Does Bad Weather Really Mean More Joint Pain?

Your grandma may have sworn her arthritis was due to that storm “a-brewin’,” or perhaps you think the cold weather is to blame for your aching back, but is it really true? Scientists have attempted to study this over the years and have arrived at conflicting conclusions. A 2019 British study found that days with higher humidity, lower barometric pressure, and stronger winds are more likely associated with high pain days. On the other hand, a 2014 Australian study found that there’s absolutely no relationship between body aches and the weather. While the scientists continue to debate this, many people living with joint pain swear that there’s a connection. Changes in barometric pressure, rather than the barometric pressure itself, may be to blame. When the pressure is decreasing — a precursor to bad weather — there is less air pressure on our bodies, which allows tissues to swell slightly, irritating joints. It also might be that on cold or rainy days, people are less active, and joint pain is often improved by exercise. If you combine results of the various studies, the general consensus is that cold, wet weather is the worst for inciting arthritis pain. Needless to say, we haven’t heard the last of this debate.