Evidence of a link between weather conditions and changes in people’s chronic pain has been revealed by experts from the University of Manchester. The Cloudy with a Chance of Pain study is only halfway through but seems to show a correlation between the number of sunny days and rainfall levels, and changes in pain levels.
Over 9000 people have taken part in the study so far. People with long-term pain have access to a smartphone app that records their daily pain symptoms. The app independently captures hourly weather conditions, so pain trends can be linked to local weather events. Interim data for London, Leeds and Norwich, show that as the number of sunny days increased between February to April, the amount of time people spent experiencing severe pain decreased. Chronic pain levels flared up again in June, when the weathered turned wetter and sunshine hours decreased.
“Once the link is proven, people will have the confidence to plan their activities in accordance with the weather”, says Prof Will Dixon, who is leading the work. “In addition, understanding how weather influences pain will allow medical researchers to explore new pain interventions and treatments”.
Many people with arthritis have reported changes in weather affecting the level of pain they experience and although the study is not complete, it does point towards a correlation between the two. Dr Stephen Simpson, director of research and programmes at Arthritis Research UK comments “The more participants we have in the study, the stronger the final data will be, so we’re urging people to take part and share their experiences via the Cloudy app”.
If you would like to get involved and are willing to track your symptoms, then please sign up here: www.cloudywithachanceofpain.com