What Is The Connection Between the Weather and Pain?

The sky is bright blue and clear, but your joints are beginning to flare up with arthritic pain.

Can a storm be brewing? You can feel it in your very bones, but it’s hard to convince others that this is not simply a myth.

Can joint pains actually anticipate changes in the weather?

Many people blame increased pain on the weather. Who hasn’t got an aunt or grandmother who reported a knee or ankle joint flaring up due to a change in the weather? Or an uncle with an old injury that is ‘playing up’ because the weather is changing?

Amongst the many individuals surveyed regarding chronic pain, nearly 70% replied that they were certain that the weather had a definite affect on their pain. Many of them revealed that they could in fact feel changes in their bodies even prior to the climate changing. Quite simply, they became aware of higher pain levels the day before a storm.

Just how is it possible that weather conditions can trigger pain?

It is common for joint pain to begin even prior to the first raindrop falling. If you listened to Grandma or somebody who has rheumatoid arthritis, and they informed you that, according to their pain levels, it was about to rain, you would find that usually, they were absolutely correct.

Although there is no complete agreement amongst researchers that weather conditions can actually cause pain, there are some credible theories why this does occur.

A popular theory points to shifts in barometric pressure. Whilst numerous individuals assert that their pain increases with rainy weather, research shows that it is not freezing weather, wind, rainfall, or snow that affects sufferers most. What actually affects pain sufferers significantly is barometric pressure levels.

Barometric pressure is actually the weight of the air all around us. And barometric pressure levels usually drop right before bad weather takes effect. This reduced atmospheric pressure exerts less pressure on the body, causing tissues to expand and placing added pressure on the joints.

As a result of this swelling or enlargement internally (the body may either expand or contract because of external pressure level changes) this will impact on exactly how pain is actually signaled to the brain.

Although the connection between pain and climate shifts continues to be theoretical (there are those who assert that the weather does not affect their pain in any way) as far as I am concerned, my money is on Grandma: her arthritic weather barometer was far more accurate about forecasting the weather than any weather forecast in the media.

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Updated: June 14, 2013 — 3:06 pm

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