Ever hear someone blame their joint pain on rainy weather? Strange as it might sound, this is a fairly common complaint among those plagued with achy joints. According to recent research, weather might be somewhat to blame for joint woes – just not in the way you might think.
Searching for Answers
For a 2017 study, researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine decided to see if there was any merit to this complaint. The UW group was joined in their efforts by contributors from Harvard University. The online journal PLOS ONE published the results of this collaborative effort in August 2017.
So how did the research team go about examining this issue? With the aid of Google Trends, the authors were able to determine how weather impacted Google searchers of weather-related hip and knee pain. The data, which was measured from the beginning of January 2011 through December 2015, actually found that such searches actually declined somewhat on rainy days.
A Hot Topic
The UW/Harvard team also noticed, however, that warmer temperatures seem to send people searching to their computers for pain relief. Specifically, Google searches involving hip/knee pain underwent a notable rise once temperatures reached between 23 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The study further noted that Google search activity for knee pain spiked at 73 degrees, whereas hip pain queries reached their peak at the 83 degree mark.
So should those bothered with knee and hip pain stay inside when the temperature rises? Not so fast; study coauthor Scott Telfer stressed that his team had not conclusively linked warmer temperatures with increased pain. ““What we think is much more likely explanation is the fact that people are more active on nice days, so more prone to have overuse and acute injuries from that and to search online for relevant information,” stated the UW assistant professor of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine . “That’s our hypothesis for what we’ll explore next.”