Can your bones forecast the weather?

Have you ever heard someone say that they can feel it in their bones? Or that they know it's going to rain because their back starts aching? These may be medical myths, which seem to have many believers. Many people think there's a link between the weather and arthritic flareups. You probably also know someone who believes this is true.

However, research and scientific evidence say something different. In fact, there has been extensive research conducted on the connection between weather conditions and joint pain. Recently, a study found no connection between wet weather and symptoms associated with back, bone and joint pain. The study included responses from more than 11 million subjects providing information gathered at doctor visits on 9 million dry days and 2 million rainy days. The findings showed no clear link between their pain and wet conditions or barometric pressure, however, clearly, there was more information collected on dry days.

But then again, people who are actually sick or in pain tend to stay home and rest rather than go out – anywhere, including to get medical help. And knowing the demands of scheduling, it’s doubtful that people get appointments on the first day of the pain. Generally, it takes some time to get an appointment and the weather may have changed significantly since the first symptoms presented themselves. So, making a clear connection is complicated by many other factors— researchers have been unsuccessful in making a solid case for a valid connection.

But does scientific evidence or research even matter when you have personal experience to support the myth? Probably not. Your own perceptions play a powerful role in how you remember occurrences. So, research-based on someone’s memory may already be faulty. Before the medical community can reach a conclusion, there has to be a more reliable body of rigorous, data-based evidence, and not just someone’s memory recall abilities.

If the saying is true that old habits die hard, medical myths may be even harder to disprove. But then again, the medical myths of yesteryear often the medical advancements of the future. The jury is still out on this question, but what do you think? Can your joints accurately predict the weather?

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