Can the weather really worsen arthritis pain?


Many arthritis sufferers notice that the weather affects their symptoms. They might say, “Who needs weather report when you have arthritis?”

If it’s true that the weather can worsen arthritis pain, how does that work?

Is there any scientific evidence to explain it?

These questions have been asked for many years without good answers, although researchers are keeping trying to understand it better.

Here are some answers from Harvard Health Publications.

“Past studies examining the effect of rain, humidity, and other weather-related factors on symptoms of arthritis have been inconclusive, and in some cases, contradictory.”

A dutch research involving 222 participants with “wear-and-tear” type of arthritis, found that “over a two-year period, pain and stiffness were slightly worse with rising barometric pressure and humidity, although the overall average impact was small.”

Another study included more than 800 adults living in one of six European countries and who had osteoarthritis of the hip, knee, or hands. It concluded that “higher humidity was linked with increasing pain and stiffness, especially in colder weather.”


Coincidentally, or not coincidentally, according to Chinese Medicine theory, there are six pathogenic factors – wind, coldness, dryness, wetness(high humidity), heat and fire, and the main factors leading to joint pain are wind, coldness and wetness. This is recorded in classical books like Huangdi Neijing (Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor) and modern teaching textbooks.