Temperature sensitivity affects many women with fibromyalgia, myself included. You can be cold all the time or hot all the time or alternate between being hot or cold.
For over twenty-five years I had hot flashes and night sweats. I can’t tell you how many times I was totally embarrassed because I could not stop sweating. My hair and clothes would be drenched regardless of the outside temperature. Now I am freezing all the time.
Research shows that people with fibromyalgia have an inability to adapt to changes in temperature along with a lower pain threshold to both hot and cold stimuli. Julie at Counting My Spoons wrote about a study that examined the temperature thresholds for heat and cold in women with fibromyalgia compared to healthy women.
- What Causes Temperature Sensitivity
- Heat Sensitivity
- Cold Sensitivity
- Sensitive To Both, Heat and Cold
- Managing Fibromyalgia in the Heat and Humidity
- Advice For Fibromyalgia Sufferers To Manage In Summer
- Scientists Pinpoint Physical Cause of Fibromyalgia Pain
- Learn More
- Fibromyalgia and Low Body Temperature
- 1. Low Iron
- 2. Low Thyroid
- 3. Excess Stress
- Weather conditions do not affect fibromyalgia pain or fatigue
- How Does The Weather Affect Your Fibromyalgia Pain?
- How Fibromyalgia is Affected by Weather Changes – And What You Can Do
- The Connection Between Fibromyalgia and Weather
- How To Manage Fibromyalgia In Cold Weather
- Stay Warm
What Causes Temperature Sensitivity
Body temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a section of the brain responsible for hormone production. It is considered the link between the nervous system and the endocrine system.
The hypothalamus not only controls body temperature. It controls energy levels, the sleep cycle, muscular function, circulation, the gut and defense against infection.
Most fibromyalgia symptoms seem to be due to imbalances in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis). These three glands work together to control hormone levels. Disruptions in the HPA axis seem to be at the core of fibromyalgia.
Thyroid hormones also play a role in regulating body temperature. An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can cause a person to feel too hot, while an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause a person to feel too cold.
The thyroid gland is under the control of the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland itself is regulated by the hypothalamus. Anything that disrupts the HPA axis will also suppress thyroid function.
Certain medications interfere with the regulation of body temperature. Some drugs make you sensitive to heat, increasing the risk of heat stroke and some can lower body temperature.
Some heat sensitive people feel all-over heat sensations that seem to come from within their own body. Along with hot flashes, some people have problems with excessive sweating. Others may only have problems in their hands and feet, including puffiness and aching. Warm or hot weather can be unbearable with heat sensitivity.
To avoid getting overheated:
- Keep your environment cool.
- Wear soft, lightweight clothing that fits loosely. Stick to light colors in warm weather because dark colors absorb heat.
- Stay hydrated. Make sure you always have a cold drink (water is best) to sip on.
- Take a cool bath or shower. Sometimes just soaking your feet in cool water can help cool your body down.
- Use cooling products such as a cold pack or fan. Carry a small, hand-held, battery operated fan with you when you go out.
When the weather gets warm, heat sensitive people with fibromyalgia often experience symptom flare-ups. Research has found that people with fibromyalgia exposed to hot temperatures report increases in: pain, headaches, fatigue, anxiety and depression. They are also more likely to have heat rashes and heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Signs of heat stroke and immediate action to cool the overheated person while waiting for emergency treatment can be found on the Mayo Clinic website.
People who are cold sensitive often feel chilled to the bone and have a hard time warming up. The cold can be all over or just in your hands and feet. This symptom is usually worse during cold weather, but can occur at any time.
To prevent problems with cold:
- Keep your environment warm.
- Dress warmly, especially in cold weather. Keep your feet covered, wear socks and slippers.
- Drink hot liquids and eat hot meals like soup and oatmeal.
- Take warm baths or showers.
- Keep a blanket handy or use a heating pad or similar microwave products.
An unusual sensitivity to cold in the hands and feet with color changes in the skin sometimes occur in people with fibromyalgia. This condition is called Raynaud’s syndrome, also known as Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Sensitive To Both, Heat and Cold
Some people fluctuate between being hot and being cold. One minute you can be sweating with hot flashes and freezing the next. This can be very challenging. You have to be prepared for either scenario.
- Dress in layers or have extra layers available.
- For night sweats, wear moisture wicking sleepwear or use temperature regulating sheets.
Fluctuations in temperature can make your fibromyalgia feel worse. It’s important to plan ahead. You may have to spend most of your time indoors where you can better control the conditions.
Temperature sensitivity is a common fibromyalgia symptom. Most women with fibromyalgia report being extremely sensitive to cold and/or heat. Essentially, temperature sensitivity may be due to hormonal imbalances in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. Medications can also interfere with the regulation of body temperature.
For many years, I was hot all the time. The warm and hot weather was unbearable so I preferred cold weather. Now it seems as if the switch has been flipped and I am always cold. The hot flashes stopped when I stopped taking antidepressants and Lyrica. So either it was the medications or I made it through menopause. Now, if I could just get warm.
I’d like to hear from you. If you have fibromyalgia, are you sensitive to heat, cold or both? If so, do you have any tips that help? Please leave a comment below to share.
Wilson’s Syndrome is a hypothyroid condition characterized by the body’s inability to convert inactive hormone into active useable hormone. Individuals with Wilson’s Syndrome suffer from chronic low body temperature. Doctors have estimated that Wilson’s Syndrome affects up to 30% of our population, with women accounting for 80% of the diagnosed cases.
Even if your thyroid blood test results are within normal limits, you could still be suffering from thyroid dysfunction. Thyroid tests measure the hormone levels in the blood. However, thyroid hormones remain inactive in the blood and are active in the cells. Medicine is not advanced enough to measure the hormone inside the cell therefore we are unable to know exactly how much thyroid is actively working in the body rather than just present in the blood.
Currently the best way to test if you are experiencing an under-active thyroid is to take your temperature. Temperature is an accurate indicator since it reflects what is going on in the cells of the body. A consistently low body temperature (1-1.5 degrees below 98.6) can be a result of poor thyroid stimulation in the cells. Chronic low body temperature triggers a plethora of symptoms due to a slowing of the enzymatic processes that keep the body functioning properly.
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Symptoms associated with Wilson’s Syndrome include sleep disorders, low motivation and ambition, irritable bowel syndrome, decreased sex drive, depression, fatigue, headaches and irritability. Since a number of the symptoms overlap with the symptoms reported by CFS and FM patients it may be worth your while to check your temperature in order to investigate if you’re a possible candidate for Wilson’s Syndrome.
Fortunately there is a multitude of therapeutic options at your disposal if you do indeed have Wilson’s Syndrome. Taking liothyronine (T3 hormone) can easily treat Wilson’s Syndrome. Liothyronine is an instant release medication that must be prescribed by a doctor. The treatment is more effective and better tolerated when tempered by a sustained release agent.
The Wilson’s Syndrome Foundation advocates trying a “therapeutic trial” in order to establish whether or not you do if fact have Wilson’s Syndrome. There is no chance of damage to your thyroid gland if your temperature does not return to normal levels and you do not feel better as a result of treatment. On the other hand, if the treatment alleviates your symptoms it is most likely you will only need to take the medication for a short period of time. Patients who had their symptoms vanish discontinued taking liothyronine and found that the symptoms did not reappear.
