Tuesday, July 28, 2015

There's a storm a'coming...

Arthritis and the weather have been linked for quite some time due to the reports from those afflicted experiencing them first hand. I am one of those who can tell when a rainstorm is coming. I experience bone deep grinding flare ups of pain. When this happens often enough you start to take note of patterns. What exacerbates your pain? What relieves it. I noted an increase in my pain during changes in the weather, specifically changes in humidity. I do not believe that this is an illusory correlation as stated in our book, Scientific Perspectives on Pseudoscience and the Paranormal by Timothy J. Lawson. The article referenced in the text (chapter 2)  is from 1996, and I do believe there have been some further investigations into these claims since then. In a recent longitudinal analysis done by Savage, McCormick, McDonald, Moore, Stevenson and Cairns published in 2014 in Rheumatology International they concluded that arthritis symptoms were significantly lower in sunny less humid conditions. A recent Tuft’s University study also noted there was an incremental increase in pain during barometric drops in pressure greater than 10 degrees. Scientific proof is still refuted though. Now it is a debate on specific “types” of arthritis that experience these changes, and determining which ones actually experience it. All I know is, when I start feeling the aches and pain in my knees and hands, I grab an umbrella...

Savage, E., Mccormick, D., Mcdonald, S., Moore, O., Stevenson, M., & Cairns, A. (2014). Does rheumatoid arthritis disease activity correlate with weather conditions? Rheumatology International, 35(5), 887-890.


  1. This is a very interesting post Kate. During my high school years I was a wrestler and was very active at it. After my junior years I started feeling some pain on my knees even when I’m just sitting down. After a few years after graduating I got it looked at by the doctor and it turns out I had a disease called the Osgood-Schlatter Disease. Which is just an overuse injury of the knee. Before I knew what this disease was, I was able to tell if it was about to rain. My knees would flare up and hurt. From that point on I believe that there was some type of correlation with rain and the pain I felt on my knees. After finally deciding to go ahead and surgically fix the problem. I have not felt any pain or flare up since then. So I totally believe that there was something about the climate that was making my knee hurt.

  2. I have heard this time and time again of people experiencing an increase or decrease in pain due to changes in the weather. I have even experienced this phenomena myself, which started around end of my high school baseball career. I was a starting pitcher for my team, and over time the wear and tear on my arm took a toll causing me to develop Osteoarthritis in my elbow. After experiencing random flare ups in pain that had no real explanation I started looking into the patterns as well. Sure enough even the smallest changes in the weather, especially on rainy days, would cause an increase in pain. The opposite would happen on nice sunny days with low humidity; I would experience a lower level of pain than normal. Therefore I would have to agree with Glenn and yourself that there is some type of correlation between the climate and the pain in my elbow. I have learned to bring an extra Advil with me if there is any chance of rain.