June Golden Research Article

Are weather conditions associated with chronic musculoskeletal pain? A review of results and methodologies

Beukenhorst, A., Schultz, D., McBeth, J., Sergeant, J., Dixon, W. (2020)

Background

The majority of people who suffer from chronic musculoskeletal pain believe that weather conditions have meaningful effects on their pain. There is however, no scientific consensus on this association. This review examined the research looking at the correlation between weather variables and self-reported musculoskeletal pain.

Results

Overall, the studies differed significantly in terms of outcomes, populations, and weather variables. 67% of the studies found a link between pain and at least one measured weather variable; however, there was no single variable that was consistently associated with pain.

Two studies found a relationship between pain and temperature, but, with opposing temperature findings. For relative humidity, one study found a small association and two did not. For hours of sunshine, one study found a clinically insignificant association. None of the studies found a significant correlation between atmospheric pressure, precipitation, and wind speed.

The authors concluded that this issue is surprisingly complex, and there is currently no high-quality evidence to support a connection. In the meantime, we are left puzzled as to why our joints can often sense a change in the weather. At least we can keep yelling “Marge, the rains are here”.

Key Points

  • Many believe that the weather affects musculoskeletal pain.
  • The research examining this association is conflicted, of poor quality, and provides little evidence in favour of a meaningful connection.

Chronic pain management can be complex and requires a multimodal and biopsychosocial approach. For more information on how Adaptive can help you control your pain, please contact the clinic on 42608574.

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