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Can Aches and Pains Predict the Rain?

Do grandma's arthritic knees really ache worse when cold, wet weather is on the way? Find out!

“Oh, my bones are aching. It must be about to rain.” Chances are, you’ve either uttered these words yourself, or heard them from an older relative. The idea that body aches can predict the weather is a very ancient bit of weather lore, illustrated by the following old saying:

A coming storm your shooting corns presage,
And aches will throb, your hollow tooth will rage.

This belief is as persistent and widespread as it is old. Countless people with no interest in weather folklore — those people who don’t care how wide the orange stripe is on the back of a woolly bear caterpillar, or whether it’s better for the sky to be red in the morning or at night — repeat this one every day, and with good reason.

The Weather-Joint Aches Connection

While not every piece of old weather lore is true, evidence seems to suggest that this one is based in fact. As far back as the 1960s, medical researchers have found, over and over again, that there is a genuine connection between increased pain and cold, wet weather. While the effect is most commonly linked to arthritis sufferers, many have also reported feeling increased pain from nerve disorders, recently healed fractures, migraines, toothaches, corns, and even scars, when the weather was about to change.

No one knows exactly what causes aches and pains to flare up, but the most likely culprit is the drop in atmospheric pressure that occurs right before a storm begins. This shift in air pressure may be enough to dilate the blood vessels in the body, stimulating the nerve endings in sensitive areas, like sore feet, creaky knees, or bad teeth.

Can you predict the weather by aches or pains? Share your experiences here.

Jaime McLeod is a longtime journalist who has written for a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites, including She enjoys the outdoors, growing and eating organic food, and is interested in all aspects of natural wellness.

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