Weather has causal and dynamic effect on pain tolerance, study finds

Published On 2021-11-17 03:30 GMT   |   Update On 2021-11-17 03:30 GMT

A recent study supports the common belief that weather affects pain.

Norway: It is widely held that weather or weather constituents such as temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity cause or aggravate pain episodes. A new study conducted by Erlend Hoftun Farbu and colleagues to validate if the weather can affect pain tolerance discovered that weather has a causal and dynamic effect on pain tolerance, supporting the widely held belief that weather affects pain.

The findings of this study were published in the journal Pain on 9th September 2021.

This study used data from the Troms Study 7, which included over 18,000 subjects aged 40 or older from the general population. They were subjected to a one-time assessment of cuff algometry pressure pain tolerance (PPT) and cold pain tolerance (CPT), as measured by a cold pressor test.

CPT showed a clear seasonal variation, according to the findings. When compared to January 2016, the rate of withdrawal in the cold pressor test was up to 75% higher in the warmer months of the year. PPT showed no seasonal variation. The study discovered not only a nonrandom short-term variation in PPT, but also evidence of such a variation in CPT. This short-term variation in PPT had an intrinsic timescale of 5.1 days (95 percent confidence interval 4.0-7.2), which is comparable to the observed timescales of meteorological variables.

Pressure pain tolerance and CPT were found to be related to meteorological variables, and these relationships changed over time. The researchers discovered a distinct seasonal variation in CPT as well as a nonrandom short-term variation in PPT. Furthermore, PPT and meteorological anomalies fluctuated on similar timescales, and PPT and CPT were correlated with meteorological variables. These correlations differed according to the time period for which they were calculated.


In conclusion, it is unlikely that a single mechanism can explain the variations in pain tolerance observed in the current study; rather, it is more likely that this is the net result of many, possibly antagonistic, mechanisms.


Farbu, E. H., Rypdal, M., Skandfer, M., Steingrímsdóttir, Ó. A., Brenn, T., Stubhaug, A., Nielsen, C. S., & Höper, A. C. (2021). To tolerate weather and to tolerate pain. In Pain: Vol. Publish Ahead of Print. Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health).

Article Source : journal Pain

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