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Weathering the Pain

The connection between weather factors and aching bones is not all in your mind

SUNDAY, Nov. 16, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Remember how old Uncle Willy used to sit on the porch and carry on about how the aches in his bones told him when bad weather was on the way?

Many people with arthritis do believe that temperature, humidity, rain, wind, barometric pressure and sunshine are among the weather factors that affect the level of their arthritis pain, according to the Arthritis Research Campaign in the United Kingdom.

For example, many people with arthritis say that cold, damp weather can aggravate arthritis pain while warm, sunny weather lessens the ache.

However, despite extensive research into the issue, there is no conclusive association between weather and arthritis pain, according to the campaign.

Temperature seems to be a particular focus. When exposed to cold, many people with arthritis say they feel worse while those in warm settings have fewer pain complaints.

Then there's barometric pressure. Research does indicate that barometric pressure influences arthritis symptoms, the campaign's information sheet says.

One of the problems of studying the weather-arthritis connection is that different forms of arthritis seem to respond differently to weather changes.

But the campaign says some things are clear. Good or bad weather doesn't have a negative or positive effect on the long-term outcome of a person's arthritis. And weather doesn't actually cause any rheumatic diseases.

More information

To learn more about cold and arthritis, go to the Arthritis Foundation.

SOURCE: Arthritis Research Campaign
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