By Kennedy Shelley
Do you have a relative who predicts the weather by how their knee feels?
You know the one, “there must be a storm coming, my knee hurts.”
They may be more right than you think according to a new study.
Certain types of weather do affect arthritis pain according to scientists at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.
The combination of bariatric pressure, humidity, and wind all affect arthritic pain. These are also key indicators of weather change.
While this has been anecdotally considered for years, these scientists tracked pain by giving a smartphone app to 2600 patients and then looked at the weather to see if there was a link.
The study had a great name “Partially Cloudy with a Chance of Pain” and tracked them for a year and a half.
The prestigious journal Nature picked up the story giving this hypothesis real credibility.
The results showed that there was a link, albeit modest, between mood, physical activity, and pain correlating to these weather variables.
The study not only vindicates those who claim their shoulder pain predicts a storm, but it also may help physicians better manage pain due to weather changes too.
Hippocrates noticed a link between weather and well-being over 2000 years ago, but it was dismissed as being all in the pain sufferer’s head in more modern times.
Part of the reason why there was no scientific consensus and the complaints were dismissed was because the evidence was always based on studies with small sample sizes and the results were inconclusive because some had flair ups when the weather got sunny and warm and others when it was cloudy and cold.
But nearly three-quarters of those living with arthritis pain believed that the weather affected their pain level, but scientists and doctors didn’t believe them.
One study tried to debunk the idea by putting arthritis sufferers in an elevator.
Going up 20 or more stories would affect barometric pressure and the sudden change in air pressure didn’t affect pain levels, so complaints were dismissed.
But when more variables were tracked with a bigger sample size, the arthritis patients have been vindicated.
It wasn’t just arthritis patients studied. People with fibromyalgia, migraines, neuropathy were also studied. And chronic pain is affected by the weather.
This may lead to “Pain Forecasts” in the local news along with the allergy and air quality reports. This is actually highly practical.
Why do work that requires high levels of concentration when you know that the weather is likely to distract you with a higher level of pain?
This study gives chronic pain suffers some level of vindication and more control of the management of their pain and their lives.
Living with chronic pain affects every aspect of your life including family relationships.
If you know you are more likely to be distracted by higher levels of pain, you can plan and warn those who are in your life that this may be a problem.