Here’s your health vocabulary word of the day: bio-meteorology, which is the study of how weather affects our bodies. Obviously, if you go outside on a bright day without sunscreen, you run the risk of a sunburn, but that’s not the focus of human bio meteorology. It seeks to determine, for example, whether your joint pain means it’s really going to rain.
If this picture makes your joints hurt, this post is for you. We’ve all met someone who swears that an arthritic joint of theirs becomes painful before a rain shower. Some physicians and researchers theorize that the tissues in our joints may swell when barometric pressure, or the pressure of the atmosphere against the surface of the earth, decreases. Decreases in barometric pressure occur before the onset of rain, so one’s pain before a rainstorm would be a result of the drop in barometric pressure. Barometric pressure also drops as temperatures decrease, which means that whenever a continent is experiencing winter, that continent is also experiencing the lowest barometric pressure it will typically experience during the year. According to the theory, that’s when people on those continents with joint conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia will experience the most frequent bouts of pain. The problem that bio-meteorologists face is that so far, the studies aren’t conclusive (you can read about the specific results of a Johns Hopkins study here
) but physicians see anecdotal evidence with their patients every winter and storm season. If you know that you experience more pain before rain or during colder weather, you might consider wearing compression garments
wherever you feel the pain (most commonly in knees and elbows). Compression sleeves decrease inflammation in the effected area, regardless of outdoor temperature or atmospheric pressure. After all, your therapy doesn’t have to work for everyone you know, it only has to work for you - then you know it’s really effective!