Weather sensitivity is a myth – health

You hear and read it again and again: Grandma feels it in her arthritic knee when a thunderstorm approaches. That your back hurts as soon as a low pressure area approaches your home. But apparently the idea that muscles and joints are sensors for changes in the weather does not hold true, as a current meta-analysis shows.

For this work, Australian researchers led by Manuela Ferreira from the University of Sydney evaluated eleven studies from seven different countries. Around 15,000 people were included who suffered from muscle or bone diseases such as rheumatism or back pain. In most of the papers evaluated, the patients’ symptoms were observed over a long period of time. Other included studies evaluated doctor visits and hospital admissions. Any signs that the patients’ suffering was worsening were compared with the weather data for the respective period.

Overall, the studies showed no connection between greater pain and specific weather conditions. Neither humidity nor air pressure, neither temperatures nor precipitation revealed any pattern that correlated with greater pain in the knees, hips or back, the journal found Seminars in arthritis and rheumatism published work.

High temperatures could promote gout attacks

The authors qualified that there were only a few extreme situations and hardly any massive changes in the weather data evaluated. This does not mean that it cannot be ruled out that major changes in the weather could perhaps have an influence on the orthopedic complaints.

The team also found a possible exception. A study showed that high temperatures and very dry air double the risk of a gout attack. The disease is caused by small uric acid crystals that build up in joints. The authors suspect that this process may be facilitated when people become dehydrated at very high temperatures.

The team does not want its refutation of a medical myth to be seen as an end in itself. It also combines the work with a reminder to patients to rely more heavily on evidence when dealing with their conditions: “In the search for pain prevention and relief, both patients and physicians should focus on how best to manage the condition “Getting the hang of it, including weight management and exercise, and not focusing on the weather and letting it influence treatment,” says lead author Manuela Ferreira in a press release.

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