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. This is the second time that I have seen this article and both times I’m impressed with how unscientific it is. All the “data” suggested in this article simply points to the activity issue and not the relationship between joint pain and weather.

    People with joint issues don’t Google every time there knee hurts because they already know they hurt every time the Barometric Pressure increases due to an approaching weather front. My wife and I often know a fronts coming without a weather bulletin or cloudy skies and we never Google joint pain.

    Just sayin’

  2. I find these results wrong at least for me! I suffer with 7 severe forms of arthritis. Humidity and rain or cold weather kill me. Warm weather and sunshine I feel 100% better and take less main medication. I can move better and enjoy my day and do more. Even my doctors say I thrive in AZ where I visit to recuperate

  3. Surely you couldn’t have surveyed people in cold weather states. This article is not true for me considering all the arthritic people I know; we all agree warmer weather is best for our aches & pains. I have dual carpal tunnel in my hands and injured both legs, therefore, they ache and get stiff in cold weather. Whenever I travel to warmer climates I’m in heaven because I don’t ache nor are my legs stiff. Why do you think Arizona is the retirement State of all time.

  4. I agree with those comments before mine. Barometric pressure is a real PAIN – in the heart for me! And my friends feel the storms coming in their bones. If a patient came in and stated they found their medical information on Google – the Dr would say you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. That holds true for this article.

About the Author

Jennifer Benson
Jennifer Benson

Jennifer Benson, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs for Advocate Aurora Health. She has 10+ years of community development and communication experience for non-profits and has a BA in Architecture from Judson University in Elgin, IL. Outside of work, you can find her planning the next adventure near water or rocks, re-organizing spaces, working on her Master’s in Public Health, caring for her senior citizen cat, keeping to healthy moving and eating disciplines and growing green things wherever she can find room.