Does Weather Affect Pain?

You’ve likely heard someone express that they can feel bad weather in their bones, or that their knees begin to ache more on rainy days. Is there any truth to these old sayings? There have been a few new findings by scientists that indicate there may be some truth to those statements after all.

What does science say about weather and pain? 

Recent studies have found that weather may have an impact on the level of pain some individuals experience. It’s said that as much as 75% of people that have chronic pain conditions such as arthritis, feel as though the weather has a direct impact on their pain levels. 

Some people noted that the pain they experienced was worse whenever the weather became cold, while others said warm, humid conditions seemed to trigger their pain. Many also found that rainy weather tended to make their pain worse. 

A group of researchers at the University of Manchester wanted to find out how true these claims were and whether or not an individual can experience higher levels of pain that correlated with the weather. The study lasted for 15 months and included over 13,000 residents within the UK that lived with chronic pain conditions. 

The study was called “Cloudy with a Chance of Pain”. During the study, participants were asked to record their daily pain intensity through an app on their smartphones. The GPS in their phones would link to the data for their local weather.

The researchers then analyzed over 5.1 million pain reports and compared the results with each individual to the weather on the days that the user reported experiencing higher levels of pain. They also looked at the days that the participants reported no increases. 

What the researchers found was quite interesting. They found that on days where the humidity was higher with lower pressure levels and stronger winds, the participants did report having higher pain levels. The result was found to be consistent across the participants and in alignment with what the participants believed. 

The results also appear to be in agreement with an older study done in 2002, which took a look at the influence of weather on patients living with rheumatic pain in Cordoba City, Argentina. The objective of the study was to correlate different climate variables with the patients’ level of pain, or weather-sensitivity, to determine whether or not there was any connection between the two. 

The researchers were able to conclude that low temperatures, high atmospheric pressure, and higher levels of humidity were significantly correlated with pain. Ultimately, the results showed that weather did in fact have an influence on pain for many individuals that claimed to be affected by it.