Weather and Fibromyalgia: The Studies

Numerous studies have been conducted in order to evaluate whether or not fibromyalgia symptoms do appear to be influenced by changes in the weather. Most of these studies have had surprising results.

In 2002, a study was conducted in Cordoba, Argentina, where there are four distinct seasons every year. The study involved fibromyalgia sufferers and a healthy control group and aimed to find out whether pain symptoms could be linked to specific weather changes.

Participants were asked to rate their pain symptoms on a scale from one to ten, every day for 12 months. After 12 months, these symptoms were correlated to weather patterns for the entire year. Researchers found that pain symptoms of the participants with fibromyalgia correlated directly to weather changes.

Specifically, pain increased as temperatures fell and atmospheric pressure increased. The healthy control group did not show any correlation between pain and weather patterns.

Another study performed in Norway found a similar relationship between fibromyalgia symptoms and the weather. Fibromyalgia symptoms appeared to get worse during the months of December and January, but began to improve during April and May. This suggests a direct relationship between colder temperatures and lower barometric pressures and a rise in fibromyalgia symptoms.

Why Does Weather Affect Fibromyalgia Symptoms?

Unfortunately, researchers do not yet know why weather appears to affect fibromyalgia symptoms so much.

However, there are a few possible explanations:

  • Change in Sleep Cycle: Weather, particularly hot and cold temperatures, can sometimes affect the way in which you sleep. This could have a great affect on symptoms and flares if you are a fibromyalgia sufferer.
  • Change in Circadian Rhythm: Your body operates using an internal clock known as the circadian rhythm. Changes in seasons and the amount of light that your body receives can throw off your circadian rhythm, causing you to feel fatigued and more achy then usual.
  • Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines: There does appear to be a relationship between low temperature levels and an increase in the number of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the body. These cytokines appear to be related to pain intensity.

Dealing with the Weather: Managing Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms

If you find that your symptoms are influenced by weather changes, here are a few tips to help keep you more comfortable:

  • Dress in Layers: Prepare for those chilly days by dressing in two or three layers. This will keep your body warm and allow you to shed excess clothing should you become hot.
  • Avoid Cold Temperatures: Try to keep your air conditioning off in your house during the summer, and keep your heat up during the winter months. If you have to go outside in the cold, wear gloves, proper boots, and a hat. This will keep your extremities warm and prevent aches and pains.
  • Bring the Sunshine Inside: If you are finding that you are particularly fatigued or depressed, try to increase the amount of light you have inside of your house. During the gray winter months, it is easy to become depressed and tired, which will only make your symptoms worse. Purchase some halogen bulbs or a special light box to help improve your mood.

 

Table of Contents
1. Weather and Fibromyalgia
2. When the winter blues hurt
 
 
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