How Weather Affects Fibromyalgia

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Recently, I asked people what weather they thought was the worst for people dealing with chronic pain. Most people answered with winter. And, while they aren’t wrong, they aren’t exactly right. If you had to ask me the perfect time of year for my fibromyalgia, I’d have to quote one of my favorite movies, Miss Congeniality.

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Although pain is pain, there are different types of pain. Cold weather and hot weather cause different (unpleasant) reactions to bodies dealing with chronic pain. Which, honestly, is always funny to me since we use ice and heat to help treat the affected muscles. Science is a tricky thing I guess.

Cold weather

Winter. It’s frigid, dry, dark and windy. If it’s not snowing, it’s cold enough to. The wind chills can be low enough to take your breath away when you walk out the door. The cold causes my body to be very achy and stiff. It’s more of a sharp, shooting pain. When I wake up in the morning, I can barely move. I shuffle along and it takes me a long time to feel like I can move “normally”. This flare up usually responds well to heat, (duh, it’s winter, that makes sense) slow and gentle stretching, and a lot of uncomfortable couch time. If I had to try and explain this pain, I’d compare it to that feeling when you need your elbow or knee to pop/crack, but it never does. The pain goes down into  your bones and feels like it’s attacking your joints.

Related: Things every fibro patient should have to survive this winter

Hot weather

I feel like no matter where you live, this summer has been HOT. High humidity, scolding temperatures and air quality warnings. And, it has been far from pleasant for my pain. While the cold weather pain is more of a sharp, bone-chilling pain, the hot weather pain is a throbbing, swelling, can’t-feel-the-left-side-of-my-body type pain. Personally, the hot weather causes way more numbness than the cold. Maybe it’s the swelling? I haven’t been able to really figure it out. Hot weather pain still keeps me in bed, uncomfortable, and in tears from the deep, aching pain pulsing through my muscles. For me to explain this pain, it would be similar to how I explain fibro pain in general (with a twist). You have the worst flu you can remember. You are beyond exhausted. Your muscles ache so badly. On top of that, you have the worst sunburn you’ve ever gotten, all while you’re covered in mosquito bites. Oh, and your arm/hand/leg/foot is always asleep from laying on the couch in a funny position. Sounds fun, right?! (Welcome to my Tuesday.)

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Spring/Fall:  Don’t get me wrong. Spring/fall weather doesn’t cure pain. It doesn’t instantly take the pain level from an 8 to a 2, but, it does help a little. Less humidity. Less bone-chilling wind. Us pain warriors get a few days where we can genuinely enjoy being outside. Our muscles get a little relief, and we get to experience a little “normalcy”. (Personally, even though I’m in pain I enjoy any moment I can being outside, especially in the sunshine. Vitamin D is good for the soul.)

All weather symptoms: Don’t worry! There are plenty of symptoms that are loyal, no matter the weather. Insomnia, for one, never leaves. They are your weird friend who you don’t really like, but your mom makes you play with them anyway. Won’t leave, won’t take any hints, and shows up every night. Great. Thanks. Pain. In general. Sticks around. Shows up in different forms, but faithful. Itchiness. Will leave you for a little but always comes back. Exhaustion. Do I really need to explain this one?

To recap: although pain is pain, the weather can drastically affect different muscles and symptoms.

Read More: Effects of weather on fibromyalgia Sufferers

This is all based off my experience with weather and will vary from person to person.

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