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Pain and weather…an interesting phenomenon.

Posted Jan 26 2011 7:51am

It is an interesting phenomenon, pain and weather.  The weather gets bad and patients’ pain gets worse. The weather is good and they are good. The moon is full and they are bad while they improve during other phases. Is this all in their heads? Or is there something to this?

In fact, weather may be an extremely important factor (or co-factor) in human health and feeling pain. Weather changes, especially air temperature and humidity, are believed to aggravate preexisting abnormalities and trigger the onset of symptoms. Weather-sensitive patients say that because of the weather they tire easily, become irritable and restless. They say they are unable to concentrate or fall asleep. They avoid work; suffer headaches, nervousness, bone pains, depression, palpitations and dizziness. They say they tend to make mistakes and be increasingly forgetful.

Dr. Stephen Rosen has spent years researching this phenomenon, the relationship between pain and weather.  He calls biometerorology, in Europe and in the US. He states that the symptoms described above define the condition called “Subjective Weather Sensitivity”. There are other people who do not consider themselves “weather sensitive” that suffer these same symptoms, just not as intensely. Another interesting fact, a 1973 and 1976 study showed entire families of drugs normally effective inside the body, change their potency and side effects as a direct consequence of weather especially temperature. 80 % of 120 studies between 1935 and 1972 showed a positive association between illness and weather. A 1977 study done in Europe stated that weather probably damaged normal and diseased individuals more than all the effects of air pollution and water pollution combined.

The types of people that are most affected by weather changes, according to Dr. Rosen’s book, are women over 50, slender or stocky, emotionally excitable or nervous and are either executives or do blue collar, clerical type of work. People of average build, jolly, middle management and between 20 to 50 years old do not seem to be as affected.

Another chart in his book, discussed the type of diseases which are affected by weather either favorably or unfavorably. For example, Angina (painful heart vessel spasms) is made worse by cloudy, gusty cold air and low pressure systems while symptoms are decreased by high pressure, clearing conditions with slight winds. Diabetes is worsened by a rapid succession of warm and cold fronts. Menopause and stomach ulcers symptoms seem to increase with warm weather while Multiple Sclerosis is worsened in cold climates. And of course, any asthmatic knows that cold weather or high humidity aggravates their symptoms.

As a chiropractor, most of the conditions I see are musculoskeletal. I explain to patients this weather worsening of their symptoms this way. Our bodies are over 90% water. This water is in our blood, our tissue and our cells. Pressure changes force fluid in and out of our tissue the same way the moons gravitational effects changes tides. This movement of fluid will aggravate acute, chronic or sub clinical inflammatory conditions. When the inflammation from their injuries decreases, their discomfort will decrease. With some people, they are more accurate weather forecasters that the professionals.

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