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Weather And Chronic Pain: Smartphone Study Reveals Rain Can Worsen Body Aches

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The Greek physician Hippocrates claimed to have found a link between pain and weather more than 2,000 years ago. Some people also complain that the weather can worsen their body aches and pains with some even claiming that they can tell based on this when it is about to rain.

Now, findings of a new smartphone study suggest that Hippocrates may have been correct and that body pain playing up during rainy days could be anything but plain old wives' tale.

Preliminary results from the study conducted by researchers from The University of Manchester indicated an association between lack of sunshine and rain and chronic pain.

The Cloudy with a Chance of Pain study, which was launched in January this year, had more than 9,000 participants in the UK to record their daily pain levels using a smartphone app. The participants who took part in the study had arthritis or chronic pain and were at least 17 years old.

The app called uMotif helped participants plot their pain symptoms and automatically recorded the local weather information when participants logged pain symptoms.

The researchers used the data to look closer at the link between weather and pain and found a consistent correlation between pain, lack of sunshine and rain.

They found that pain levels dropped and participants experienced severe pain less often when the sun appeared more often. The frequency of severe pain symptoms, however, rises with the uptick in rainy days.

Study researcher Will Dixon, from the University of Manchester's School of Biological Sciences, said that while the early results of the study were encouraging, more people should participate in the study so researchers could gather robust conclusion at the end of the research.

Dixon said that if a link is proven, people will be more confident when they plan their activities based on the weather. He added that knowing the influence of weather on pain could also help medical researchers come up with new interventions and treatments to address pain.

"To work out the details of how weather influences pain, we need as many people as possible to participate in the study and track their symptoms on their smartphone," Dixon said.

The researcher said that he thinks there is a possible link between weather and pain. In terms of physiology, for instance, air pressure that can affect the weather can also affect pain particularly in those who suffer from arthritis.

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