Non-drug treatment options include engaging in regular physical exercise. Sufferers report that the raise in body heat after consistent sustained (10-15 minutes) exercise reduces the intensity and frequency of their symptoms. Incorporating Molybdenum (metabolic catalyst), Choline, Alpha Lipoic Acid (helps raise body temperature), Coenzyme Q10 (Mitochondria support) and anti-oxidant supplements into the diet can aid in healing. Some report feeling better as a result of taking a very hot bath upon waking to temporarily raise their body temperature.
Sources: The Wilson’s Syndrome Foundation
The Cold Body Page: Chronic Sub-Clinical Hypothermia and Wilson’s Syndrome
Skelly, Mari and Helm, Andrea. “Alternative Treatments for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” Hunter House Publishers.
Managing Fibromyalgia in the Heat and Humidity
Summer is in full swing, and the thermometer is climbing. But while many people look forward to warmer temperatures, those with fibromyalgia may face the turning of the seasons with a sense of dread.
Some fibromyalgia patients know they can expect a flare-up in fibromyalgia symptoms from heat and high humidity; others agonize during cold weather months. One Portuguese study found that 70 percent of patients with various rheumatic conditions, including fibromyalgia, felt that weather changes had an influence on their pain.
“A lot of studies have shown that patients have sensitivity to pain with both temperature extremes,” says Lynne Matallana, founder and president of the National Fibromyalgia Association. “I know people who have packed up and moved their families because they felt another part of the country would be more comfortable for them. It can be that intense.”
Why Temperature Affects Fibromyalgia
Research has found that people with fibromyalgia exposed to hot temperatures report increases in:
- Muscle pain
Other fibromyalgia patients have reported feeling these symptoms in cold weather. “Any type of extreme weather change can make a difference,” Matallana says. “Our bodies don’t seem to be able to adapt as well as those of healthy people.”
Interestingly, people with fibromyalgia who report sensitivity at one temperature extreme often have no problem with the other extreme. “Most patients find they do better at one of the extremes or the other,” Matallana says. Folks who suffer in Florida often thrive in Alaska, and vice versa.
Medical experts aren’t sure exactly why heat has such a detrimental effect on some fibromyalgia patients. Studies, however, have provided some clues:
- Problems regulating body heat. Research has found that people with fibromyalgia have difficulty habituating themselves to temperature changes. Heat may bother people with fibromyalgia because they don’t perspire as easily as others. “Because there’s limited blood flow in the skin, there’s less ability to sweat,” Matallana says. As body heat rises, fibromyalgia patients suffer fevers and muscle pain, and are also more likely to have heat rashes and heat stroke.
- Dehydration. Fibromyalgia patients become dehydrated easily, which can lead to headaches, pain, and fatigue.
- Sleeplessness. A lack of sleep often can make fibromyalgia symptoms worse, and hot, muggy nights make sleep difficult. “People oftentimes end up trying to use air conditioning or fans, and those also disrupt their sleep,” Matallana said.
High humidity seems to exacerbate these symptoms, possibly because it makes the heat feel even more oppressive. Patients with a sensitivity to cold also report feeling worse in humid, clammy conditions.
Warm Weather Coping Strategies
When the weather gets warm, fibromyalgia patients with heat sensitivity need to pay close attention to their bodies. To protect yourself, you should:
- Stay hydrated. Be sure to drink lots of water, and don’t wait until you are thirsty before you drink. Dehydration can precede actual thirst. Carry a water bottle around and sip from it often. Avoid drinking alcohol, as it can cause you to lose body fluids. Don’t drink liquids that are overly cold, as they can cause cramping.
- Stay cool. Use air conditioning to keep your home cool. If you don’t have air conditioning, get a respite from the heat at an air-conditioned mall or movie theater. Take cool showers or baths, or go for a swim. Using a cold pack can help you cool off and ease muscle pain. Cool, damp cloths on your neck or ice cubes dabbed on your wrists can ease the effects of the heat, too.
- Stay comfortable. Wear light, comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that breathes. Choose bright colors or whites; dark colors absorb heat.
Fluctuations in temperature can make your fibromyalgia feel worse. But once you know which extreme bothers you the most, you can plan ahead and spend time indoors where you can better control the conditions.
Advice For Fibromyalgia Sufferers To Manage In Summer
Posted on 2nd June 2014
While many people look forward to the rising temperatures of summer, if you suffer from fibromyalgia you can be forgiven for not quite sharing in this enthusiasm. Just as cold weather can cause your symptoms to flare, heat may also bring its own set of challenges. According to Lynne Matallana, founder and president of the National Fibromyalgia Association: “A lot of studies have shown that patients have sensitivity to pain with both temperature extremes… I know people who have packed up and moved their families because they felt another part of the country would be more comfortable for them. It can be that intense.”
The website fibromyalgia-symptoms.org, identify the following five weather factors that can affect fibromyalgia patients:
- Barometric Pressure
So, what are some of the common complaints for fibromyalgia patients relating to the hot weather?
According to our internet research you may experience a combination of the following:
- Heat sensitivity
- Swollen hands and feet
- Other overheating symptoms such as a red face, excessive sweat, headaches, nausea and dizziness
- Dry mouth and throat
- Pain increase and fatigue
- Interrupted sleep patterns
However, as the sun puts his hat on, it’s important not to panic; the heat need not ruin the summer ahead for you. By following the advice we have collated on your behalf, you can minimise the impact of soaring temperatures on your symptoms and still enjoy the many benefits of the season:
- Stay hydrated
Ensure you drink enough water, smaller amounts at regular intervals is best
- Maintain a healthy diet
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, yoghurts and wholegrains and try to avoid spicy and fried food
- Don’t over exert yourself
Rest when you feel tired and don’t push yourself too hard
- Wear comfortable clothing
Avoid figure-hugging garments and remember that natural fibres, such as cotton, will help your skin to breathe.
- Keep some lozenges handy
Try sucking on a boiled sweet if you feel dizzy or have a dry throat
- Stay in the shade
Try to organise your schedule to avoid going out in the afternoon sun, if possible. If you do find yourself caught in the sunshine, ensure you protect yourself with sunscreen, shades, and a sunhat/scarf/umbrella.
- Try a cooling vest
Popular with athletes, cooling vests have also found favour amongst sufferers of chronic pain as a useful means to cool the body down when its feeling overheated
- Take a cool soak in the bath tub
This may be just the ticket to ease the pain caused by swollen hands and feet
Have you experienced problems associated with the high temperatures of the summer months? Do share any helpful tips you may have for cooling down in the heat.
We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.
Scientists Pinpoint Physical Cause of Fibromyalgia Pain
The study, funded by pharmaceutical companies Forest Laboratories and Eli Lilly, included only female subjects. Women are diagnosed with fibromyalgia twice as often as men.
The condition can currently be treated by three medications made by Forest and Eli Lilly: Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Savella. Rice said the companies are currently developing new prescription drugs for fibromyalgia, but did not give a timetable for their release, citing proprietary information.
