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Low pressure weather linked to chronic pain

Wednesday May 20th, 2020

A new study has investigated the widespread belief that the weather influences our health, in particular, that it can worsen chronic pain.

Previous studies have been inconclusive - some have found a strong link while others have found no association.

So a nationwide study was undertaken, led by Professor David Schultz of the University of Manchester, UK. The ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Pain’ study monitored 10,584 people with chronic pain over 15 months.

Pain reports were analysed together with climatology information. This showed that “the daily weather was associated with a prevalence of high pain and low pain across the population,” report the authors in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society recently.

“Compared to other similar citizen-science studies, our retention of participants was substantially better, with 15% still entering data nearly every day after 200 days,” they write.

“Specifically, our results indicate that the top 10% of days with a high percentage of participants (about 20%) experiencing a pain event were associated with below-normal pressure, above-normal humidity, higher precipitation rate, and stronger wind.

“In contrast, the bottom 10% of days with a small percentage of participants (about 10%) experiencing a pain event were associated with above-normal pressure, below-normal humidity, lower precipitation rate, and weaker wind.”

They conclude that low pressure, and its accompanying weather, is associated with more pain.

Dr Schultz said: “Previous researchers have treated the different measures of the weather such as pressure, temperature, humidity separately, which assumes that one could vary the temperature while holding all of the other weather measures fixed. Of course, the real atmosphere does not behave like this.”

He added that these insights might help towards improving the treatment, management, and forecasting of pain.

Schultz, D. M. et al. Weather patterns associated with pain in chronic-pain sufferers. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 6 May 2020; doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-19-0265.1

Tags: Pain Relief | UK News

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