and back pain related? See what the British Medical Journal (BMJ) says about this common belief. Many of us as we age notice that some days we are more achy than others.   It is widely assumed that bad weather may aggravate chronic conditions such as arthritis, joint dysfunction and back pain. It is assumed that high barometric pressure causes tissues and cells in the body to swell, resulting in more pain as the weather changes, according to a Web MD article by Katherine Kam. This past December, the BMJ released a retrospective claims analysis study on the relationship between the weather phenomenon many of us assume to be true and medical claims.  Their findings differed since they hypothesized that patients who are in pain would have visited doctors more often than those who were not affected by the weather. Their conclusion, was that according to claims data, there was no relationship between rain or inclement weather and patients visiting the doctor more often.  They do also suggest that "A relation may still exist, and therefore larger, more detailed data on disease severity and pain would be useful to support the validity of this commonly held belief."  You can read the synopsis of this study here (1). Is there a relationship between the weather and how you feel?  Do doctors offices see more patients in pain on bad weather days? In our chiropractic office, damp days are good for business and it seems that more patients call in pain on those days. While there is no conclusive proof that bad weather and pain is related, at my age of 58, I commiserate with our patients in pain on those days as I am also affected by the weather. Typically, I notice the change before the bad weather arrives due to the change in barometric pressure.  How about you? 1. BMJ 2017;359:j5326 (Published 13 December 2017)