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What it means when your bones ache on rainy days


woman touching her painful knee while sitting on a white sofa

Credit:123RF

Remember how your back aches when it rains? Or when you “know” it’s going to rain just by the way your joints feel?

Well, the notion that certain symptoms and the weather go hand in hand has been an age-old adage which has endured over the centuries till the present.

Many people believe that changes in weather conditions—including increases in humidity, rainfall, or barometric pressure—lead to worsening joint or back pain, particularly among those suffering from arthritis.

The findings of this study suggest that there is no meaningful link between rainy days and joint pain. Overall 6.35 percent of the outpatients included reports of pain on rainy days while 6.39 percent were pain reports on dry days.

However, a new study which investigated the relation between rainfall and achy joints found that no such correlation exists and that rainy weather has been unjustly blamed for painful joints and back pains.

The study examines Medicare records of more than 11 million primary care outpatient visits by older Americans between 2008 and 2012.

The researchers asked many questions regarding their patients in relation to joint pain, such as – Did more patients seek care for back pain or joint pain when it rained or following periods of rainy days? Were patients who went to the doctor for other reasons more likely to also report aching backs or knee pains around rainy days? Did patients complain about joint pain when there were several rainy days in a row?

The researchers also asked if patients with prior diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis reported more pain.

The findings of this study suggest that there is no meaningful link between rainy days and joint pain. Overall 6.35 percent of the outpatients included reports of pain on rainy days while 6.39 percent were pain reports on dry days.

There was no significant sign of the effect for researchers to conclude otherwise.

The researchers explain that the human brain is good at findings patterns which can be quite self-fulfilling and if you expect your bones to ache when it rains but it doesn’t, then you will tend to forget about it. However, if it does hurt when it rains, you are more than likely to remember that and that belief stays strong in your mind.

While no conclusive evidence was found to suggest that joint paint is correlated to weather changes, there may still be a relation and therefore larger, more detailed data is needed on disease severity and pain to support the validity of this commonly held belief.

So the next time you feel that old pain coming back remember it has nothing to do with the rainy weather.

Source: BMJ



 

Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!