One of the ideas commonly used in movies is the idea that there’s a connection between damp weather and joint pain. An inspector studying a woodworm infestation might feel a slight twinge in his leg, after which he’ll proclaim prophetically that it will be raining that night. Or some wizened individual wandering around her basement might say that a storm is coming, a conclusion she reached thanks to the aching of her joints. When characters say this type of thing in movies, audience members barely bat an eye. But is there really a connection between aching joints and the weather? Or is this just a myth?
The reality, as with many other things, is somewhat messy. Research and studies have previously been conducted in order to determine with greater scientific certainty whether there is, in fact, a link between changes in the weather and the pain that people feel. In some results, weather changes did appear to have a correlation with pain while, in others, there did not appear to be any such connection. Given these mixed results, it becomes difficult to make a conclusion one way or the other. However, even if the science remains uncertain, there are a number of working hypotheses at play here.
One hypothesis is centred on changes in barometric pressure, since changes in the surrounding weather are accompanied by changes in that pressure. Damp weather tends to be accompanied by reduced barometric pressure, for example. And this reduction in the surrounding pressure, it is believed, can have an effect on the pain people feel in their joints. The pain may flare up, in part, because arthritis sufferers and other people experiencing chronic pain may have nerves that have become more sensitive, over time. If nerves have become sensitised, then even slight or tiny changes to the pressure affecting the joints can have noticeable effects.
It should also be noted that barometric pressure isn’t the only thing that changes when weather becomes damper. Humidity also increases, and temperature can also vary greatly. The effect of these changes may also vary depending on location so that someone in a damp basement may feel something different compared to someone in an air conditioned penthouse. With all these changes taking place, it becomes even more possible to conclude that someone who has extra sensitive nerves will be able to feel something changing, even when the differences are not yet obvious.
Again, the science on this remains unclear. However, this remains one of those phenomena which appear to still be tantalisingly possible. Perhaps further research on this matter, as well as on the subjects of chronic pain and damp weather, will shed more light on what is actually happening. The thing to keep in mind for now is that, if someone says that he can feel the weather taking a turn for the worse, thanks to the aches in his joints, then it is something that it may actually be worth considering as having some merit as a forecast.
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