Last week Hurricane Dorian crept dangerously close to Williamsburg County. The storm left behind mostly debris and some power outages, but the affects, for many, were felt days before the winds began to blow.

Atmospheric or barometric pressure is the measure of air pressure in a given area. As a hurricane approaches, the barometric pressure changes and that can bring on unpleasant symptoms in those who are sensitive to the changes.

Weather is believed to affect mood, blood pressure and joint pain. A drop in pressure can also trigger headache and even migraines. One study of 34 patients treated in a hospital with migraine found small decreases in atmospheric pressure between 1003 to <1005 hPa (Standard is 1,013.25 hPa), induced the attacks most frequently in those patients.  

Arthritis sufferers feel the changes as well. A study by the Department of Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania dating back to 1963 suggested arthritis symptoms worsened with the onset of rising humidity with fall-ing pressure. The Arthritis Foundation reported a study from Tufts University in 2007 found that every 10-degree drop in temperature corresponded with an incremental increase in arthritis pain. Researchers aren’t sure why this happens but they suspect certain atmospheric conditions increase swelling in the joint capsule.

Whatever the reasons behind changes in the weather and our aches and pains, the truth is, for some, the symptoms are real. Turns out grandma might be right when she predicts a storm is coming because she can feel it in her bones.