Argoff said many healthcare providers in the U.S. don’t believe fibromyalgia exists, despite the availability of diagnostic criteria. He said some doctors label patients who complain of the symptoms as “malingerers” or “hysterical.”
Tara Manley of San Diego, Calif., has been managing her fibromyalgia for five years. She told Healthline she had a hard time convincing doctors that she was in pain. “Everything came back wonderful from all the tests, and I looked healthy,” she said.
However, there were times when the pain became so unbearable that she ended up in a wheelchair. Finally, a doctor in Los Angeles, who also suffers from fibromyalgia, diagnosed her, she said.
Sue Shipe, who lives in an Albany, New York, suburb, also has fibromyalgia. She founded the Institute for Human Empowerment in 2000 to advocate for people with the condition. She has successfully lobbied the state of New York to pass annual resolutions recognizing the illness.
She told Healthline that finding a physical cause for the condition is big news. “It validates the patient’s experience,” Shipe said.
- What Is Fibromyalgia?
- Fibromyalgia and Menopause
- Best Fibromyalgia Blogs of 2013
- Famous Faces of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia and Low Body Temperature
There are many theories as to the cause of Fibromyalgia. Some say it is the effects of heavy metal and chemical toxicity. Some say it is chronic infections, while others say it is the side-effects from vaccines and the use of suppressive medicines such as acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen, still others say it is dysregulated hormones or the effects of emotional trauma.
In this author’s opinion everyone is correct in the same way as the proverbial three blind men describing an elephant from the head, tail, and the side are correct in their description of the elephant, but only from each one’s unique vantage point. However, in Fibromyalgia there is one common overriding finding…low body temperature!
This article deals primarily with the very predictable problems seen in low body temperature and the profound importance of restoring and maintaining normal core body temperature. This is true not just in Fibromyalgia, but in every degenerative disease of our day.
Your core body temperature is the temperature taken under the tongue. When human physiology books refer to the “normal” core body temperature it is presented as a range sometimes listed between 97.0-99.0°F . Understand that the “Normal Range” for temperature or even the normal ranges in blood tests are based upon the average person of our day. That is why “normal” changes periodically, because as our average population continues to get sicker the normal ranges must be adjusted. So in this discussion I am speaking about what is an optimal core body temperature – 98.6-99.6°F.
Much emphasis in conventional medicine is usually placed upon feverish conditions; however, a low body temperature can be a much more sinister condition. Where a fever can be viewed as an active developmental and corrective process of the healthy body, a low body temperature can never be viewed as a normal or healthy condition, nor is it a mechanism for a learning or developmental process in the body.
A low body temperature creates a happy home for viruses and chronic infections, and is a sign of degeneration and gradual cellular death. The problem with a low core temperature is that no effective immune response can be mounted therefore no fever is generated and infections go undetected. The sickest person is one who gets the same infections but never miss a day of work because there is no response by their immunes system, so they have a false sense of wellness as healthier individuals go through healthy fevers and immune responses that may cause them to miss work.
Low body temperature is the plague of the 21st century. People with low body temperature have a weak reaction to even the most ideal medicines and therapies.
As the body’s core temperature decreases all cellular energy also decreases thereby leading to profound and chronic fatigue that is not relieved by sleep.
The effects of low temperature:
The cooperative and collective intelligence of the human organism is short-circuited as the body temperature cools. As a result, all cellular functions decrease. There is a decrease in the production of all hormones, neurotransmitters, and other body chemicals necessary for healthy regulation of energy.
In this mild hypothermia condition there is an increased susceptibility to infectious disease as temperature drops the acidity of the body increases and the normally predominantly negative polarity of the cells become more positively charged.
The colder the body becomes the more prone to depression and other psychological abnormalities and all degenerative illnesses of the body, mind and spirit.
Until the causes of the lowered temperature are addressed and corrected, the best that can be hoped for is only temporary or mild improvement of symptoms and a gradual but steady overall decline in health.
Viruses prefer and promote a cold environment and replicate at a much more rapid rate when the body is cold. Viruses are killed and further replication is impeded by maintaining a warm body. Some bacteria such as Lyme spirochetes also prefer and promote a cold environment and can remain in a chronic state as long as their cold environment is maintained. Therefore, in the interest of the prevention and treatment of any viral, bacterial, or chronic illness, this topic must be understood.
The ultimate body coldness is seen in death. When observing a corpse many clinical gems can be gleaned and correlated to degenerative states of human suffering. In death, the blood and lymph fluid of the body solidify and the body becomes stiff and cold. In the same way many chronic cold illnesses such as cancer, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, diabetes, and heart disease, we see that the body becomes progressively colder. As the body cools, the electrical oscillations of the fluids in the body slow down and there is a shift in the body’s polarity which promotes infectious microbes and cancer.
We can see the same principle of what happens in the body by observing the same dynamics in a water molecule. When the electrical oscillations of a water molecule slows down it becomes a solid, ice, as we speed up a water molecule’s electrical oscillations it liquefies and ultimately becomes a vapor.
The colder a body becomes, the slower the electrical oscillatory rate and therefore the thicker, more viscous, or syrupy the body fluids become. The more viscous the fluids become the more difficult it is for the body to push the fluids through the body. The lymph fluids that are normally supposed to bathe the outsides of all of your cells become progressively stagnant as it is too thick to move efficiently. Now, consider the fact that just like your skin is constantly dying and flaking off and being replaced, so it is that every cell in your body is in a constant state of dying and being replaced. Only now the cold, syrupy lymph fluid cannot wash the dead cellular debris away. As a result the body becomes a toxic waste dump!
Muscles normally have a high demand for energy. Through contraction and relaxation muscles assist in eliminating their own cellular waste products. In a cold body however, the liquidity of the fluids inside of the muscles is gone, and the muscles cannot move the toxins and cellular debris. The deeper you go into belly or center of the muscle, the colder and more difficult it is to move the toxins. Without normal viscosity of the body fluids, muscular contraction and relaxation grinds to a halt, like an engine with no lubricating oil. The belly of the muscle develops a knot that can be felt when massaging the muscle. This is the knotted, painful, muscle condition commonly known as “trigger points” of Fibromyalgia Syndrome, which is being diagnosed in millions of people every year.
If the low body temperature is allowed to persist and no therapies are applied, even in a palliative manner as in massages to move toxins manually out of the belly of the muscle, the condition follows that of the water molecule. The belly of the muscle, due to the increasing coldness and decreased muscular activity progressively over time reaches the point of zero electrical oscillations at which time the tissue solidifies in a calcified stone in the belly of the muscle.
Interesting research that supports this concept has been performed by Dr. Carolyn McMakin, D.C. using the electro-therapy called microcurrent. The microcurrent is applied through direct contact on these trigger points via vinyl/graphite gloves connected to the microcurrent machine. The trigger points virtually vanish under the gentle touch of the glove when applying the correct electrical frequency. What may be happening here is that the stimulation of the muscle through microcurrent is externally increasing the electrical oscillatory rate of the thickened fluids in the muscle resulting in temporarily restoring the normal liquidity of the fluids allowing the muscles to once again contract and pump out the toxic accumulation. The results are somewhat temporary due to the fact that the underlying condition that created it in our scenario, the overall low body temperature, remains unchanged. However, used in combination with various other corrective measures, this micro current therapy can speed healing in many cases. Relief of Fibromyalgia Through Microcurrent Therapy by John W. Addington ImmuneSupport.com 7-11-2001
Organ Circuits and low temperature
The body is set up with dedicated electrical circuits all of which are interdependent and interconnected. A circuit in the body has a specific organ, gland, teeth, muscle, and nerves. If anything goes wrong in one of these organ circuits the circuit energy goes down approximately 60% of normal.
