The notion that aching joints and gloomy weather go hand-in-hand has persisted since antiquity.
Hippocrates, writing in ‘On Airs, Waters, and Places’, claimed that those who wish to understand medicine to look at the changing seasons of the year and study the prevailing winds to see how the weather they bring affects health.
The belief has endured over the centuries and well into the present, fueled by a combination of folklore and small studies that have repeatedly yielded mixed results.
An ongoing study by the University of Manchester, which published early results last year, found that as the number of sunny days increased from February to June, people with chronic joint conditions feel better. However when there was a period of wet weather in June and fewer hours of sunlight, pain increased once again.
Scientists have speculated that a change in air pressure could cause fluid in the joints to shift, bringing pain, particularly for people suffering from arthritis . Low pressure also brings rain, so people may be mistaking the downpour for the cause of their increased discomfort.
However when the new analysis linked millions of doctor’s visits with daily rainfall totals from thousands of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather stations they found no link.