Fibromyalgia Pain and the Weather
Synopsis: Large percentage of people claim the weather directly affects their fibromyalgia symptoms and pain levels.1
Author: Disabled World Contact: disabled-world.com
Published: 2011-11-14 Updated: 2018-06-04
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition and people with it often describe symptoms of hurting all over their body and feeling consistently exhausted. Fibromyalgia can cause widespread musculoskeletal pain, along with fatigue, sleep problems, memory issues, mood changes, tension headaches, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), irritable bowel syndrome, and depression.
People with fibromyalgia often claim their symptoms can vary according to temperature changes with symptoms worsening for some, and providing relief for others. In 1981, a study reported that a large percentage of Fibromyalgia patients may be more sensitive to changes in weather compared to non-Fibromyalgia subjects. The study revealed 90% of patients reported that weather conditions were one of the most important factors influencing their Fibromyalgia pain and symptoms.
Fibromyalgia changes were experienced in:
- Feeling more tired (fatigue)
- Sleeping more poorly (sleep dysfunction)
- Additional, specific pains, like migraine headaches
- All over, more generalized pain, like muscles aches
A Reuters Health Report Article Stated
fig 1. The location of the 9 paired tender points that comprise the 1990 American College of Rheumatology criteria for fibromyalgia.
Cool temperatures, humidity and high atmospheric pressure may be associated with spontaneous pain among individuals with arthritis or fibromyalgia, new study findings show.
"These results support the belief that weather influences rheumatic pain, albeit in different ways, depending on the (underlying disease) and (the patient's) weather sensitivity," report Dr. Ingrid Strusberg of the Centro Reumatologico Strusberg in Cordoba City, Argentina, and her colleagues.
Strusberg's team analyzed questionnaire responses from 151 individuals with fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. In the study, participants reported on their pain symptoms and causes over one year. For comparison, the researchers also looked at 32 healthy individuals. These reports were correlated with meteorological data for the Cordoba area.
The researchers found that for participants with all three conditions, pain was significantly associated with low temperature.
In addition, pain was related to high humidity and high atmospheric pressure among rheumatoid arthritis patients, and high humidity among osteoarthritis patients, according to findings published in the February issue of the Journal of Rheumatology.
For those with fibromyalgia, pain was associated with low temperature and high atmospheric pressure. No correlation between weather and pain was found among individuals in the comparison group, the authors note.
According to Strusberg's team, the idea that weather affects joint pain is an "ancient belief" that still persists. But experts question whether this effect is a true physiological phenomenon or just a "false notion" of a relationship where there is none.
"Our study," they write, "supports the possibility that meteorological factors can have some effect on spontaneous pain in rheumatic patients."
SOURCE: Journal of Rheumatology 2002;29:335-338 - www.reutershealth.com/archive/2002/02/18/eline/links/20020218elin003.html
Weather Factors Appearing to Affect Fibromyalgia Symptoms Include
Rapid changes in temperature and cold tend to irritate while warm temperatures are less troublesome.
The amount of water vapor present in air. Humidity is associated with headaches, stiffness and widespread pain flare-ups in Fibromyalgia patients.
Wind usually causes a decrease in barometric pressure regardless of its force and therefore can trigger fatigue, headache, and muscle pain in Fibromyalgia patients.
This refers to any type of water that falls from the sky to the ground (rain, sleet, snow, hail) and is usually associated with a change (usually a drop) in barometric pressure. This can result in increased pain and fatigue in Fibromyalgia patients
- Barometric Pressure:
This is the measure of weight (pressure) that is exerted by the air that is all around us. Sunny days create a high barometric pressure while storms result in a sudden drop. These changes can trigger muscle aches in Fibromyalgia patients.
Medications That May Help Relieve Fibromyalgia Pain Include
- Reliv, a medication used by some patients who have reported success.
- Pregabalin (Lyrica), an FDA approved medication for fibromyalgia that works in the central nervous system to slow or reduce certain nerve signals. It has proven effective for some with fibromyalgia.
- A combination of Robaxim and Methadone can help with the pain.
- Steroidal drugs such as Prednisone have been used to help when there is excess swelling in the joint, this seems to add some relief.
However, medication that works for one person may have no effect on another. Your Rheumatologist or your primary care physician can play an instrumental role in help identifying which medications work best in various situations.
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