The laws of thermodynamics state if we decrease energy we decrease temperature. Due to the interconnectedness of all the circuits, one circuit in the body cannot go down without ultimately affecting the whole.
Therefore, if the muscle is seizing up and becoming progressively rigid and solidified, what do you suppose the organ that is also on that same electrical circuit is doing? It is likely that to some degree it is also progressively seizing up and solidifying.
In the 50,000 miles of blood vessels, the cold thick blood is more difficult to flow through the veins and arteries. Arteriosclerosis, the progressive hardening of the arteries, and the clogging of the blood vessels is manifesting the exact same problem that is being experienced by every tissue in the too cold body. Edema in the extremities is seen as the muscular walls of the blood vessels seize up and can no longer maintain tone and the fluids leaks out of the pores in the vessels.
I look at many older patients, and some not so old, who are experiencing all the signs and symptoms of death in the extremities. They are dying in their extremities first, from the feet and hands up to legs to the torso. To touch their feet is just like touching an icy, stiff, dead corpse. The foot is deathly whitish blue and etched in blue/black blood vessels from devitalized, stagnant blood.
The overcooling of peripheral blood returning from cold legs and feet causes depression of the temperature in the vital organs with slowing of metabolic processes, particularly in the brain and medullary centers. Cotran R.S., Kumar V., Robbins S.L., Robbin’s Pathological Basis of Disease 4th ed. 1989 pp501. Death occurs when a vital organ reaches the point of being too cold.
Your physician can name your disease, he can call it cancer, he can draw your blood and show you everything that is wrong with it, but he is simply describing the process I have just outlined. When the core temperature of the body is cold every organ, gland, and tissue is affected and becomes hypo-functional or may even become hyper, as in the case of hyperthyroidism, in a last ditch effort to compensate for the hypothermic condition of the body.
Hypo-function in the body means that there are fewer hormones, and less of every chemical involved with normal body and brain function. Even the psyche is affected leading to virtually any type of psychological problem, especially depression. How many people are told that they have psychological depression from a deficiency of a certain brain chemical? Many! Can you see that of course they are deficient in “happy” brain chemicals possibly due to the overcooling of the body?
It might be said that you are dying in direct proportion to the coldness of your body. Follow this logic: Cells degenerate and die in direct proportion to the depletion of oxygen. Blood that is overcooled from a cold core temperature is too thick to efficiently carry oxygen and the lung vital capacity is reduced leading to shallow breathing. This means that the oxygen to carbon dioxide exchange rate in the lungs is minimal. Now combine the degenerative effects of the oxygen deprivation and the cold temperature and the fact that all of this and the overgrowth of microbes promote an acidic environment and you have greatly accelerated cellular degeneration and the onset of life-threatening disease.
There is an optimum body temperature is which all chemical reactions in the human body need in order to maintain health…98.6° F. I can honestly say that I rarely see a new patient come into my clinic with a normal body temperature. One 66 year old woman came in as a new patient with a temperature of 94.6! She was in dire straits for certain. She could not feel her feet and to touch her legs was like touching the legs of a corpse, the legs even looked dead and grey, streaked with blue/black veins of stagnant devitalized blood.
In classic hypothermia, as seen in people stranded in blizzards, it is well known that the circulation of blood in the arms and legs is reduced dramatically, almost to zero, in order to provide protection and warmth to the vital organs. These people will also cease to feel cold and will experience numbness, loss of coordination, mental confusion, and heart rhythm problems. It sounds like I am describing many elderly people, and some cancer sufferers doesn’t it?
One way to treat weather related hypothermia is to give the person warm sugar drinks. Sugar is a cheap, fast burning fuel for your body and therefore generates a lot of heat in the process. This may be why so many people suffering from lifestyle induced cold core temperature are plagued with sugar cravings. Many of them consume copious amounts of sugar in the form of soda pops, chocolate, pastries, and various candies. It may be a craving that is driven by the body’s desire to generate fast heat to keep the body functioning. Sugar cravings should diminish as the core body temperature problems are resolved.
Keep in mind that the body has been too cold possibly since birth, due to multi-generational use of suppressive medicines, vaccines, fever-reducers, heavy metal and chemical toxins, and from the consumption of energetically dead food.
The retraining and resetting of the body’s thermostat is just the beginning of healing the body of chronic illnesses. The normal body temperature must be held steady possibly for a year or more in some cases before the body can undo the damage of a lifetime of coldness.
Understanding your Temperature
Everyone can afford a simple thermometer. Track your temperature when you first awaken in the morning, before even getting out of bed. This reflects your core body temperature, when it is not being influenced by what you just ate, drank, or your activity level. Many of you will likely be surprised to see just how cold you already are. This is the result of generations of suppressive therapies and an imbalanced life. You must save yourself.
Many doctors will undoubtedly say that you need to take a thyroid medication to bring up the body temperature; however this is the same mentality of taking a Tylenol for a headache. If you don’t believe me then ask anyone on the prescription thyroid medicines- what happens when they go off of the medication? The body returns immediately to the previous cold, hypo-functional condition.
One should definitely support the normal functioning of the thyroid, by detoxification, organic iodine, adrenal glandular supplements, and nutritional support, but see the coldness for what it really is, a sign of multi-organ system breakdown, and longstanding or even generational imbalance. Besides, it is the hypothalamus that regulates your core body temperature, along with regulating your degree of motivation and sex drive. The hypothalamus is actually “upstream” from your thyroid, helping the pituitary regulate the thyroid.
The healthy body has daily temperature fluctuations (diurnal) with the coolest temperature upon awakening in the morning hours of 6-8 a.m. and the warmest being in the evening between 8-10 p.m. Tracking of the difference between morning and evening temperature should reveal, in a healthy person, a difference of at least 0.9° F (0.5° C). People with a low body temperature and an overall degenerative condition will find that this temperature variation is minimal. Another unusual finding of dysregulated body temperature is that the evening is often colder than the morning reading.
The body’s best chance at long-term healing increases in direct proportion to the restoration of normal body temperature. The effect of even the most perfectly selected medicines is limited by the available energy in the body to correctly utilize those medicines.
You and your healthcare team must address your body from every direction and with every balancing tool available. You can never truly overcome this condition with pills. Therapies must engage and reactivate and stimulate the rhythmical, metabolic, and nerve/sense aspects of your body, addressing the body, mind, and spirit.
Other supporting therapies designed for restoring the rhythms of the body must be applied. These therapies might include color and sound therapy, hot and cold contrast therapy, life-activity planning, breathing and voice therapy, rhythmical massage therapy, curative movement therapies, and indeed every other treatment from your doctor will address in some way the rhythmical aspects of your body.
