The Effects of Season Changes & Fibromyalgia

Roughly 10 million people are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia today, I am one of those people.  Although 9 out of the 10 people diagnosed are women, men also get this disorder.  Fibromyalgia is not life-threatening and does not reduce life expectancy but, I as well as others with this syndrome will tell you we are extremely sensitive to pain due to this incurable chronic and long term condition.

Fibromyalgia symptoms include widespread pain, fatigue, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, inability to get refreshing sleep, waking up tired and stiff, developing cognitive disturbances; including lack of concentration, clumsiness, dizziness as well as depression.  There are even more symptoms being discovered, above is just the primary short list.

There are published studies that have related the pain in Fibromyalgia to weather changes. Some studies report that barometric pressure affected fibromyalgic pain positively while yet others find no association.  I can attest with my very own experience that it does positively affect my pain levels as well as my grump meter.

 

 

When I lived in Southern Indiana, I experience a lot of different weather. The heat and humidity of Summer, the cooler, damper weather of Fall, the incredible cold of Winter, and the amazing season called Spring.  The cold, the rain, the humidity, snow, and basically any change in the weather will affect my pain. Now I live in Northeast Florida and even though we don’t experience snow down here, we do still experience season changes – summer is the hardest one on me now.  Let me break it down a bit:

When it rains, or even if it’s just cloudy and the air is more moist, it increases my pain all over. At times, this forces me to take pain meds, but I work hard to avoid them when possible. I love rainy days; the sound and smell, but my body rebels. That’s when the heating pads come out.  Since we just got out of Summer, I’ll start there. In order to escape the hot and humid weather, I try to stay in an air-conditioned space. For me, the majority of that time is in my bedroom. If the air is too cold my legs and hips experience increased pain. When I lived by myself I was constantly adjusting the temperature to minimize the pain.  Can’t so much do that now though since I’m not the head of the household anymore.  However, if it’s too warm, I will tend to feel weaker and nausea. It’s a constant battle with temperature.

I absolutely loved the first snow of the season! It’s beautiful and so sparkly white. My pain level soars in the cold and dampness of winter though.  It can become a deterrent and distraction from the things I want/need to do. Warm blankets and heating pads become my constant companions. It can be so frustrating not enjoying the beauty of winter due to the distraction of pain.

I really enjoy watching a good thunder and lightning storm … it’s exciting and dangerous at the same time. The pain it causes reminds me of having the flu and every area of my body hurts. If you’ve ever experienced all over pain due to fever or illness, multiply that pain by about 5 and you’ll come close to the pain I experience.

In recent studies, some patients with fibromyalgia have reported that they are more sensitive to changes in the weather.  The study also found that patients who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia for less than 10 years had significantly greater weather sensitivity for pain.  I personally don’t feel a difference from early on to today.  I still hurt.

Just know that pain robs me and my fellow spoonies of enjoying the various seasons along with many other things we all once enjoyed.  We are simply shells of our former selves attempting to still gather strength to continue on and smile through the pain.  Just as the seasons change, pain changes us as well.

 

 

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