- 16 Ways Seasonal Changes Affect Fibromyalgia Symptoms
- Fibromyalgia worse in Florida
- Is Arizona A Good Place to Live if You have Fibromyalgia?
- Best States for Pain Management
- What is the Actual Reason Behind Weather Affecting Fibromyalgia Symptoms?
- How Can You Manage Fibromyalgia Symptoms in Weather Change?
- What Is the Best Climate for Fibromyalgia?
- Barometric Pressure
- Cold weather hits fibromyalgia sufferers hard
- How You Can Manage Fibromyalgia And Cold Weather Flare-Ups
- Why does my fibromyalgia get worse in winter?
- How to manage fibromyalgia and cold weather: 12 tips
- Learn more about fibromyalgia and cold weather
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- How to Manage Fibromyalgia in the Cold Weather
16 Ways Seasonal Changes Affect Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Many of those with fibromyalgia cite weather as one of their triggers – whether it’s the heat of summer, the cold of winter or the moving between extremes that occurs during autumn and spring.
Every person is unique, so every fibro warrior may be affected differently by the changing seasons. Some may struggle with the fluctuating weather of autumn and spring, while others have difficulty with the extremes in temperature summer and winter can bring. Either way, it’s important to raise awareness of how seasonal changes can affect people with fibro so that others may have a better understanding of the condition.
That’s why we asked our Mighty community to explain how changes in weather affect the symptoms of their fibromyalgia. Whether you’re currently struggling with fibro flare-ups or enjoying the middle ground between summer and winter, hopefully you’ll be able to relate to some of the following and know you’re not alone.
Here’s what our community shared with us:
- “Fall and spring seem to be the most painful for me because the constant fluctuation of cold mornings, warm afternoons and crisp cold nights. The barometric pressure changes a trigger for pure agony in my joints and muscles. I know when it’s going to rain two days before it happens just by the pain in my bones.” – Jenny W.S.
- “The summer heat makes me dizzy and sick to my stomach. The movement from air conditioning and fans burn my skin. The autumn rain then heat and snow back to rain showers cause my body more pain and to move slower. Kind of like my bones are locked up. The winter air burns my skin and blankets apply too much pressure. The air movement from the heater burns my skin. The spring rain showers slow me down and increase my pain. All in all there’s never a good day unless it’s nice and not too warm or cool and no air moving. Those days my pain is only a 7 or 8. Most likely I’m in a better mood those days.” – Kristine C.
- “I moved from the west coast to interior of our province for the dry climate, to get away from the ever-changing low pressure systems and rain. It hurts me the most. Heat brings on the weird fibro symptoms but the rain seized my whole body.” – Terri T.
- “Summer is the worst! Humidity causes immense pain on top of normal summer pains. I tend to blow up like a Macy’s Day Parade balloon, I get so swollen in the summer. Migraines hit hard when I am in the sun too long no matter how hydrated I am. Winter is the best thing for me since my body overheats constantly. I’m in California so my winter isn’t a harsh Midwest winter by any means – it’s basically fall with some cold days in there and my body does best in it.” – Krystal G.A.
- “I thought that winter was a curse on my fibro symptoms but wow! The heatwave in the UK this year played absolute havoc with my fibro. I think the dizziness was the worst. I had to use a stick to walk and my pain went through the roof! No more holidays in hot countries for me or in cold places either.” – Louise C.
- “Summer and high heat trigger almost instant heat stroke-like symptoms. I love cold weather but approaching storms and changes in the weather can trigger migraines, Raynaud’s and increased joint and muscle pain. Allergies in spring and fall also trigger flares, so for me every season brings challenges.” – CoCo F.
- “Winter, I’m in constant flare and increased pain! Summer, I can no longer sit in the sun or I will instantly get a migraine and very dizzy. I now look for shade everywhere. During all seasons, I constantly wear sunglasses or my eyes will hurt and vision goes blurry on sunny days. It’s sad, as someone who loves the outdoors I now often look forward to cloudy or rainy days.” – Katherine L.
- “Summer is the worst for me because I get overly hot easily and constantly. Fall and winter are my favorite even if cold makes my joints hurt. I’d rather be cold than hot.” – Jyl E.
