“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.”
The above quote was taken from an article written in the New York Times, in 2013. You can find the article here.
I don’t know about you, but when I talk with my friends and colleagues with fibromyalgia, that is one of the major things we agree on: how we can tell the weather before the weather happens (which I hear people with arthritis report the same thing). So, you would think that because our bodies start to ache and our fatigue and fog increases that there is a connection. However, as of now, there is no research that confirms this theory! There have been articles about temperature sensitivity and body temperature dysregulation, yet nothing on the connection between barometric pressure and fibromyalgia flares. In a report in the journal Arthritis Care and Research, Dutch researchers followed over 300 women with fibromyalgia and concluded that while “weather variables had ‘significant but small’ effects on pain and fatigue...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.”
Doctors that treat fibromyalgia encourage us to listen to our bodies when it comes to the three major “pieces” of fibromyalgia: pain, fatigue, and fog. However, while listening to our bodies with regard to changes in barometric pressure, we are told that there is no likely connection. So, why is it then that we can often accurately tell when there will be changes in the barometric pressure??
We may not have the answer yet but we can do things in advance to prepare for these changes. Often times, the local weather channel will alert you to changes in weather. While your body may be alerting you as well, here are some suggested precautions to help make the transition that you know your body will feel regardless of what scientific research says:
If you’ve done all you can to prepare for significant weather changes and your body is still screaming, consider a hot bath or heating pad, or if the heat bothers you, an ice pack. Allow yourself time to rest, be kind to your body, and allow yourself to feel. If you fight the symptoms, there is a good chance they will just increase in intensity.
Do you need some help to figure out temperature regulation or other tips to help your fibromyalgia body during especially difficult weather transitions? I have an arsenal of ideas. I’d be happy to help you. Please feel free to drop me a line here or schedule your free consultation here. I’m happy to help assist you with any questions you have about living a life with fibromyalgia or other chronic pain disorders - and I’m happy to help you with other concerns, not just the weather! I look forward to hearing from you soon! =)
I’m Kate Straus and I’m a Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor. I help Jewish women feel confident in their ability to practice their faith while navigating the ups and downs of fibromyalgia. I’m using the disease that at one time knocked me down, to help support others live life to their fullest.