Health briefs: Study finds no link between weather, back pain

  • Updated: July 26, 2014 - 3:00 PM

your back can’t tell it’s raining

Many people think the weather affects their back pain, but a new study shows they are probably wrong.

Australian researchers studied 993 cases of sudden, acute back pain in primary care clinics in 2011 and 2012. The study found no association of temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure or precipitation with episodes of pain. Wind speed and gusts were associated with a slight increase in the risk of back pain, but the effect was not clinically significant. The authors drew no conclusions about the effect of weather on arthritis, fibromyalgia or other diseases.

doctors warn against niacin use

New details from two studies reveal more side effects from niacin, a drug that hundreds of thousands of Americans take for cholesterol problems and general heart health.

The studies’ bottom line — that it didn’t help prevent heart problems any more than statins alone do — had been announced. Some of the side effect information, including a troubling rise in deaths among niacin users, also was known but many doctors have been waiting for full details. Those details are in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study suggests that “for every 200 people that we treat with niacin, there is one excess death,” plus higher rates of bleeding, infections and other problems — “a completely unacceptable level” of harm, said Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones of Northwestern University in Chicago. “Niacin should not be used routinely in clinical practice at all.”

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