health day reporter
WEDNESDAY, July 20, 2022 (HealthDay News) — It’s long been conventional wisdom that time does arthritis pain worse.
The issue has been studied over the years, with conflicting conclusions. But three recent studies found that the weather has some impact, said Dr Robert Shmerling, writing for the Harvard Health Blog.
In a study of 222 participants with hip arthritis, Dutch researchers found that patients reported slightly worse pain and stiffness when barometric pressure and humidity increased, but the weather effect was small.
Another study looked at weather-related symptoms in 800 European adults with hip arthritis, knee or hands. They reported increased pain and stiffness with higher humidity, especially in cold weather. In general, weather changes did not affect their symptoms.
Participants in a third study reported their chronic disease pain symptoms. Most of the 2,600 people had some type of arthritis. This study found “modest relationships” between pain and higher humidity, lower atmospheric pressure and higher wind speed.
Previous studies have looked at the impact of rain, humidity, and rising or falling barometric pressure. Humidity, temperature, precipitation and barometric pressure can all be involved, Shmerling said.
“After reviewing the studies, I don’t know how to respond to my patients who ask me why their symptoms reliably worsen when the weather is wet or raining, or when some other weather event occurs,” said said Shmerling in a news item from Harvard Health. Release. “I usually tell them that, first of all, I believe there is a link between the weather and cut symptoms, and second, researchers haven’t been able to determine what matters most about weather and arthritis symptoms or why there should be a connection.
It is also unclear whether it is useful to know the impact of the weather. New studies are unlikely to impact people with arthritis until weather conditions or internal environments can be precisely controlled.
Still, identifying a link can help understand the causes and mechanisms of arthritis symptoms, which could lead to better treatments or preventative strategies, Shmerling said.
“Furthermore, understanding why some people seem to feel worse under certain circumstances while others don’t notice any change [or even feel better] in these same environments could help us understand the subtle differences between types of arthritis or how individuals react to it,” he said.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on arthritis.
SOURCE: Harvard Health Blog, press release, June 22, 2020