- “Each season causes different symptoms for me but winter is the worst. The rain is hard. I can barely get out of bed. I have use my walker to barely walk. And I’m only 28 years old. I hurt all over, I can barely sit down. It’s horrible. I wouldn’t wish this illness on my worst enemy.” – Stefani B.
- “Winter is the worst for me. Any cold, so even some fall days are too much. The cold makes me tense up so much that it causes flare-ups. Plus I’m always getting sick in the fall and winter which also doesn’t help flares. Upstate NY winters are brutal.” – Sarah P.
- “I always feel rain coming – the deeper the pain the heavier and longer the rain will be. And cool nights and warm days don’t do me any favors either. I live in the tropics of Australia. Winters here are great but spring and autumn I ache nonstop with the fluctuations and gives me great fatigue summer when it’s the wet season that brings the pre-rain pain. Ugh, never ends then.” – Sharon C.
- “Summer kills me, I can’t move, can’t breathe, constantly sweating. Winter is heaven.” – Shayla F.W.
- “I live in MN and the more extreme the weather shift, the more extreme the flare-up! Summers and winters are the worst! I had three doctors tell me 10 years ago to move south where the weather doesn’t typically get as extreme but I refuse to leave until my youngest graduates high school!” – Danielle T.W.
- “The changes in weather… I can sense it in my bones before it comes, the deep pain is when I know. It makes my shoulder and knees hurt much more, and the migraines… unbearable.” – Amanda G.
- “The change of seasons are not very kind to fibromyalgics. The pain and stiffness plays with your head as well as the constant pain and all you want to do is either stay in bed or sit in a comfy chair and not move.” – Meryl C.
- “Different seasons cause different pain ‘styles’ for me. In the summer it’s a muscle soreness and swollen, puffy feeling that could almost be mistaken for post-workout pain or injury… which would make sense if I could work out! Winter is a deeper, sharper ache that usually stays in my joints like arthritis. Hips, knees and shoulders are usually the worst, with various ‘stabs’ that bring me to my knees. On top of that, these pains can vary on a day to day basis… it definitely keeps one on one’s toes!” – Ashley A.
If you love the hot weather and loathe the cold, it is an ideal place that won’t aggravate your symptoms. During the winter, temperatures are rarely below 60 degrees, and the summers have temperatures on average at 80 degrees.
The steady climate makes this an ideal place for retirees. A bonus, you have the breeze of the ocean to cool you off and the long beach on which you can go and stroll to enjoy the setting of the sun and relax.
In the News & World Report’s 100 Best Places to Live in 2017, Austin ranked as the best place to live in the US. Therefore, it is the perfect place for Fibromyalgia sufferers. Austin has mild weather conditions, it can get hot, but the temperatures are usually at 70 degrees Fahrenheit annually.
Austin boasts of great healthcare opportunities and will help you create an excellent quality of life once you move there.
Asheville, North Carolina
For cooler temperatures, if the hot climate isn’t your style, you can move to Asheville. The annual temperature experienced here is 56 degrees Fahrenheit. For people with Fibromyalgia, the milder temperatures help immensely to help reduce the pain.
There is state tax and no sales tax, and you can move to Central Oregon, places like Redmond. The mountains, the Pacific Ocean being a drive away, can help you create great memories when you enjoy your retirement.
Fibromyalgia worse in Florida
Fibromyalgia does not get worse when you move to Florida, but it depends on where you move to. There are areas in Florida where the weather will make your pain levels increase, early in the morning, in the night or during the seasons.
Key West, is an ideal place to live as the climate hardly changes year-round. But what to keep in mind is the changes in Biometric Pressure especially during the summer in some locales in Florida. The weather might be rainy though-out summer, and this is likely to increase your Fibromyalgia discomfort and pain.
Florida does have some ideal places to live, but most places are just going to make it unbearable for you to live there. Look up some factors that affect your pain levels and decide what’s best for you.
Is Arizona A Good Place to Live if You have Fibromyalgia?
