Do your aches and pains feel worse when it rains? Well it would seem that there is a good chance that they really do. Experts are now investigating whether the weather really does affect illnesses such as arthritis, rheumatism, asthma and even migraine headaches.
Clinical Rheumatologist Dr Will Dixon states:
‘At almost every clinic I have, the patients say the weather affects their pain. But when you ask individual patients what it is about the weather, they have different answers. They might tell me that the (air) pressure affects their joints, or it’s because it’s damp.’
Pressure on Joints
Research has found that temperature or barometric pressure can activate joint pain and that for each 10 degree drop (or increase) in temperature, pain levels are often exacerbated accordingly. Experiments even showed that air pressure can shift skeletal joints off balance, causing a great deal of pain.
Asthma – Storms Trigger Attacks
Asthma is also thought to be adversely affected by weather, namely thunderstorms. It was often thought that these ‘washed’ pollutants out of the air, enabling sufferers to breathe more easily, but it is now thought that thunderstorms, particularly windy ones can cause pollen to break up into smaller pieces that are easier to inhale. Lightning can set off chemical reactions in pollutants that can set off an attack. Climatologists and epidemiologists examined 41 hospital records taken over a 12 year period and found that there were exceptionally higher emergency admissions for asthma patients on the day after a thunderstorm – especially those that were wet and windy.
The weather can set off migraine headaches, it is thought, although it would seem that this is a more variable outcome. Studies have shown that some people were affected by hot, humid weather and others by cold, dry weather.
Now people are being asked to participate in a new survey by using their mobile phones to record their pain details. All they have to do is download an app and type in a score for their symptoms each evening. This data will be recorded throughout 2016 and should be completed by mid 2017.
If you are over 17 and have arthritis or other chronic pain and have a smartphone, just visit www.cloudywithachanceofpain.com to find out how to participate.