Low body temperature must be addressed to bring the body back to balance. The temperature must be elevated to end the dying process of the body and to help the body eliminate the cellular debris or the “sludge” in the body.
- Temperature monitoring and graphing (upon awakening before getting out of bed, and between 8-10 pm after a 30 minute resting period)
- CRT (Computerized Regulation Thermography) for identifying problem areas and tracking of progress.
- Core Warmth™ herbal formula (Biologix Healing Products, Inc.) to open all meridians and restore proper fluid dynamics and warmth regulation in the body.
- Sleep on an Amethyst BioMat® from Richway, Inc., provides detoxification and restoration of fluid viscosity and core body warmth through variable infrared heat and negatively-charged ions from amethyst crystals.
- Full-Spectrum Infrared Sauna Therapy…The best broad-spectrum Infrared saunas are Sunlighten Saunas, un-treated basswood sauna. The Sunlighten is one of the only companies that offer a full-spectrum of infrared wavelengths (Near, Mid, and Far infrared) that come with 6 preset programs that allow you to determine what health issue you want to target, from the comfort of your own home. You can use the preset programs to target, 1) Detoxification, 2) Pain relief, 3) Weight loss, 4) Cardio, 5) Relaxation, 6) Skin health. These saunas are built to the highest industry standards for the most environmentally sensitive individuals, so there is virtually no outgassing smells and they emit virtually no harmful EMF pollution. Other manufacturers use plastic, hemlock and other materials that in the heat of the sauna can continue to out-gas chemical smells that can cause endocrine system interference, and often emit harmful amounts of EMF pollution. If you have a sauna already and are feeling badly while or after you sit in it, you might just be suffering from the dislodging of toxins in your body, however it could be that you are reacting to the wood or plastic of the sauna, or the emitted EMF pollution from the electronics in the sauna. The specific sauna we use at the Biologix Center is the Sunlighten six person, basswood, broad-spectrum sauna, equipped with Chromotherapy, and Acoustic Resonance Therapy (ART) to achieve even deeper and more profound healing. The healing music played for the Acoustic Resonance therapy in the sauna is frequency-enhanced tones that have been shown to harmonically optimize the cellular and potentially genetic functioning. Often we use Michael Tyrrell’s Wholetones CD and have seen a “quantum leap” in our results. Obviously I am passionate about this form of healing. I am a big fan of combining multiple ways of facilitating health in the body. Medical Neurology has determined that the more ways we can therapeutically address and affect the nervous system, the more rapid, deeper and longer lasting the healing. So in this one therapy that you can do safely at home you get to sit relaxed, and enjoy the best infrared technology, color therapy (The sauna is bathed in an infinite range of colors of your choosing.), at the same time you are using therapeutic music that sends healing sound frequencies, such as 528 hertz, which is the same sound frequency used by genetic engineers to repair DNA!
- Natural-Bristle, Dry skin brushing morning and evening (Entire body)
- Detoxification Bath Therapy…4 cups Epson Salt 64oz. Hydrogen Peroxide 3% in warm bathtub. Soak for 20 minutes one bath per night before bedtime.
- Mustard foot bath (Biologix Healing Products, Inc.)… at least once per day, preferably in the morning or early afternoon.
- Solum Aesculus Oil (Uriel Pharmacy, Inc.)… This oil and essence is great for restoring the warmth organization of the body. They also are beneficial for chemical sensitivities, and those suffering from weather-change barometric-related sensitivities. The oil and essence are low odor products made by Uriel Pharmacy, Inc. This oil can be added to a bath for all over body application or be used as massage oil. May be applied as needed.
- Chiropractic spinal, pelvic, and cranial alignments combined with specific homeopathic, nutritional, glandular, and myofascial support using Bio-Resonance Scanning™, or other body circuit balancing technique…as dictated by your healthcare professional.
- Vibration Station®… work up to 20 minutes per day. (Or other movement therapies)
- Therapeutic Massage using various homeopathic and herbal ointments (Uriel Pharmacy, Inc.) and therapeutic essential oils (Young Living Essential Oils company)
- Dietary Changes… call Dr. Jernigan for pamphlet on cooling foods and warming foods for restoring optimum body temperature.
- Learn to control the mind and emotions, see Biologix Center blogs (www.hansacenter.com) and Dr. Jernigan’s book, “Everyday Miracles by God’s Design”
For more advanced conditions add the following:
- Prescription-only, daily injections of Homeopathic, Viscum Album (Uriel Pharmacy, Inc.) as directed by your Healthcare Professional.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy… Two 1-hour sessions per day for first 5 days, then two to three sessions per week thereafter.
Cold intolerance is very common in fibromyalgia. There are three main health issues that lead to this:
1. Low Iron
Thyroid hormones act as a kind of “thermostat” to regulate temperature in your body. But in order to function properly, these hormones require adequate supplies of iron in your blood. Otherwise, your thyroid hormones won’t work despite your thyroid blood testing being normal.
Ironically, the “iron” blood test is not effective for checking iron levels. To check your iron levels, ask for a ferritin test, which should measure over 60 ng/ml. If you’re lower than this then you’re iron deficient. Ignore the “normal range,” which will say that your ferritin is normal if it’s over 12. Research shows that using this normal range is, simply put, insane. A blood test called an “iron percent saturation” can also be helpful, and should be kept over 22%.
I use a form called “Iron Complex,” which has numerous added components to optimize absorption and utilization of the iron. The recommended dose on the bottle is two a day, but I usually recommend taking just one.
On the other hand, be aware that too much iron in your blood can be toxic. So I would not supplement iron without checking the ferritin level. If the ferritin level comes back elevated, be sure this is also evaluated.
2. Low Thyroid
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Symptoms of low thyroid hormone production include cold intolerance, fatigue and achiness. It can also lead to unexplained weight gain, as thyroid hormones determine how many of your calories get burned for energy instead of being turned into fat. Most people who benefit from thyroid supplementation will appear to have normal blood test results. So to find out if you have low thyroid levels, you might be better off simply taking a therapeutic trial of thyroid hormone to see if it helps.
Another cause of low thyroid is iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency has become an increasingly common problem in our modern diet (particularly in the western world) due to food processing, which loses about 50% of the iodine we used to consume. Taking a good iodine supplement, such as Tri-Iodine 6.25 mg, daily for three months will usually take care of this problem, and it may help you feel better.
3. Excess Stress
Our temperature control center is in a small almond sized area in the brain called the hypothalamus. Excessive stress, along with other causes of inadequate energy production in the body, causes the hypothalamus to “go offline.” Kind of like tripping a circuit breaker in the brain, taking you out of the game when energy production is unable to meet your energy needs. This problem is becoming increasingly common, and it can lead to fibromyalgia, which already affects about 12 million Americans. And as I’ve discussed before, most physicians aren’t adequately familiar with fibromyalgia and don’t know how to diagnose or treat it.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia are a paradox of being unable to sleep despite being exhausted, achy, brain fogged and cold intolerant. But it can be effectively treated, as our published research has shown. I invite you to review the numerous Helpful Tools & Resources we provide at this site that can help you begin your path to recovery.
TUESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) — Although some people with fibromyalgia are sensitive to changes in temperature, sunshine and precipitation, new research shows that weather conditions do not affect the pain or fatigue associated with this chronic condition.
“Our analyses provide more evidence against, than in support of, the daily influence of weather on fibromyalgia pain and fatigue,” said study first author Ercolie Bossema from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
The study, published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, involved nearly 350 women with fibromyalgia, a chronic syndrome that causes unexplained pain, fatigue, headaches and sleep disturbances. The women were 47 years old, on average, and had been diagnosed almost two years earlier. They were asked about symptoms of pain and fatigue over the course of 28 days, during which time the researchers also recorded weather conditions, including outside temperature, sunshine duration, precipitation, atmospheric pressure and relative humidity, as reported by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.
Changes in weather showed a significant but small effect on pain or fatigue symptoms for 10 percent of cases. Significant, small differences between patients’ responses to weather also were found in 20 percent of cases.
The researchers said differences among the women’s response to weather conditions did not appear linked to functional or mental health status, demographics or seasonal or weather-related variations.
In the United States, 5 million people have fibromyalgia, many more of them women than men. Although the cause of this chronic pain syndrome is unclear, previous studies have suggested some people with fibromyalgia are more sensitive to certain stimuli. Up to 92 percent of people with this condition report a worsening of symptoms because of weather conditions.
“Previous research has investigated weather conditions and changes in fibromyalgia symptoms, but an association remains unclear,” Bossema said in a journal news release.
The study’s authors said future research on this issue should include more patient characteristics, such as personality traits and beliefs about chronic pain, in order to explain individual differences in weather sensitivity.
Weather conditions do not affect fibromyalgia pain or fatigue
Medical evidence shows that fibromyalgia affects 2% of the world population with a greater prevalence among women. In the U.S., the ACR estimates that five million people experience the widespread pain, unexplained fatigue, headaches, and sleep disturbances from this chronic pain syndrome. While the cause of fibromyalgia remains a mystery, studies suggest patients have increased sensitivity to a range of stimuli and up to 92% cite weather conditions exacerbate their symptoms.
“Many fibromyalgia patients report that certain weather conditions seem to aggravate their symptoms,” explains first author, Ercolie Bossema, Ph.D. from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. “Previous research has investigated weather conditions and changes in fibromyalgia symptoms, but an association remains unclear.”
To further explore the impact of weather on pain and fatigue in fibromyalgia, the team enrolled 333 female patients with this pain syndrome in the study. Participants had a mean age of 47 years and had a diagnosis of fibromyalgia for nearly 2 years. The patients completed questions regarding their pain and fatigue symptoms over a 28-day period. Researchers obtained air temperature, sunshine duration, precipitation, atmospheric pressure, and relative humidity from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.
Findings indicate that in 10% of analyses, weather variables showed a significant but small effect on pain or fatigue symptoms. In 20% of analyses, researchers found significant small differences between patients’ responses to weather, suggesting pain and fatigue symptoms were differentially affected by some weather conditions, i.e. greater pain with either low or high atmospheric pressure. The differences in individual symptom response to weather conditions did not appear to be associated with any demographic, functional or mental health status, nor seasonal or weather-related variations.
“Our analyses provide more evidence against, than in support of, the daily influence of weather on fibromyalgia pain and fatigue,” concludes Dr. Bossema. “This study is the first to investigate the impact of weather on fibromyalgia symptoms in a large cohort, and our findings show no association between specific fibromyalgia patient characteristics and weather sensitivity.” The authors suggest that future research include more patient characteristics, such as personality traits, beliefs about chronic pain, and attitude regarding the influence of weather on symptoms, to help explain individual differences in weather sensitivity and its impact on fibromyalgia pain and fatigue.
How Does The Weather Affect Your Fibromyalgia Pain?
Posted on 16th August 2016
The United Kingdom is known for its poor and inconsistent weather, which is problematic for a number of health conditions including fibromyalgia. Shifts in the weather are known to trigger symptoms in the condition and increase pain levels. Continue reading, as we take a closer look at how various climate conditions affect fibromyalgia.
The root cause of fibromyalgia symptoms is unknown, however, many people with the disorder believe changes in the weather make it worse. Fibromyalgia patients may favour different seasons depending on their sensitivities, as explained below.
Some people with fibromyalgia have heat sensitivities and find weather that’s a bit colder more tolerable than hot. A heat sensitive person often feels burning sensations, coming from within, all over their body. This can make any slight touch or layer of clothing against the skin feel unbearable. Other side effects include puffy and aching hands and feet, as well as hot flushes, heat stroke and excessive sweating. Heat sensitivity, like most fibromyalgia symptoms, can be tied to the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). As detailed in a study stemming out of The Netherlands, the hypothalamus is a section of the brain that is responsible for keeping the body’s status quo, a process known as homeostasis, by linking the nervous system and the endocrine system. FMS patients are prone to an imbalance of the HPA axis, which disrupts the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis and can lower their human growth hormone (HGH), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), cortisol and other hormones, causing a whole host of issues including sensitivities to temperature. This is evident with Dr. John C. Lowe, the Director of Research at the Fibromyalgia Research Foundation reporting, 43% of FMS patients have low thyroid function, meaning those with FMS are 10 to 250,000 times more likely to suffer from thyroid dysfunction.
On the other side of the spectrum, less sunlight and cooler temperatures, frequently onset symptoms, making winter also a dreaded time of year for sufferers. One of the reasons behind this is that people with fibromyalgia have an enormous increase in the number of sensory nerves on their palms and hands, according to findings by the Integrated Tissue Dynamics (Intidyn) in New York. Another reason is that our body temperature is regulated in our hands and feet, with blood vessels and shunts, opening up to let blood flow faster in cool temperatures, while exposing nerve fibers, fibromyalgia patients, with their surplus of nerve fibers, have greater pain in colder weather. Further complicating this issue is the fact that our hands and feet act as a reservoir and store and divert blood flow. Disruption at these critical sites, as seen in FMS patients, can result in mismanaged blood and cause muscular pain and aches. It can also contribute to a buildup of lactic acid, causing fatigue or hyperactivity in the brain, and inflammation. The increase in the number of these sensory nerves means drops or rises in temperature will have a large impact on FMS patients.
Above all, humidity hits fibromyalgia patients the hardest despite their normal tendencies. Researchers speculated this is a result of the weather, in either clammy or hot condition, feeling more oppressed. Given the biometric reasons above, fibromyalgia patients are also particularly vulnerable to weather fluctuations, as well as drops and rises in the barometric pressure, since their bodies scramble to regulate.
It’s interesting to consider, a fibromyalgia patient is rarely affected by both hot and cold but the dysfunction leading to their body flaring up is seen in both climates, whether the reaction causes noticeable symptoms. Can you relate to any of these issues adjusting to climate condition? Connect with us on social media, Facebook or Twitter, to let us know and stay tuned for our next blog entry tailored to aid fibromyalgia sufferers regulate their body and adjust to flare-ups brought on by temperature.
We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.
By Donna Gregory Burch
Ah summer! For many people, it’s time for cool dips in the pool, burgers on the grill and long walks on the beach.
But for those of us with fibromyalgia, the summer heat and humidity can cause our symptoms to flare and worsen.