Not really, as it depends on an individual’s pain levels and how severe their Fibromyalgia is. For most sufferers of Fibromyalgia who live in Arizona, during the summer, the heat is too much for them to bear and spend most of their time indoors, cranking up the AC and having ice-packs on their backs or necks.
Heat is good for Fibromyalgia, but not too much heat. The hot and dry climate isn’t great as you will need countermeasures such as the AC, spending time indoors, ice-packs ready and making sure you are not too hot.
Some prefer cold weather, for instance, the eastern part of Arizona. Keep in mind it snows heavily and can take up to 2 weeks before it melts. But the winter has mild temperatures, and during the summer expect temperatures to reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit at times.
Best States for Pain Management
Various states of the US have agreed to regulate the sale and prescription of painkillers to help reduce the number of those addicted to painkillers. For those who suffer from chronic pain, this can be an issue as most patients rely on these drugs to ease their pain.
There are 19 states that have restricted painkiller pills prescription.
These states will care for you and offer an alternative to opioids that will help deal with your pain.
The YouTube video here shows you some techniques that you can use when dealing with Fibromyalgia during the winter.
What is the Actual Reason Behind Weather Affecting Fibromyalgia Symptoms?
The reason behind the relation between fibromyalgia symptoms and weather conditions is not yet fully understood.
There are some possible explanations that explain the relationship between these two. Some of these are listed below:
1- Change in Sleep Cycle: Weather can directly affect the sleep cycle. Disturbance in sleep can affect and flare up other related symptoms.
2- Change in Circadian Rhythm: The internal clock of the body is known as the circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is affected by changes in seasons. More fluctuation in weather leads to more effect on the circadian rhythm that leads to more fatigue and pain.
3- Pro-inflammatory Cytokines: These are responsible for the increase in pain intensity at low temperatures.
How Can You Manage Fibromyalgia Symptoms in Weather Change?
Managing fibromyalgia symptoms is not that easy with the changing weather conditions. Some important points that can help in reducing the pain and fatigue are as follows:
1- Dress in Layers: On chilly and cold days, the sufferer should dress in two or three layers. This helps in keeping the body warm.
2- Avoid Cold Temperature: The fibromyalgia sufferer should avoid cold temperature as much as possible.
This can be done by keeping the air conditioner off even in summers. In winters, dressing up in layers, wearing gloves, shoes, scarf, and cap can be helpful when going out.
3- Try to be in Sunlight: Sunlight can cure many diseases and keeps germs out. The sufferer should try to be in as much sunlight as he can if he/she is comfortable to bear that bright light.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder of the musculoskeletal system accompanied by mood swings, fatigue, sleep disturbances, etc.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia make the disease frustrating and depressing. People with the disease prefer to live in their houses to avoid any weather fluctuations that might flare up the symptoms.
There are people with fibromyalgia who want to visit places that can provide some relief from the pain.
According to some researchers, there are some best places in the United States that can be ideal for the living of fibromyalgia sufferers.
Places with low humidity and warm temperature conditions are suitable for people suffering from chronic pain.
Places with heavy rain, high humidity, and low temperature may worsen the pain.
It is very hard to know what causes the symptoms of fibromyalgia to flare-up. Keeping a close watch on the surroundings and noting down daily observations can help in the trigger points of the disease.
Some studies show a strong relation between fibromyalgia symptoms and changes in weather changes while others show no strong relationship between the two.
Some people choose to live nearby to schools and shopping centers to prevent staying out for a longer time.
Others try to shift to a new place considering the weather condition of that place. Cold temperature, storms, and heavy precipitation make the pain chronic in fibromyalgia sufferers.
Thus, avoiding extreme weather conditions and keeping safe and cozy inside the house can prevent flare-ups of the disease.
What Is the Best Climate for Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes many symptoms, the most prominent of which are widespread pain and fatigue 1. Most sufferers of fibromyalgia report that the weather plays a significant role in how they feel. Certain climates can spur increased muscle pain, headaches and, in some fibromyalgia patients, even depression. When looking for the best climate, there are certain weather elements to look for and others to avoid.
Is This an Emergency?
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Many of those with musculoskeletal disorders find that temperature makes a difference in how they feel and fibromyalgia patients are no different. They report that cold weather makes their symptoms worse. A climate where the temperature remains warmer will be better for the condition.
