A rainy 4th of July, and whether or not your grandmother (or you) really can predict the weather
Posted by Dr. Liz Sims, PT - Redpoint Physical Therapy, Plymouth, MA
Kind of a bummer about the Plymouth parade and fireworks getting rained out. I hope you all made the best of the long weekend and are feeling relaxed today! I spent much of Friday in my living room, enjoying the sound of rain and thunder roll through my farmer's porch windows - one of my favorite summer activities.
Of course, the rain got me to thinking about those of you with aches and pains. Did you ever wonder if there was any truth to being able to predict the rain with your achy joints? The research is somewhat inconclusive, but here are some of the bigger and more recent studies on the topic:
A large study done in 2002 showed that weather changes had minimal to no effect on joint pain in middle-aged exercisers.
This study shows that both ambient temperature and barometric pressure each have some affect on joint pain in patients with osteoarthritis.
A recent article showed an inverse relationship between air pressure and inflammation of joints for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Another large study done in 2013 shows that the majority of older people with osteoarthritis believe that their pain is affected by weather.
There are other diagnoses that claim to worsen with changes in barometric pressure. This small study on women with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia did not show a strong link.
Researchers have had a hard time proving the link between pain and weather, but most of us know someone who is consistently able to tell you a storm is coming. I can confirm that my "painful" patients feel generally more awful just before a big storm (so, take THAT, researchers!).
Whether or not you do a better job than weather forecasters, exercise has been proven to keep your joints moving. I get asked most often for hand exercises, so here are a few for you:
What do you think? Do your joints predict the weather? Do you have some other superpower I should talk about next week...? ;)