It is well known that more
than 60% of patients with RA believe that their pain is affected by the
weather. Most of the explanations are
psychological. The belief that rain causes pain makes the patient pay
much more attention to to pain. The patients doesn't so
much notice sunny days with pain and as much as rainy days without pain. There
could also be a mood-pain link
For example, rainy days generally may make the patient feel depressed, and that
the gloomy mood somehow will lower the pain threshold.
New studies reveal that a bio-physiological impact of weather factors
on the body (in some individuals) cannot be ruled out.
This impact may be independent of
the aforementioned psychological explanations. A systematic review of available
studies that explored the association between weather variables and severity of
pain in RA was done. Nine studies were included. Temperature, relative humidity and atmospheric pressure were the three
weather variables extensively studied.
The results are puzzling.
Evidences suggests that there is no relationship between three single weather
variables (temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure) and pain in patients
with RA. It has however been suggested that a
small proportion of patients are weather sensitive. The patients differed as to
which variables they responded to and in which direction. Though the research
has been first of its kind but it is not devoid of limitations. Extensive
studies are hence solicited so that the associated ambiguity can be ended.
So the next time your granny says
that it might rain when her joint pain gets worse, don't
just grin at her. She might be true! Let us wait for better scientific
: European Journal of Pain