A damp climate can also worsen the symptoms of fibromyalgia 1. A combination of cold and damp (from snow or sleet) could be the most difficult climate for the condition. Someone with fibromyalgia would want to avoid areas like Alaska or the Midwest where there is a lot of snow during a cold winter.
Humid climates, like that of the Southern United States, can cause more pain and bring on other symptoms for a fibromyalgia sufferer 1. The moisture in the air can equate to more pain in muscles, while dryness is more tolerable.
For someone with fibromyalgia, sometimes it’s not the actual climate that makes such a difference as trying to adjust to one that is not consistent. Changes in the barometer, brought on by precipitation, can trigger symptoms. The combination of humidity and barometric pressure makes someone with fibromyalgia feel worse when it is going to rain or snow before the precipitation actually occurs. There are certain locales–Florida in the summer where it rains almost every day comes to mind–that can increase fibromyalgia pain and discomfort.
A consistent warm, dry climate is probably the best for fibromyalgia. The Southwestern United States (Arizona, New Mexico) would fit the ideal weather pattern. It is a place where it is not often cold and the weather doesn’t change often enough to trigger the pain and other symptoms.
Anahad O’Connor tackles health myths.
No one really knows precisely what causes the debilitating fatigue and muscle pain of fibromyalgia. But some people who have the disorder say they know what can make it worse: changes in the weather.
Cold, damp days and drops in barometric pressure are widely associated with flare-ups in symptoms of the condition, which affects mostly women. In one study by the National Fibromyalgia Association, people with the condition ranked weather changes as one of the leading aggravating influences on pain and stiffness.
Unlike the reported connection between arthritis and changes in temperature and pressure – which has mostly been debunked – the belief that fibromyalgia symptoms fluctuate with the weather has not been the subject of thorough research. The few studies that have investigated it have mostly found little evidence of a link.
In the latest report, published this month in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, Dutch researchers followed 333 middle-aged women who had fibromyalgia, looking for relationships between environmental conditions and their levels of pain and fatigue. Over the course of a month, the researchers monitored humidity levels, atmospheric pressure, precipitation, temperature and sunshine duration, using data from a meteorological institute.
In some cases, they did find that weather variables had “significant but small” effects on pain and fatigue. But for the most part, they concluded, there was “more evidence against than in support of a uniform influence of weather on daily pain and fatigue.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
Most studies have not found much evidence of a link between fibromyalgia symptoms and weather patterns.
Cold weather hits fibromyalgia sufferers hard
Cold temperatures, such as those gripping the Midwest over the past week, are tough on everybody. But for individuals with fibromyalgia, whose symptoms include chronic, widespread pain, the big freeze is especially difficult to endure.
“It is very common for individuals with fibromyalgia to report worsening of pain with the cold weather,” says Lesley Arnold, MD, a UC Health doctor who specializes in fibromyalgia and is director of the Women’s Health Research Program at the University of Cincinnati (UC), where she is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience.
“One possible explanation is that cold weather keeps many people less active, leading to physical de-conditioning that can contribute to more pain. In addition, in individuals with fibromyalgia who also have arthritis, cold weather can contribute to stiffness around the joints which can increase the overall pain experience.
“A drop in barometric pressure may also increase joint swelling, which can exacerbate pain,” Arnold adds, referring to the atmospheric pressure drop that typically precedes rain or storms.
In addition to chronic, widespread pain, fibromyalgia is characterized by other symptoms including fatigue, sleep disturbance and cognitive symptoms such as forgetfulness or decreased concentration. It has a prevalence of about 2 percent of the of the U.S. population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is about seven times more common in women than in men.
Scientific evidence for a strong weather-pain association in fibromyalgia is very limited, notes Arnold, who conducts fibromyalgia-related research at UC, and the available evidence does not support a uniform influence of specific weather conditions on daily symptoms of pain in patients with fibromyalgia. But from patients’ accounts, she says, some individuals seem to be more sensitive to weather conditions or weather changes than others.
