Rain may make aches and pains worse, experts have discovered.
A study by the University of Manchester found a link between weather conditions and changes in pain levels for those with chronic conditions.
Researchers studied 9,000 people suffering chronic pain – such as arthritis , back problems and migraines – who then logged their symptoms every day via a smartphone app.
As well as monitoring the weather conditions every hour, the app also helped scientists to match the weather to how much pain the people are feeling.
Researchers found that 100 participants in three cities – Leeds, Norwich and London – reported that as the number of sunny days increased from February to June this year, the amount of time they experienced severe pain fell.
And when there was a period of wet weather in June and fewer hours of sunlight, the level of pain increased once again.
The 18-month research project, called Cloudy With A Chance Of Pain, is currently at the halfway stage.
But its initial findings are being reported at the British Science Festival, which takes place in Swansea this week.
Professor Will Dixon, who treats people with arthritis at Salford Royal hospital, and is leading the research, said: We have long heard anecdotal evidence about how people with chronic conditions say they suffer more when the weather is bad – a lot of my patients tell me that they can predict the weather based on how they are feeling.
But amazingly there has never really been any real research into it – even though that around 28 million people in the UK suffer from some form of chronic pain.
Our early results have been encouraging so far … and I think there is definitely a possible link.
In terms of physiology, it makes sense that air pressure, which can affect weather, would influence pain – particularly in arthritis.
However, while Professor Dixon is pleased with the study’s progress to date, he hopes that more people will take part – and the findings could help manage their conditions better.
He added: Once the link is proven, people will have the confidence to plan their activities in accordance with the weather.
In addition, understanding how weather influences pain will allow medical researchers to explore new pain interventions and treatments.
To work out the details of how weather influences pain, we need as many people as possible to participate in the study and track their symptoms on their smartphone.
Anyone interested in the project can sign up online at cloudywithachanceofpain.com .
News Source MirrorNews