Rheumatology International

, Volume 36, Issue 5, pp 679–684 | Cite as

Does weather affect daily pain intensity levels in patients with acute low back pain? A prospective cohort study

  • Vicky Duong
  • Chris G. Maher
  • Daniel Steffens
  • Qiang Li
  • Mark J. Hancock
Original Article - Public Health


The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of various weather parameters on pain intensity levels in patients with acute low back pain (LBP). We performed a secondary analysis using data from the PACE trial that evaluated paracetamol (acetaminophen) in the treatment of acute LBP. Data on 1604 patients with LBP were included in the analysis. Weather parameters (precipitation, temperature, relative humidity, and air pressure) were obtained from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Pain intensity was assessed daily on a 0–10 numerical pain rating scale over a 2-week period. A generalised estimating equation analysis was used to examine the relationship between daily pain intensity levels and weather in three different time epochs (current day, previous day, and change between previous and current days). A second model was adjusted for important back pain prognostic factors. The analysis did not show any association between weather and pain intensity levels in patients with acute LBP in each of the time epochs. There was no change in strength of association after the model was adjusted for prognostic factors. Contrary to common belief, the results demonstrated that the weather parameters of precipitation, temperature, relative humidity, and air pressure did not influence the intensity of pain reported by patients during an episode of acute LBP.


Low back pain Weather Pain intensity Cohort study 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vicky Duong
    • 1
  • Chris G. Maher
    • 2
  • Daniel Steffens
    • 2
  • Qiang Li
    • 2
  • Mark J. Hancock
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health Professions, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Musculoskeletal Division, The George Institute for Global HealthThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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