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Weather patterns can influence pain, new study finds

Friday, June 19th 2020, 9:01 am - Weather can not only impact your mood, but it could also be a source of pain, a new study finds.

The age-old question that causes debate - can the weather influence pain? A new study out of the UK says, “yes”.

“Three-quarters of people believe that the weather affects their pain or they suffer from pain,” says meteorologist and professor David Schultz.

The study titled “Cloudy with a Chance of Pain”, asked people to track their pain and activity levels through an app. This was connected to GPS data that allowed researchers to accurately track weather patterns at the time of pain.

Adding this layer of new technology is said to have set this study apart from others. Not only was it effectively gathering data but it was also easy to use, with most people being able to complete their results in 30 seconds.

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Credit: The University of Manchester, Cloudy with a Chance of Pain Credit: The University of Manchester, Cloudy with a Chance of Pain

The size of the study was also impressive, with over 10,000 people taking part.

“This study is better than all the rest because we have collected the data continuously over 15 months, which is relatively long compared to other studies that have been published in the literature,” says Schultz.

What did the study reveal?

  • Relative humidity had the strongest link to more painful days
  • Low pressure and high wind speeds also linked to more pain
  • Cool days seemed to be more painful if the winds were strong
  • On damp windy days, pain was 20% more likely compared to a day with average weather

The study also found very strong connections to pressure changes and pain.

“I took the weather patterns on low pain days and the high pain days, averaged them together, and what we saw was the pressure pattern was very distinctive. On the high pain days, there was a big low-pressure system over top of the UK. And likewise on low pain days, there is a big high-pressure anomaly sitting over the UK,” explains Schultz.

Credit: University of Manchester, Cloudy With a Chance of Pain 2 Credit: The University of Manchester, Cloudy With a Chance of Pain

The team will continue to analyze their data in order to better understand how weather patterns affect pain.

Watch the video above to see our interview with the studies lead Meteorologist David Schultz.

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Thumbnail courtesy: Getty Images

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