To help manage during cold weather, Arnold says, it is important for individuals to stay as active as possible and to dress warmly in layers. Keeping the body moving with a physical activity plan developed under the supervision of health care providers may prevent pain from getting worse.
“Cold weather can also disrupt social activities, so it is important to reach out to others during these cold days,” says Arnold. “Our mood can affect the pain experience, with depression making it more difficult to cope with a chronic pain disorder like fibromyalgia.”
Arnold says the UC Health fibromyalgia treatment program is dedicated to using the latest scientifically proven treatments to alleviate the often debilitating symptoms of fibromyalgia and to help those with chronic pain disorders live more functional lives.
“We work with patients to develop an appropriate, individualized treatment plan that may include medications, therapy and/or recommended lifestyle changes,” she says. “These options have been well studied and scientifically proven to help with fibromyalgia symptoms and related disorders.”
Weather conditions do not affect fibromyalgia pain or fatigue Provided by University of Cincinnati Citation: Cold weather hits fibromyalgia sufferers hard (2014, January 31) retrieved 2 February 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-01-cold-weather-fibromyalgia-hard.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
How You Can Manage Fibromyalgia And Cold Weather Flare-Ups
If you’re living with fibromyalgia, you know that chronic widespread pain is a daily battle. Most patients also experience fatigue, mood disorders, and cognitive dysfunction known as “fibro fog.” In addition to all of these symptoms, cold intolerance is commonly reported among patients. Many people with fibromyalgia say they experience increased pain levels and depression during the winter months. Luckily, you don’t have to dread this time of year if you can make a few changes or additions to your daily routine. Here are some simple ways to warm up and feel better overall when you’re dealing with fibromyalgia and cold weather.
Why does my fibromyalgia get worse in winter?
When many people think of winter, they envision skiing, ice skating, or curling up by the fire with a good book. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case when you’re dealing with fibromyalgia and cold weather. Studies on the connection between fibromyalgia and weather are still somewhat unclear, but anecdotally, many patients suffer during colder months. Researchers have found no direct link between cold weather and increased fibro symptoms, though they have found that some patients are more sensitive to weather changes than others.
Many health professionals believe the worsening of symptoms could also be related to the fact that people are less active during the winter months. The cold keeps most of us indoors and away from exercise, which leads to a sort of physical de-conditioning. However, doctors do acknowledge that cold weather and drops in barometric pressure could also create stiffness or swelling in the joints.
While there isn’t definitive scientific evidence that suggests a strong pain correlation between fibromyalgia and winter, it remains a common challenge for many patients. The increase in pain, fatigue, and depression is a real issue for the 4 million in the U.S. who suffer from this condition. With this in mind, doctors continue to research the subject and search for natural forms of relief.
How to manage fibromyalgia and cold weather: 12 tips
We can’t stop the changing seasons, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through the winter months. Here are 12 tips to help you stay warm and comfortable when you’re battling fibromyalgia and feeling cold.
1. Choose soft, warm clothing
There are clothing choices you can make to prevent pain throughout the year, and winter is no exception. Fibromyalgia sufferers should look for soft clothes that are easy to put on, comfortable to wear, and simple to remove. This is the best way to combat the pain and stiffness that often comes with this condition.
In the winter, turn to ultra-soft fabrics, such as cashmere, fleece, and flannel. Warm, soft materials will keep you comfortable in cold conditions. But don’t forget to layer! Restaurants and even office buildings turn up the heat during this time of year. That means you could quickly feel hot while indoors. Layers will help you regulate your body temperature while you’re away from home.
2. Rely on heating pads
Heat can quickly relax muscles and put joint pain at ease. An electric heating pad will provide you with various levels of heat so you have more control over the temperature at all times. Some even include vibration features for an added massage element.
On the other hand, some patients dealing with fibromyalgia and cold weather prefer moist heat. There are non-electric heating pads with sponge liners that you wet and heat in the microwave. They come in various sizes to be used anywhere you need pain relief. There are even special wraps for knees and ankles, as well as mittens and booties.
It’s important to note that you should only apply heat for about 20 minutes. Overdoing it can lead to dry skin, as well as permanent discoloration and even burns. A little goes a long way when it comes to temperature therapy.
