Medicines

More evidence joints can’t predict the weather


New research described as the “deepest dive” yet into the effects of weather on joint pain has come up with some interesting findings.

The study of google searches on joint pain in 45 US cities found that as temperatures rose, so did internet searches about knee and hip pain.

Knee-pain searches peaked at 73 degrees farhenheit (22 C) and were less frequent at higher temperatures. Hip-pain searches peaked at 83 degrees (28 C) and then tailed off.

Rain actually dampened search volumes for both, found the study published in PLOS ONE this week.

Only temperature and rain were found to have statistically significant associations, and only with searches for knee and hip pain.

Searches about arthritis had no discernible correlation with weather factors.

According to the investigators from the UW Medicine in Seattle and Harvard University the findings indicate that people’s activity level – increasing as temperatures rise  – is likelier than the weather itself to cause pain that prompts online searches. 

“We were surprised by how consistent the results were throughout the range of temperatures in cities across the country,” said Scott Telfer, a researcher in orthopedics and sports medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. 

“You hear people with arthritis say they can tell when the weather is changing,” he said. “But with past studies there’s only been vague associations, nothing very concrete, and our findings align with those.”

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