“It is going to rain; I can feel it in my bones!” My grandfather used to say that all the time. Everyone has heard their grandparents or parents say things similar to this statement; or even said it yourself. The question is does it truly hold water?
Well, according to the research of John Hopkins Health Alerts, the weather change does affect the pain of arthritis. In one study, they looked at 151 people with different forms of arthritis and 32 people without any symptoms of arthritis. These patients were required to keep a journal every day of any presence of pain in their joints for one year.
The journals were then compared to the weather for each day including; temperature, barometric pressure and humidity levels. It was consistent that with the weather change, the patients experienced more pain than those that did not have arthritis. It was also observed that the type of arthritis that the patient had would reveal different results with different weather changes.
In a second study, a group of 153 Floridians with an average age of 72 years old, all with osteoarthritis of the neck, arm, shoulder, and hand. This study did not reveal a significant rise in pain except for when the barometric pressure dropped the women tended to feel more pain in their hands.
So, the association with the drop in air pressure, which is associated with cold, rainy weather, does seem to have some effect on the pain that arthritis suffers feel.
In 400 B.C., Hippocrates, the Greek “Father of Medicine”, stated that the change in weather conditions had a large effect on our bodies and how we felt. Now here we are a couple thousand years later and still having this same debate. Some medical professionals are adamant that the weather has no affect on our bodies yet some believe it does.
In the 1960’s, Dr. J. Hollander, did a study to try to prove that the drop in barometric pressure would make the joints to swell, pressing on nerves, causing pain. This study was rebuked due to the fact that he only used 12 patients.
The air is more humid right before the rain. When the air is humid outside, it tends to be hotter. When it’s hotter, we sweat. When we sweat, our bodies start retaining water as a survival technique. When our body retains water, our ankles and hands swell. And, when our joints swell, they press on the already inflamed areas and create more pain. So, it can be concluded that when the weather changes, it does in fact cause some kind of changes in our bodies that cause more arthritis pain.
When the temperature drops, our bodies tend to shiver to keep warm. This is another survival technique. When our body starts to shiver, our joints are going to move together and stiffen from the vibration of the shivering. Yet this is another reason why weather changes could be proven to affect our bodies and cause more arthritis pain.