The Effects of Change in Barometric Pressure on Arthritis Pain

Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science



Department or Program Chair

Barbara Ganley, PhD

Thesis Advisor

Luanne Linnard-Palmer, EdD, RN


In review of published studies looking at rheumatic disease and weather conditions the results are contradictory. Some show that there is an influence and others show no influence of weather on pain, swelling, and stiffness. The wealth of anecdotal evidence of the effect of weather changes on arthritis symptoms. Human Beings are systems that are affected by outside influences, such as a change in pressure. Arthritis is a prevalent disease, 43 million people have reported having a diagnosis of arthritis. Arthritis symptoms are joint pain, swelling and stiffness. Does the outside pressure affect the joint in the body until the outside and inside pressures have equalized, and consequently does a change in the barometric pressure create a change in arthritis pain?

This study recruited people with arthritis. Participants completed a pain log for a thirty day period. The researcher collected barometric pressure data from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association’s website each day for the proximate area of the participants and had access to data for other areas. There were 25 requests for information, 23 participants recruited, and 14 completed logs returned. The 14 logbooks each had 60 visual analog scales for pain (2 daily). Barometric pressure data was obtained for each of these points and for 2 hours before and after. This data was entered into a database along with the location of the person, the mean of the barometric pressure readings, and the difference between the after and before readings. The data was analyzed using SPSS Correlations and a Pearson Correlation with Location, Pain and Barometric Pressure Mean (BP Mean) which showed an inverse correlation. The correlation analysis shows an increase of pain with a decrease in barometric pressure when evaluated relative to the locations.

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