Cloudy with a Chance of Pain

A debate surrounding the relationship between weather and pain has been around for centuries. Approximately 80% of those who visit the GP for Rheumatoid Arthritis believe the weather influences their pain. Digital technology is now enabling us to explore this relationship and try to find an answer; the research endeavours to explore whether there is a scientific basis for this belief.

Cloudy with a Chance of Pain launched in January 2016 as the world’s first smartphone-based study to investigate the association between weather and pain; focusing on arthritis and other forms of chronic pain such as fibromyalgia. Supported by Arthritis Research UK, uMotif, and the Office for Creative Research and in association with the University’s Health eResearch Centre, University of Manchester researchers have developed Cloudy as a citizen science project that actively involves members of the public. The research shall be carried out over the course of 2016, ending in January 2017 when the research team will carry out a formal analysis.

Those who use the app will record their symptoms and how they are feeling each day such as their pain intensity. The participant’s smartphone automatically collects local weather data using the devices global positioning system to get information from their nearest weather station. Even those who do not suffer from chronic pain conditions can still get involved by exploring the data and submitting their own ideas and thoughts about the relationship between weather and pain.

Information gathered will be analysed and used to assess symptoms in relation to weather patterns. This can hopefully be used to generate a pain forecast so people can plan their activities in advance. Cloudy with a Chance of Pain can help improve self-management and empowers the patient to have more control over their pain. This research aims to develop a clearer picture that has potential for the patient to predict symptom changes through with the possibility of providing new interventions targeted at aspects of weather to combat pain.

With over 8000 participants and 1 million recorded symptoms a large unique dataset is forming, you too could add to this. Find out more and to take part visit