Fibromyalgia and weather change is a subject near and dear to many of us.
If you’re like most Fibromyalgia folks, when a weather change is coming, you feel uncomfortable at the least -or- in absolute, undeniable agony at worst.
Plus, since Fibromyalgia symptoms can vary from hour to hour, there is no predicting how you will feel at any one point in time. That makes planning your life darned tough, especially during any seasonal weather changes, like the ones we’re going through now.
I bet it does. I remember feeling like this a lot when I was so sick. My life was unpredictable. Feeling trapped in an endless “weather change” cycle added to the sadness and frustration that I struggled with. When I had something I wanted to do, I would question if I was wise to attempt it at all. At times the fear of letting myself or others down threatened to get the best of me.
So what elements about the weather do you think are at fault? These pesky weather factors that affect so many people? AND, what can you do about them?
(This audio is 4 minutes 17 seconds. Listen to it here or download!)
Many people find they have more symptoms with changes in temperature, air pressure or precipitation. They may experience those symptoms as:
- Feeling more tired (fatigue)
- Sleeping more poorly (sleep dysfunction)
- Additional, specific pains, like migraine headaches
- All over, more generalized pain, like muscles aches
Flare-up episodes of one symptom or several can seem to come from nowhere. These type of symptom and pain flares can be found among people who suffer with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, too.
What are these weather factors that affect so many people? There are basically five.
1) Barometric pressure: Barometric pressure is a measurement of the weight of the air in your environment. When the weather is warm, sunny and the barometric pressure is high, most people feel better.
But when a weather front is moving in and the barometric pressure suddenly drops, a Fibromyalgia person suddenly feels horrible! It’s also why we occasionally can laugh at ourselves and say that we can predict the weather. Note: barometric pressure dropping usually proceeds the actual weather change itself.
2) Temperature: Whether it’s hot to cold or cold to hot, wild temperature changes can really trigger symptoms. “Change” is the word to notice here. Note: most Fibromyalgia folks are comforted long into the warmer month by their heating pad and sock buddies.
3) Humidity: When there is a high concentration of moisture in the air, we say it’s humid or sticky. I’ve found any elevated degree of humidity brings about sweating and interrupted sleep for me. Low humidity is generally more comfortable for everyone, except a few can suffer from an increase in headaches and stiffness, while also enduring all over body pain.
4) Actual precipitation: When any type of moisture is falling from the sky, you have precipitation. Rain tends to bring on the most symptoms, but don’t discount snow, ice or sleet completely. That’s probably because precipitation events are often accompanied or preceded by changes in barometric pressure.
5) Wind: Here’s another culprit that is a partner in crime with barometric pressure. They are like two inseparable buddies, except maybe at the sea shore. If you’re inland and the wind is blowing, you may experience more fatigue, headaches and muscle aches when the wind is blowing.
I think the really tough thing about all of these 5 factors is thinking that there’s so little you can do about them because they still affect your life, whether you’re indoors or out. Here a few more abc’s to keep in mind that may help:
a) Turn up the heat if you’re cold, but do it too much and you’ll tend to dry out your nose, mouth and lungs, setting you up to be more susceptible for allergy symptoms, colds and the like. Try adding a fraction of moisture to your heat. The added moisture will make your room actually feel warmer to the skin and you won’t run up your heat bill any further.
b) Turn on your air conditioning. Beware that lowering the temperature around you may cause your muscles to ache. A person who is chilly tends not to move much. That’s a human reaction. Then that lack of activity exacerbates your symptoms, partially because the lymph fluid in your lymph system will back up and be stagnant when you don’t move around enough. To solve this problem, put on enough clothes in an air conditioned environment to keep you warm and able to move around!
c) Stay out of the wind. Either stay in for the day if it’s really windy outside or at least put on a jacket or coat with a hood. I find that if I cover up my head, that that act alone keeps away a world of sin and hurt.
d) Dress in layers. Whether you’re hot, cold, dry or sweating your face off, having layers of clothing that you can put on and take off is a powerful tool. Sometimes you can’t change the environment you in very quickly, but you can look out for yourself in this powerful way.
During the years I was so sick, I really only had one wardrobe. My summer clothes weren’t too cool and my winter clothes weren’t too warm. I simply had my basic wardrobe set up where I could put on or take off layers of clothing as needed. It really worked for me, saved on my wardrobe bill and meant I had fewer clothes to manage on a daily and seasonal basis.
If you have some “weather” gripes or tips, feel free to share them here, or Tweet me, or jot me a Facebook note. But, dear one, know that no matter what your symptoms are, weather related or not, you deserve to feel better. In dreaming and planning for just such an actuality as feeling better, fill out an inquiry to find out more about my new How to Heal Yourself Memberhip course today. The sign up box to get notices about it is in the top right box underneath the video. Or, if you like, you’re welcomed to learn more about it at my Get Well Health website, Learn How to Heal page.
Thanks so much for joining me at the Health Matters Show blog and podcast today. I’m Cinda Crawford, your host. Now remember… don’t let the weather get you down!