3. Try out compression gloves
Compression is a simple way to reduce swelling, improve circulation, and keep you warm. Most styles are fingerless to allow for easy typing and handling of objects, which means they are great to wear at work, too.
You can find our list of the best gloves for warmth and compression here.
4. Drink warm beverages
It’s amazing how quickly a hot beverage can warm you up on a cold day. From tea to hot cocoa, there are plenty of drinks to choose from.
For those who struggle with fibromyalgia, tea may even improve your symptoms. Look for green, black, oolong, and white teas. These variations are packed with antioxidants that can relieve anxiety and give you a boost of energy.
Just remember to keep your caffeine intake relatively low. Too much can make you feel jittery and anxious.
5. Turn to indoor exercise
There are several important benefits of exercise for fibromyalgia. From increased serotonin levels in the brain to improved joint mobility, a routine of low-impact exercise can have a positive effect on your overall health and mood.
If you own a treadmill, this is the best way to get in a good walk without being exposed to the elements. Stretching will also help you stay limber and loose. Consider joining a studio or gym that offers gentle yoga or even aerobic swimming classes. This type of exercise will keep you in shape during the tough winter months.
While indoor exercise is better than no exercise, keep an eye on the forecast for days that aren’t so frigid. A brisk walk outside can give you a healthy dose of cardio, as well as a little fresh air. This is a good way to reset if you’re struggling with depression or mood swings.
6. Take a bath
Just as a pool can immediately cool you off during the summer, a bath is a quick and easy method of warming up. Plus, it’s a great way to rest and relax in order to minimize stress, depression, and anxiety. Soak for about 20 to 30 minutes for the best results.
Consider aromatherapy if you’d like to add another level of wellness and self-care to this routine. Some of the best essential oils for fibromyalgia pain include peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender. These scents can have an immediate effect on any discomfort you’re experiencing.
If you struggle with sensitivity to strong scents, try Epsom salt instead of aromatherapy. Add about two cups to your bath to relieve sore muscles and other aches and pains.
7. Wear comfortable winter boots
Comfortable shoes will cushion your feet and minimize pain from walking or standing for extended periods of time. No matter the season, it’s important for fibromyalgia patients to choose supportive footwear.
During the cold winter months, warmth is another important factor. Heat can escape through your extremities, which is why you should always keep your feet warm with comfortable winter boots.
Try a pair of Uggs or other similar styles for softness that is much like wearing slippers. These types of winter boots can even be paired with wool socks if you plan to be outside and need an extra layer of warmth.
8. Get plenty of sleep
Sleep is one of the best gifts you can give your body. While it may vary from person to person, doctors recommend seven to nine hours of quality sleep for most adults. This can improve your pain levels and help you manage any symptoms related to depression or anxiety.
Try to start winding down about an hour before you plan to go to sleep. Turn off electronic devices, avoid exercise, and stick to a consistent bedtime. Whether it’s a relaxing bath or a simple routine of washing your face and brushing your teeth, your evening ritual helps signal that it’s time for rest.
While many patients suffering with fibromyalgia find it difficult to get quality sleep, it is essential for your health. Talk with your doctor about fibromyalgia treatment options if you are having trouble sleeping due to your symptoms.
9. Eat well
It can be tough to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet during the holidays. Many people turn to foods that are full of sugar and carbohydrates while they’re stuck indoors on cold days. Plus, holiday parties are typically known as a time to overindulge.
Resist the temptation and try to eat a diet that is high in lean protein, vegetables, and whole grains. Fibromyalgia can already make you feel exhausted and worn out. A healthy diet paired with plenty of water will give you energy. Try to avoid alcohol, which is a depressant that can worsen mood swings and anxiety.
10. Indulge in a massage
A massage is one of the best ways to relax tense muscles and boost circulation. Ideally, a licensed massage therapist knows which pressure points will improve your pain and other symptoms. You may benefit from finding a practitioner that specializes in chronic pain and similar conditions. This will ensure that you’re treating the issue, not making it worse.
