Why Do we Feel Pain When It’s Raining?

Many people with bad hips or achy joints complain about how the pain gets more significant when the weather is bad or if it’s raining. I started to wonder why this is. How can the weather affect people bones and joints?

I thought this was going to a complicated explanation with psychology issues, but the answer is simply: pressure. Atmospheric pressure, also called barometric pressure,  is the pressure exerted by the weight of air in the atmosphere of Earth. As the weather gets worse, the barometric pressure decreases. When this pressure drops, the pressure put on our bodies through gravity drops as well. When the pressure on the body drops, joints and pains in the body can begin to swell and cause inflammation, which can explain the pain the people experience before a storm.

Our body has two defense mechanisms for the pain a person normally feels: adrenaline and cortisone. These hormones help the body with energy, mood, immune function, pain management. At night, these hormones slow production so that the body is able to fall asleep. However, when these hormones stop being produced, we are more susceptible to getting sick or feeling pain. Which is why colds or pains become more severe at night. These hormones also decrease production before a storm. As the barometer falls (the indicator of a storm or bad weather), the positive charge, or “ions”, in all atoms increase which causes a decrease of cortisone in the body.

Depending on age, or illness, the ability to “predict” the weather based off of the symptoms the body is experiencing can vary. For example, elderly people have a more acute sense because they no longer have the same ability to overcome the changes in pressure as if they did when they were younger. There are different techniques doctors recommend to deal with chronic pain, fatigue, or depression, which can all be enhanced with the change in barometric pressure, however, the amount of cortisone that is lost when this change occurs is still significant enough to enhance any joint pains or aches in the body. Since cortisone is a steroid, it would be considered unhealthy to take steroids in order to reduce this pain, considering that could kill you.

The takeaway from this post is that the change in barometric pressure in the atmosphere can allow some people to predict the weather if their knee starts to bother them more than usual. It is an annoying but cool trick.




2 thoughts on “Why Do we Feel Pain When It’s Raining?

  1. Dante Labricciosa

    Well, I had no idea barometric pressure could actually hurt our joints. I do have a friend, who tends to get migraines from rain and especially when it is thunder storming, due to the barometric pressure. Your analysis could definitely dig deeper into that, as this article can explain the weather patterns relative to the headaches: http://www.lookgreat-loseweight-savemoney.com/barometric-headaches.html. This makes me think of the many in the rainy state of Washington, and how certain people have to handle such pain. But your analysis should also analyze an actual study and experiment, analyzing the results of such instead of another analysis. Barometric pressure is no joke, as pain can be very high for some people, as this can look further into specific gene sequencing that lead to relative pain. But luckily for me, rain does bother my joints or create pain in my head, so catch me outside at all times!

  2. Thomas Garvin

    Pressure is a really interesting mechanism explaining why people feel pain when the weather is poor. I felt the most intriguing part of the article is where you touch on the potential to use illness symptoms to predict weather. However, I am a bit skeptical on the fact that people are able to accurately predict the weather based off the feeling of their joints. It does not seem reasonable, especially since I have aches and pains even when the weather is nice. I typically rely on news weather predictions, but recently I have become very skeptical of the news trying to predict the weather nearly a full month away. Here is an article furthering the discussion on weather predictions asa a whole, and seeing just how reliable they are: https://www.minitab.com/en-us/Published-Articles/Weather-Forecasts–Just-How-Reliable-Are-They-/

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