Does rain increase joint pain?

Does rain increase joint pain?

Have you heard someone comment on the upcoming rainstorm while rubbing their knee?

Is there truth to rain correlating to arthritis or joint pain? Researchers did a deep data dive through weather condition data and Google Trends and they concluded yes…and no.

In their research, they studied 45 U.S. cities and their weather conditions compared to searches for joint pain. Their study showed that rain just lowered the search volumes. However, warm weather increased joint pain searches, the primary conclusion being that people are more active in nicer weather, thus usually extending themselves physically.

“Half of my patients come in for the first time having severe joint problems, wondering what happened,” comments Dr. Jeffrey Kazaglis, an orthopedic surgeon at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill. “I then ask if they stretched before they took on the activity that caused harm. It seems simple, but more often than not, the spring and summer season brings about the most joint pain for my patients.”

There did seem to be limits to the temperature range for joint pain searches. Knee pain peaked at 73 degrees Fahrenheit, and hip pain searches peaked at 83 degrees. Arthritis did not have any correlations with the weather.

But why use Google trends to seek if this is a myth or fact? One of the researchers remarked that with web searches widely used by most people and accessible by mobile, they found that people’s first response to any health pain was to search the internet for answers to their health problems.

“My patients tend to research their issues before they come to me,” states Dr. Kazaglis. “Here in the U.S., we want to figure out the issue and solution to quickly make the pain go away. If my patients can’t solve it from home or with over-the-counter medicine, they will then seek their primary physician or myself.”

Dr. Kazaglis suggests that people suffering from joint pain or flare-ups should consider the following methods, defining short term being after the pain starts and the first 24-48 hours and long term anything more than a couple days or week of constant pain.

  • Sore joints
    • Short term: Ice it and rest
    • Long term: Make an appointment with your primary care physician
  • Sharp joint pain
    • Short term: Ice, rest, elevation and take Tylenol, Advil or Aleve for 3-5 days
    • Long term: Make an appointment to see your primary physician or orthopedic surgeon
  • Extreme joint pain: If the pain is unbearable, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Take our Joint Pain Assessment to evaluate your knees and hips, gauge the severity of your issues and figure out what you could do moving forward. 

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  1. Regarding joint pain; when it rains the atmospheric pressure drops. This allows the discs between the spinal vertebrae to swell a bit. If that swelling should put pressure on a nerve in the spinal system, would that also cause pain or discomfort?


  2. The author and Doctor obviously do not suffer from chronic joint pain due to osteoarthritis. I can tell you the forecast better than the weather station. Cold and damp bring on aches, snow is more acute and can be debilitating. I am happily recovering from knee replacements, my current weather detectors are my wrists, hands and ankles. Oh joy…

About the Author

Jennifer Benson
Jennifer Benson

Jennifer Benson, health enews contributor, is manager of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin. She has 10+ years of community development and communication experience for non-profits in the Elgin area and has a BA in Architecture from Judson University. Outside of work you can find her planning the next adventure near water or rocks, re-organizing spaces, entertaining two needy cats, defaulting to curry or taco dinners, and growing green things wherever she can find room.