Nov 27, 2019

Dampness affects pain

Humidity can make pain worse, according to a new study.

People often claim that the pain of arthritis gets worse when it’s cold and damp. New research from the University of Manchester (published in NPJ Digital Medicine) shows that damp weather does seem to exacerbate chronic pain.

More than 13,000 people with conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine and neuropathic pain from across the UK participated in the study, using their smartphones to keep a daily record of their symptoms.

When the data from 2,658 people was compared with local weather reports, researchers found that participants had worse-than-average pain on humid days. Low atmospheric pressure and high wind speed were also associated with more pain, to a lesser extent – but lower temperatures alone made no difference, and nor did rainfall.

Prof Will Dixon, who led the study, said that if scientists could find out more about the relationship between humidity and pain, it might “open the door to new treatments”.

Dr Stephen Simpson of Versus Arthritis, which funded the study, added: “This research will help us understand the bigger picture of the complexity of pain caused by arthritis and how people with the condition can take control of it.

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