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It’s often thought that cold weather can make certain conditions flare up, but a new study suggests humidity could be a more prominent factor.
New research has found individuals with long-term health problems, such as arthritis, are more likely to feel pain on humid days.
A study carried out at the University of Manchester recruited 2,500 people with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines and neuropathic problems, from across the UK.
They recorded their symptoms each day on their smartphones, using an app developed by healthcare software company uMotil.
Their devices recorded the weather where they were, using location data. This recording process was carried out over a course of 15 months.
Data found that participants reported worse symptoms on warmer, damper days.
Damp, windy days with low pressure also increased the chances of experiencing problems by around 20%.
In other words, if someone’s chances of a painful day were five in 100 on a normal day, on a damp and windy day this would increase to six in 100.
Cold, damp days also made symptoms worse.
However, there was no association with pain and temperature alone, or rainfall. Just a consistency with humidity.
The study called Cloudy with a Chance of Pain ran throughout 2016.
Despite there being a history in weather and pain associations, there remains no scientific consensus. This study could, therefore, mean big things for the future.
Professor Will Dixon, who led the study, said, “The results of this study could be important for patients in the future for two reasons.
“Given we can forecast the weather, it may be possible to develop a pain forecast knowing the relationship between weather and pain.
“This would allow people who suffer from chronic pain to plan their activities, completing harder tasks on days predicted to have lower levels of pain.
“The dataset will also provide information to scientists interested in understanding the mechanisms of pain, which could ultimately open the door to new treatments.”