Weather pains

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Weather pains, weather-related pain, or meteoropathy is a phenomenon that occurs when people with conditions such as arthritis or limb injuries claim to feel pain, particularly with changes in barometric pressure, humidity or other weather phenomena.[1][2] Scientific evidence, however, does not support a connection between weather and arthritic pain and concludes that it is largely or entirely due to perceptual errors such as confirmation bias.[3][4] The term is from Greek meteora, celestial phenomena, and pathos, feeling, pain, suffering.


The perceived relationship between changes in weather and pain has been recorded since the classical Roman age.[5] Hippocrates was the first to note, in about 400 B.C., that many illnesses were related to changes in season.[6] The large body of folklore about how weather affects pain is reflected by traditional sayings and expressions, such as "aches and pain, coming rains," "feeling under the weather," and "ill health due to evil winds."[citation needed]

The first publication of documented changes in pain perception associated with the weather was in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences in 1887. This case report described a person with phantom limb pain who concluded that "approaching storms, dropping barometric pressure and rain were associated with increased pain complaint."[7] Most investigations examining the relationship between weather and pain have studied people diagnosed with arthritis. After reviewing many case reports, Rentshler reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1929 that there was strong evidence that "warm weather is beneficial and barometric pressure changes are detrimental to patients with arthritis."[7]

Countering the 1929 barometric pressure claim, in a 2016 article entitled "Do Your Aches, Pains Predict Rain?" professor of atmospheric sciences Dennis Driscoll is reported as stating: "People need to realize that the pressure changes associated with storms are rather small." In fact, Driscoll observes that the changes associated with a storm are about equivalent to what a person experiences in going up an elevator in a tall building. So far, there have not been many reports of people with arthritis hobbled by elevator rides in the medical literature.[4]

A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2017 examined reports of joint or back pain from millions of doctor visits between 2008 and 2012 as recorded by Medicare, the U.S. health system for the elderly. It compared these to rain data as recorded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, but found no correlation.[8]

Non-English languages[edit]

The word meteoropathy is uncommon in English, but the concept and similar words are widespread in certain other languages. In Polish a sufferer is a meteoropata, in Italian a meteoropatico, in Croatian a meteoropat,[9] Macedonian a метеопат (meteopat)', and Japanese a kishōbyō (気象病) for example. The German term Wetterempfindlichkeit ('weather sensitivity') refers to symptoms of meteoropathy, whereas Wetterfühligkeit ('weather percipience') refers to weather-related mood swings.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Scientists still mulling causes of weather-related pain, by April Chan, USA Today
  2. ^ Weather & Arthritis - Barometric Pressure Affect - Humidity - Climate, About
  3. ^ Smedslund, G; Hagen, KB (January 2011). "Does rain really cause pain? A systematic review of the associations between weather factors and severity of pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis". European Journal of Pain. 15 (1): 5–10. doi:10.1016/j.ejpain.2010.05.003. PMID 20570193.
  4. ^ a b Nazario, Brunilda. "Do Your Aches, Pains Predict Rain?". Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  5. ^ Influence of Weather on Report of Pain, by Robert N. Jamison, PhD, International Association for the Study of Pain Newsletter
  6. ^ Rosen S. Weathering. New York: M. Evans, 1979
  7. ^ a b Shutty MS, Cunduff G, DeGood DE (1992). "Pain complaint and the weather: weather sensitivity and symptom complaints in chronic pain patients". Pain. 49 (2): 199–204. doi:10.1016/0304-3959(92)90143-Y. PMID 1608646.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  8. ^ The rain, it’s plain, has no effect on pain
  9. ^ "meteoròpāt". Retrieved 21 June 2015.