Saturday 22 October 2016

Bad weather's a right pain

Published 20/09/2016 | 02:30

Arthritis - an app is now available for sufferers
Arthritis - an app is now available for sufferers

New research which suggests bad weather really can make pain worse will resonate with many of us in Ireland.

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The findings emerge from a study involving our neighbours in three cities in the UK: Leeds, Norwich, and London.

Using a phone app, the 'Cloudy with a Chance of Pain' project recruited 9,000 people with chronic pain who input their symptoms daily in a smartphone app.

The app automatically records the weather using their phones' GPS and sends the data back to the researchers at the University of Manchester.

The study is the idea of Dr Will Dixon, MD, PhD - a hospital doctor who treats patients with arthritis. "In almost every clinic, one of my patients will tell me their joints are better or worse because of the weather. And yet researchers have never worked out whether this relationship truly exists," he said.

The study is only at the halfway stage, but already it shows that as the number of sunny days rose from February to April, the amount of time people felt severe pain fell. But a wet June saw an increase in the length of time people had severe pain.

"Once the link is proven, people will have the confidence to plan their activities in accordance with the weather.

People can share their experiences via the Cloudy app.

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