Since so many of us struggle during the summer months, I decided to reach out to some of my fellow fibromyalgia bloggers and ask for their best tips for managing the challenges that come with excessive heat and humidity. I hope you enjoy their responses.
Sarah Borien, A Life Less Physical
My top tip for surviving the summer with fibromyalgia is to take things slowly. It can be frustrating, especially when it feels like all your friends are at outdoor concerts or on daytrips filled with activities, but you’re more likely to make the most of the sunshine by taking your time and embracing the art of slow living.
The best thing you can do to survive summer is to maintain the practical approach to self-care that you apply all year round. Enjoy the sunshine, but don’t forget to look after yourself.
Casey Cromwell, Casey the College Celiac
During the busy season of summer, it’s especially important that you pace yourself. Summer is often when families are jumping from one fun activity to the next. However, you can still have an amazing summer while respecting your body’s limits. Go to the beach one day, and then arrange to see a movie in an air-conditioned movie theater on the next. Do more exercise than you’re used to by going on a family hike, but then spend the night relaxing by the bonfire, telling silly stories.
As a college student, it can be easy for me to hear about my friends’ insane summer adventures and feel like I’m being boring in comparison. However, I also know that dealing with a fibro flare-up from over-activity isn’t fun either…and that, by pacing myself, I’m enjoying ALL of summer as much as I can.
Donna Gregory Burch, Fed Up with Fatigue
Lately I’ve been taking 10-20 minutes in the morning when it’s cooler to sit in the sun with my bare feet on the ground. Doing this has several benefits. First, I’m absorbing much-needed vitamin D, which has been shown in research studies to lessen pain. Second, by placing my bare feet on the ground, I’m exposing my body to the Earth’s natural energies, a practice called grounding or earthing. Third, the fresh air and nature sounds help calm my over-reactive nervous system and set the tone for the rest of the day.
Shelley Smith, Chronic Mom
Probably the easiest and most effective strategy I’ve adopted is to always wear breathable clothing. For example, instead of wearing shorts, I wear skirts or dresses. This allows for more airflow, which allows sweat to evaporate while keeping you cool.
I’ve also learned that the type of fabric you wear is important. You always want to wear something that is lightweight because heavy fabrics stick to your skin and trap sweat, making it easier for your body to overheat. Jeans, for example, are terrible in hot weather and should be exchanged for cotton or linen.
Donna Grant, February Stars
Like many, fatigue is my worst fibromyalgia symptom. When hot weather is added into the mix, my fatigue can become even more debilitating.
I’ve therefore learned a few tips that help get me through the summer months. The most important tip for me is also the most simple: I need to remember to drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is really important for me as it helps me to feel as well as possible. As soon as I become dehydrated, my fatigue worsens. When my fatigue increases, eventually my pain does, too.
Drinking umpteen glasses of water a day can get dull pretty quickly though. I, therefore, take advantage of the fruits that are in season. Fresh berries, such as strawberries or blackberries, can be a tasty and healthy addition that makes water much easier to drink. I also like to add ice cubes to my water to help keep me cool as I can sometimes struggle to regulate my body temperature.
Kim Johnson, I Tripped Over a Stone
Summer for those of us with fibromyalgia can bring on many coexisting symptoms, but fighting the heat is our number one battle. I have a trick: chopped ice. Not only does this regulate our body temperature but ice aids in digestion issues.
After meals and anytime you feel the acid building, don’t reach for antacids. Try a glass of chopped ice. I recommend purchasing a mini-chopper. I like the Ninja brand; it will chop your ice to a snow-like texture.
Lucy Lewis, The Thyroid Damsel
Heat makes fibro symptoms flare. If you can’t get an air-conditioned room or unit, you can make your own cool room. Get a bowl of ice and a desktop fan. Put the fan behind the ice bowl, and it will constantly blow very cold air around the room.
Kimberly Penix, Grace is Sufficient
Create a summer bucket list. Make a list of a few things you’d like to see or do this summer. That way, if you wake up feeling like you could handle a short outing, you have a list ready to go, and you don’t spend precious energy or time searching and deciding what you’ll do that day. All that day’s energy can go right into your bucket list item.
Taking time to play is so essential for your overall wellbeing. Find out where your community posts local events. You might find nights where they have music in the park or other similar things you might enjoy.
Kirsten Schultz, Not Standing Still’s Disease
- Dress in (soft) layers – One of the things that I struggle with is being too hot one minute and too cold the next. By bringing along layers or blankets, I know that I will be easily prepared for any change – whether that’s in the weather or my body.
- Protect your skin – If I get sunburned, it seems to cause a fibro flare. That’s why it’s so important to protect my skin. I always take sunblock with me, try to make sure I have shade nearby and drink plenty of fluids when I’m outside.
- Set a timer – One great tool to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, reapplying sunblock or taking in enough fluids is the timer on your phone. You can usually set multiple timers and, if you have a smartphone, use different sounds or songs for different things.
- Chilly towel – One last thing that’s always great is to have one of those cooling towels with you when you’re out and about, especially if you’re going to be in the sun. All it needs is a little water to cool back down, so it’s a great reminder to bring fluids with you, too! I have one, and it’s saved me from overheating a lot.
Terri Sutula, Reclaiming Hope
Pre-planning can help prevent or lessen the impact of being out in the summer heat. Here are a few ways planning ahead can help:
- If you know you have to be outside, set your alarm for a little earlier so you have time to get moving and still get outside before it gets too hot.
- If you’re going to be in and out of stores, etc., you might want to take a light jacket or sweater. If you’re like me, it may be sweltering outside, but with a lack of any real internal thermostat, when you walk inside, you’re freezing. I usually keep something in the car for that very purpose.
- To ensure you have cold water, pop a couple of bottles of water in the freezer the night before and grab them as you go out. They’ll melt fairly quickly in the heat, but your water will remain cold. The frozen water bottles can also be wrapped in a towel and used as a portable ice pack to cool you down if needed.
Melissa Swanson, Fibro Warriors ~ Living Life
Like other fibromites, I experience heat sensitivity, and I just can’t do hot days. Surviving summer can be easier with a few tips.
- Avoid wearing dark colors. Wear soft, lightweight, loosely fitted clothing.
- The best thing is to keep from getting too hot in the first place. Stay indoors during the peak heat of the day. Use a fan or air conditioner.
- Stay out of direct sunlight as much as possible. At the lake, I sit in a lawn chair in the water under a shade tree.
- Don’t hibernate. It is easy to just stay inside all day. Be sure to get some sunshine. The extra vitamin D will help manage symptoms.
A little effort and with the help of the tips above, you can not only survive summer but enjoy your outdoor time.
About the Author
Donna Gregory Burch was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2014 after several years of unexplained pain, fatigue and other symptoms. She was later diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. Donna covers news, treatments, research and practical tips for living better with fibromyalgia and Lyme on her blog, FedUpwithFatigue.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter. Donna is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared online and in newspapers and magazines throughout Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania. She lives in Delaware with her husband and their many fur babies.
