The myth that joints ache more in rainy weather has finally been debunked by Harvard University, United States (U.S.).
Some 2,500 years after the Greeks first noticed a connection between pain and the weather, scientists have finally shown definitively that there is no truth in the belief.
In the biggest study ever into the issue, researchers studied 11 million visits to General Practitioners (GPs) by more than 1.5 million US pensioners between 2008 and 2012.
They then looked to see if there was a correlation between rainfall and an increase in the reporting of joint or back complaints. They found nothing.
The researchers say the study was so large that it is inconceivable that they would not have spotted a link if one existed.
“It’s hard to prove a negative,” said lead author Professor Anupam Jena of Harvard Medical School’s Department of Health Care Policy.
“But in this flood of data, if there was a clinically significant increase in pain, we would have expected to find at least some small, but significant, sign of the effect. We didn’t.
“No matter how we looked at the data, we didn’t see any correlation between rainfall and physician visits for joint pain or back pain. The bottom line is: Painful joints and sore backs may very well be unreliable forecasters.”
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.