Does Rainy Weather Actually Increase Joint Pain?

Some people with achy joints and arthritis swear that weather influences their pain. New research, perhaps the deepest, data-based dive into this suggestion, finds that weather conditions in 45 U.S. cities are indeed associated with Google searches about joint pain.

But it might not be the association you’d expect.

As temperatures rose within the study’s focus span of 23 degrees to 86 degrees Fahrenheit, searches about knee and hip pain rose steadily, too. Knee-pain searches peaked at 73 degrees and were less frequent at higher temperatures. Hip-pain searches peaked at 83 degrees and then tailed off. Rain actually dampened search volumes for both.

The findings, published in PLOS ONE, indicate that people’s activity level – increasing as temperatures rise, to a point – is likelier than the weather itself to cause pain that spurs online searches, say investigators from UW Medicine in Seattle and Harvard University.

“We were surprised by how consistent the results were throughout the range of temperatures in cities across the country,” said Scott Telfer, a UW Medicine researcher in orthopedics and sports medicine. He collaborated with Nick Obradovich, a postdoctoral fellow in science, technology and public policy at Harvard.

The researchers used Google Trends, a resource that reflects global use of the company’s search engine. They created search strings of words and phrases for hip pain, knee pain and arthritis, as well as a control search related to stomach pain.

From the 50 most populous U.S. cities, they sought daily summaries of local weather data from Jan. 1, 2011, to Dec. 31, 2015. The data included temperature, precipitation, relative humidity and barometric pressure – variables previously suggested as associated with increases in musculoskeletal pain. Five cities were dropped from the final results due to incomplete data.

Google Trends expresses data in weekly, not daily, increments, which slightly limited the findings’ precision vis-à-vis time. Temperatures and searches below 23 degrees were aggregated into one group, as were temperatures and searches above 86 degrees. Those two groups of combined temperatures correspond with somewhat less scientific confidence, Telfer acknowledged, but the trend of fewer searches, relative to both 23 and 86 degrees, was evident in each group.

Among the weather variables, only temperature and precipitation were found to have statistically significant associations, and only with searches for knee and hip pain. Searches about arthritis, which Telfer said was the study’s impetus, had no discernible correlation with weather factors.

“You hear people with arthritis say they can tell when the weather is changing,” he said. “But with past studies there’s only been vague associations, nothing very concrete, and our findings align with those.”

The stomach-pain searches functioned well as a control: Those volumes were greater at low and high temperature extremes and ebbed in mild temperatures, a very different pattern from the knee- and hip-pain searches.

Because knee- and hip-pain searches increased as temperatures rose until it grew uncomfortably hot, and rainy days tended to slightly reduce search volumes for hip and knee pain, the researchers inferred that “changes in physical activity levels” were primarily responsible for those searches.

“We haven’t found any direct mechanism that links ambient temperature with pain. What we think is much more likely explanation is the fact that people are more active on nice days, so more prone to have overuse and acute injuries from that and to search online for relevant information. That’s our hypothesis for what we’ll explore next,” said Telfer, an acting assistant professor in orthopedics and sports medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Credit: by Washington University

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Why Hong Kong is a perfect place for Oriental Herbs Business?

Hong Kong is an international city, and Chinese especially Cantonese culture belongs to most of its citizens. With a large amount of herbal usage, no matter in kitchens or clinics, Hong Kong has also developed one of the largest Chinese Herbs markets in the world.

Even before 1997, when the hangover of the sovereign of Hong Kong from the UK to the People Republic of China happened, Hong Kong people already import tons of oriental herbs, from not only mainland China, but from worldwide. Hong Kong is famous for its world largest American Ginseng market.

Hong Kong has a well-developed Chinese medicines manufacture and distribution industry. According to the official statistics, in 2017, 10310 people are working in this industry, contributing $5.3 billion of add-on value. The value of imports of Chinese herbal medicines is $3.9 billion, while the value of total exports is $1.2 billion.

You may think that mainland China would be the chief buyer and seller in the industry. Wrong. Actually, Hong Kong people are sophisticated in dealing with the world. Most of the imports value comes from North America, which is the origin of American Ginseng. On the other hand, Hong Kong’s herbs export to Taiwan, Korea and the USA, where the production of Chinese medicines is well-developed.

So, why Hong Kong?

If you have tried to buy herbs from different countries, you will find that it is much more easier to buy cheaper and better herbs in Hong Kong.

Language Talents

Hong Kong was a British colony on the front door of mainland China. With a mature education system, most Hong Kong people can speak Cantonese, English and Mandarin. It makes herbalists in Hong Kong can buy herbs worldwide, especially when the overseas Cantonese friends can help a lot. The medical manufacturer can communicate with the herbalists in Hong Kong well and get exactly what they want.

Moreover, people in mainland China write Simplified Chinese, while Hong Kong people write Traditional Chinese Characters. Therefore only Hong Kong people can read ancient version of the herbal books. It creates a better environment for Hong Kong herbalists to learn both ancient Chinese herbal books and modern medicine in English.

High Credibility

Credibility is the most treasurable thing in the business world, especially in Cantonese Culture. There are many trustworthy wholesalers in Hong Kong who run their business for even more than a hundred years. In the confusing Chinese herbs markets filled with scams and fakes, this is important to find a supplier who you can trust.

The whole thing is not just to rely on self-discipline. There Cap. 549 Chinese Medicine Ordinance in Hong Kong laws state that all wholesalers, retailers and herbalists have to be registered, professionally trained and experienced. There is also a legally registered list of herbs that can only be sold by those registered retailers.

Variety of usage in Hong Kong Culture

If you walk around the streets in Hong Kong, you will even find that herbal tea store (涼茶舖 Liangcha) and Chinese Medicine Clinics are really abundant in Hong Kong. Herbalism is deeply rooted in every Hong Kong man’s soul. Many people like to drink herbal tea a day, in order to confront the hot and wet weather in Hong Kong.

With such a culture, many herbal products are developed. Fried weed seeds (火麻仁) are used to cook herbal tea which is good for the digestive system. Medicated oils are invented to alleviate different kinds of pains and illnesses.

As professional herbalists in Hong Kong, we have our codes and discipline as like as western medicine. We do not only sell herbs. We give the best advice for the development of herbal products because this is what a practitioner should do. If you have any question or needs about oriental herbs, feel free to find us. We are happy to share!

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