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How weather affects tolerance to pain

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Can the weather affect the pain caused by symptoms such as arthritis and migraines? It may sound like an old superstition, but some standard quantitative sensory tests show that weather-related factors actually affect pain tolerance. pain, Official publication of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP).

“Although observational, these findings suggest that weather has a causal, non-linear, dynamic effect. pain Tolerance, “UiT-A new study led by Erlend Hoftun Farbu, a doctoral student at the University of the Arctic, Tromso, Norway, reveals whether the relationship between weather and pain is related to physiological or psychological factors, or a combination thereof. .. Of the factors.

Weather-related factors influence two standard pain assessments

The study included participants in the Tromso study, a continuous study of the health of people in cities in northern Norway, north of the Arctic Circle. Approximately 19,500 participants with an average age of 57 years were evaluated by two widely used quantitative sensory tests in research studies. The Tenderness Tolerance Test (PPT) measured a subject’s ability to tolerate pain due to the steady increase in pressure exerted on the lower legs. The Cold Pain Tolerance Test (CPT) measured how well a hand can withstand immersion in cold water.

The results of the pain resistance test were analyzed in relation to data on meteorological conditions (temperature, pressure, precipitation, relative humidity, wind speed). The association between pain tolerance and meteorological factors was assessed with seasonal or short-term variability.

Overall, PPT results showed no significant seasonal variation and were not strongly associated with meteorological variables when considering the entire study period.However, the correlation is period Studied. The data suggested “non-random short-term fluctuations” in the PPT results. The PPT short-term fluctuation time frame reflected the weather time frame. In addition, temperature and barometric pressure predicted future PPT values.

In contrast, CPT results showed clear seasonal variation. Subjects were able to tolerate the cold pain for a long time during the cold season of the year. Tolerance to cold pain also depends on weather-related variables. “This is in good harmony with research on cold adaptation,” Farbu commented. “As you get used to the cold, you may be able to withstand the cold more.”

He adds: Barometric pressure It seems to be most strongly related to CPT and PPT and predicts future PPT. However, the effects of temperature can change the heat loss and can be affected by humidity and wind. “

Many people, especially those with chronic pain, believe that weather or weather-related factors can cause or exacerbate episodes of pain. Some studies support the link between weather and pain, while others have reached conflicting results.

“If we’re right about the dynamic and non-linear relationships, it may explain very well why many studies find results that contradict small effects,” Farbu commented. “If the effect changes over time and is averaged over time, it can be ineffective.”

In particular, the CPT findings “should be considered when planning future studies on pain tolerance,” the researchers write. They are discussing several ways that weather can affect tolerance to pain. One possible explanation is the “central mechanism” with weather-related variables that affect the parts of the brain involved in the processing of pain. or, weather It can affect a person’s mental state, such as seasonal depression, and can affect their ability to tolerate pain.

“In summary, one single mechanism Tolerance to pain It was observed, “Farbu and co-authors conclude.This is likely the end result of many, perhaps antagonistic mechanisms. ”


It’s cold outside! Do your joints hurt?


For more information:
Erlend Hoftun Farbu et al, to withstand the weather and tolerate the pain, pain (2021). DOI: 10.1097 / j.pain.0000000000002437

Journal information:
pain

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