How Fibromyalgia is Affected by Weather Changes – And What You Can Do
The Connection Between Fibromyalgia and Weather
It is not uncommon to hear someone with arthritis claiming their knee or hip can predict the weather better than a meteorologist. They always know in advance when a cold front or a rainstorm are moving in, with an almost scary accuracy.
What about those of us with fibromyalgia? Many with one type of rheumatic condition or another, including fibromyalgia, have made claims that the changes of weather will affect their pain levels, fatigue levels, or other various symptoms.
Researchers have found little scientific proof to back up the claim that fibromyalgia symptoms are affected by the weather and weather changes. A study done in 2013 claims that they could not find a correlation between fibromyalgia flare-ups or increased pain and weather changes.
I cannot speak for the researchers or the people they tested, all I can do is talk about my personal experience with fibromyalgia and the weather.
How I’m Affected by Seasonal Changes
I have lived through many season changes while living with fibromyalgia. I have seen a clear pattern emerge in how I feel in connection to the weather.
Spring comes, and I feel a bit better, except of course if it’s a particularly rainy spring. In that case, I spend days feeling achy deep down to my bones and have a soreness that radiates all throughout my body.
Next Summer comes, and with it, the intense heat and overwhelming humidity Southeast Texas is famous for. The heat and humidity leave me completely and utterly drained. My fatigue skyrockets during the Summer months.
Then Autumn arrives, once the temperature drops some I start to feel a little better until the weather begins flipping from hot to cold like a light switch. At that point, my body goes into some shock as if it cannot adjust to the constant changes.
Eventually, the cool weather settles in for the Winter. Thankfully it doesn’t get very cold where I am because the cold causes an indescribable pain. It is like being stabbed all over by icicles, it is like my veins are frozen throughout my body, and they may shatter at any moment.
Now, this is all just referring to season changes, this doesn’t even begin to cover the flare-ups I frequently have in the days before a thunderstorm.
Fibromyalgia and Temperature Sensitivity
Another major issue those of us with fibromyalgia face is temperature sensitivity, the inability to regulate our body temperature.
The average person goes outside; they feel hot or cold depending on the weather, then they go back inside. A blast of AC or a cozy heater brings them back to a comfortable temperature fairly quickly.
This is not always the case if you have fibromyalgia.
Why are Researchers Saying the Weather Does Not Affect Fibromyalgia?
I know I am not alone in experiencing a shift in symptoms based on the weather or temperature changes. So why are some claiming fibromyalgia is not adversely affected by the weather? There are many factors to consider.
Unfortunately, much continues to be misunderstood about fibromyalgia. This is a complex illness that affects each individual differently. There is also the possibility that the symptoms we feel when the weather changes could be caused by one or more of the many companion illnesses that frequently accompany fibromyalgia.
Regardless of what the true cause is, we need to know how to handle these fluctuating symptoms that we face as each new season approaches.
How to Best Minimize Negative Effects from the Changing Seasons
The most obvious suggestion is to find a location where the weather is mild year-round and move there. Or possibly break up the year, live in one spot for the Spring and Summer, and live somewhere else for the Autumn and Winter.
However, that is not a practical solution for many of us.
I’m going to share with you my top tips on how you can manage the heat during the hot summer months and how to deal with the cold weather during the frigid months of winter.
How to Deal with the Heat
- Stay indoors using an air conditioner or fans when possible. But be cautious not to lower the temperature too much in your home, that will make it that much more of a shock to your system when you do go outside.
- Plan outside activities for the morning or evening.
- Drink lots of water, make sure to carry a water bottle when going out.
- Drink less caffeine and alcohol, as these are dehydrating beverages.
- Eat light meals and use the oven and stove as little as possible.
- Taking vitamin C daily can help your body better adjust to the heat.
- Take cool showers.
- Wear lightweight, breathable clothing, such as cotton, when going out.
- If you do get overheated, apply a cool, wet cloth or ice pack to your wrists or neck. These are pulse points and will help your body cool down faster.
How to Survive in the Cold
- Use your home’s heater, or keep small space heaters in the rooms you use most.
- Plan outside activities for the middle of the day, when it is warmest.
- Wear warm clothes, preferably layers, when going out. And don’t forget your hat, as most of your body heat escapes through the head.
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- Keep your feet warm, wear socks and water-resistant shoes.
- Keep moving, as difficult as exercise can be for us, movement helps the body get and stay warm. Try gentle, low impact exercises.
- Wiggle your fingers and toes a lot when you are out. Like with exercise, the movement helps to keep warm.
- Take warm, not hot, showers. As tempting as it may be to take a long hot shower, it will be a shock to your system when you get out.
- Eating healthy fats, soups, spicy food, and drinking hot coffee or tea will help to keep your body temperature warm.
- Use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or heating blanket to warm up.
We may not have scientific proof as to why we feel differently when the weather changes, but we know our own body and know that it does affect us. The best thing we can do right now is learning to cope with these changes the best we can.
As the winter months approach for most of us let’s get ourselves prepared to stay as warm as we can!
How To Manage Fibromyalgia In Cold Weather
For anyone of the 5 and 10 million Americans who suffer from fibromyalgia, winter can be extremely difficult. As we’ve discussed before, fibromyalgia has a variety of symptoms such as headaches and fatigue, all of which are often exacerbated by winter’s frigid temperatures, short, grey days, and rapid changes in barometric pressure. It’s enough for anyone suffering from the chronic pain disorder to go running for the covers where they can hibernate until warmer weather arrives.
Unfortunately for most of us, we can’t just shutter ourselves away or run off to a warmer climate. We have families to raise, work to do, bills to pay, walkways to shovel. Because we have to keep on keeping on, here are some tips to survive winter for anyone who suffers from this debilitating condition.
This seems obvious, but it’s worth saying: Dress for the season. Wear layers that can be peeled off when too hot, or thrown back on when too cold. Of course, it’s a good idea not to bundle up too tightly, as that can cut off circulation. Also, when going outside, use some hand warmers inside gloves. The extra heat will help to keep your blood circulating normally.
Indulge Yourself with a Bath
Fibromyalgia flare ups are often induced by stress—both physical and mental. And winter tends to be stressful (even past the holidays). Baths are fantastic ways to warm up. Not only can they loosen up stiff muscles, but they can also calm the mind. Take it up a level and add some bubbles or bath fragrances, light some candles, and listen to some soft music. Place a warm washcloth over the eyes for total relaxation. Make sure to fully dry off when done, though; evaporating water can actually lower the body temperature.
Use an Infrared Sauna
What better way to warm up than in a sauna? Our infrared sauna offers a pleasant and relaxing way to raise body temperature. The best part is that it’s a mild heat compared to traditional saunas, which means it’s more comfortable and patients can remain in it for longer periods. The lasting effects of the infrared sauna can’t be denied!
Ever wonder why drinking alcohol can make us feel warm? It’s because alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate, causing blood to rush to the surface of the skin. However, in the winter, this actually makes us colder. The blood that rushes to the surface cools faster than it would normally when exposed to the cold air, which means the body loses heat faster than it normally would. The result is that the body’s internal temperature tends to dip. So while that hot toddy or hot buttered rum may feel like it’s warming you from the inside, it’s actually doing just the opposite. Instead of alcohol, try to warm up with some tea, coffee, or hot chocolate.