How to alleviate your bad-weather joint pain

A new study attempts to show that bad weather doesn’t affect joint pain. But I have serious questions about the study’s design, so let’s take a closer look…

For this investigation, researchers looked at Medicare records for more than 1.5 million patients with arthritis totaling to about 11 million doctor visits between 2008 and 2012. The researchers matched the doctor visit dates to local rainfall data, as reported by U.S. weather stations.

Overall, the patients were equally as likely on either a sunny or rainy day to report joint pain during their doctor visits.

But the researchers seemed to sense their data wasn’t ironclad and admitted, “This is not to say a relationship does not exist.”


Four reasons for doubt

I have several concerns about the validity of these findings…

First, the patients went to see the doctor for all kinds of different reasons. And not just because of their joint pain.

Second, we don’t know from the study’s design whether the doctors specifically asked about joint pain.

Third, most doctor visits are scheduled well in advance. So, even if the patient does experience joint pain during stormy weather, it’s not likely that a storm will be occurring at the time of their appointment, so the doctor can examine it.

Fourth, many people, especially older people, with arthritis and joint pain, are less likely to go out when the weather is bad and they’re in acute pain. Furthermore, they may actually cancel a doctor’s appointment when they’re feeling joint pain!

In my view, this study has some fundamental flaws. And other well-designed studies show that almost two-thirds of men and women with osteoarthritis report that precipitation, increases in barometric pressure, and cold temperatures cause pain and stiffness in their joints. Some people swear they can even feel a storm coming in their arthritic joints. Or in joints where they’ve had surgery

Turns out, their experiences aren’t just phantom pain. There’s actually something to them…

Changes in air pressure cause joint pain

As I reported previously, scientists at my alma mater, University of Pennsylvania, conducted the first real scientific research into this phenomenon back in 1960. Penn had an environmental physiology laboratory for studying high-altitude (low pressure) for the Air Force and undersea (high pressure) for the Navy.

In a large, controlled barometric chamber, Penn scientists studied the effects of humidity and atmospheric pressure. They discovered that arthritis patients felt worse when subjected to a combination of increased humidity and falling pressure.

Of course, other studies I’ve seen show that higher pressure also aggravated symptoms. So, it’s led me to believe that changes in pressure contribute to joint pain. And patient reports seem to support this theory.

I think of it this way…

When your joints are inflamed, they swell and irritate your joint tissues. And when weather pressure changes, it changes the pressure surrounding the joint. This change in pressure may further aggravate sensitive joints.

Of course, some modern medical experts still just shrug their shoulders when their patients complain about the weather increasing their pain. But maybe they should consult their old classes in geophysics and earth sciences. Or even their medical history textbooks.

Hundreds of years ago, physicians paid a lot of attention to the weather. In fact, when I served as a resident physician at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia — the nations’ first hospital, established by Benjamin Franklin in 1752 — we kept the original, large ledger book in which we recorded the cause of death of every patient who had ever died in the hospital. The only data recorded were name, age, cause of death, and the prevailing weather conditions at the time/day of death.

Colonial physicians in early America routinely recorded the weather conditions at the time of the patient’s death. And they believed environmental conditions, including bad air (translated as “mal aria”), had a profound effect.

To help relieve joint pain, I recommend my ABCs of joint health — ashwagandha, boswellia, and curcumin (400 to 500 mg of each daily). Taken together, they work even better at reducing inflammation and supporting natural joint repair.

Get started on a daily ABC joint regimen now, so you’ll be ready for the first big storm of spring.

To learn more about my drug-free plan for easing and eliminating arthritis pain, check out my Arthritis Relief and Reversal Protocol. <a href=”{emailaddress}”>Simply click here to learn more or enroll today</a>.



“Association between rainfall and diagnoses of joint or back pain: retrospective claims analysis,” BMJ 2017;359:j5326