If getting a professional massage isn’t an option, self-massage is still a great way to find relief. Use a tennis ball for hard-to-reach areas on your back. Simply place the ball between your body and a wall and increase pressure for a deeper massage. If your hands aren’t sore, use them to massage your neck and shoulder region.
11. See the light
Depression is one of the more common symptoms of fibromyalgia. During the dark winter months, your mental health may take an additional hit.
A little vitamin D can go a long way, for mild cases. Make it a point to get plenty of sunlight whenever you can. It may be as simple as opening all of the shades in your home during daylight hours. Perhaps you can find a certain time of day that is warm enough to allow for a few minutes outside.
If that isn’t enough, talk to your doctor about light therapy. There are a range of products that can be used to give you a quality dose of vitamin D that will keep you healthy.
12. Find a support group
Fibromyalgia is a unique condition that is hard to describe to outsiders. After all, pain is incredibly personal and affects each person differently. You may be feeling as if even your closest family members and friends simply don’t understand. This is when a support group can provide the connection you need. It’s important to be able to have conversations with people who know what you’re going through.
Visit the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA) for a detailed look at the support groups in your area. Find one that allows you to gather with other fibromyalgia patients on a routine basis during the winter. It can be incredibly therapeutic to know that you’re not suffering alone. Plus, you may be able to discuss important tips and tricks for coping with certain symptoms.
Not quite sure you’re ready for a support group that meets in person? Join an online community instead. NFMCPA and Inspire teamed up to create a free peer-to-peer support system with thousands of people. Whether you’re living with fibromyalgia or someone close to you is, you will find a discussion board for your specific situation or concern.
Finally, our chronic pain support group through PainDoctor.com is a great place to find other patients on Facebook who are suffering from chronic pain.
Learn more about fibromyalgia and cold weather
If winter weather makes it hard to function and perform daily tasks, it’s important to seek medical care as soon as possible.
If you need help managing the pain associated with your fibromyalgia and cold weather, find a pain doctor in your area by clicking the button below. You can also look for one in your area by using the tips here.
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How to Manage Fibromyalgia in the Cold Weather
It determined that in the hands and feet, the blood vessels act as shunts, helping to speed blood flow and regulate body temperature. So, with increased nerve fibers, the fibromyalgia sufferer feels this regulation of blood flow as pain.
The study concluded that when the blood vessels attempt to open up blood flow more when it is cold, it results in exaggerated levels of pain.
Another study determined that even a cold breeze blowing across an already energy-deficient muscle of someone with fibromyalgia will throw it into a reaction of tightening up or shortening (which are the primary and key cause of pain in this disorder).
Tips for Coping With Fibromyalgia and Cold Weather
It’s time to bundle up and take on the cold weather with fibromyalgia. Below are a few ways you can increase your body’s temperature during the cooler and colder months.
Take a Warm Bath
Studies have shown that taking warm or hot baths can have a therapeutic effect on fibromyalgia pain. In fact, researchers believe taking a warm bath after spending time during the day being uncomfortably chilly will help you recover faster.
It is believed it has a secondary effect of warming your bones and taking away any chill that remains in the body that’s contributing to fibromyalgia pain and symptoms.
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Dress in Loose, Warm Layers
Clothes that restrict blood flow seem to cause more pain. I dress in layers that are fairly loose and trap in my body heat. They also allow me to quickly adjust to changes in the weather (say the sun comes out and it warms up a bit) by removing a layer as needed.
It is also vital to have gloves, hats, and scarves, no matter how silly you may feel about wearing them in May. Get them in team colors and wear them with pride!
Essentially, if it feels cold to you, bundle up as needed. One tip I read about suggested wearing wool t-shirts and socks because wool keeps the muscles warm and relaxed while wicking away the moisture from excess sweating.
Use Hand Warmers
Store-bought hand warmers can also ease fibromyalgia symptoms. Place them in your pockets and stick your hands inside as needed.
This actually can keep your whole body warmer too, because proper blood flow is crucial to all over warmth of the body.
Managing days where you must be outside in chilly, damp weather is a challenge for some of us with fibromyalgia. But by taking a few precautions and warming the body back up after it has been chilled, you can decrease your level of pain and the duration of the overall discomfort.