Connection Between Fibromyalgia and the Weather

“In the wild, there is no healthcare. In the wild healthcare is, ‘Ow, I hurt my leg. I can’t run. A lion eats me, and I’m dead.’ Well, I’m not dead. I’m the lion. You’re dead.”

Fibromyalgia is now recognized as a physical ailment. For years, doctors and researchers debated if the illness was real or ‘all in the heads’ of the patients. As a person with this illness, it helps to know that finally our aches and pains are recognized as being real and not solely made up. There are still segments of this illness that are not totally understood. For example, some patients claim that their pain is worse when it is cold, rainy or foggy. Many patients complain of experiencing more discomfort during periods of weather changes.


Research on Link

As more and more patients began to complain about a connection between this illness and the weather connection, people began to take note. The Fibromyalgia Awareness web site conducted an online survey of 2.596 people who claimed to have the illness. The survey asked what patients perceived as triggers for their flareups and weather was ranked as the second most common disease trigger. A researcher in Argentina, Dr. Ingrid Strusberg, and his colleagues conducted a survey of 151 patients with Fibromyalgia.

The patients were asked to track their pain symptoms for over a year. A control group of 32 healthy persons was also asked to track any symptoms of aches or pains as associated with weather changes. The researchers discovered that after a year of research, patients with Fibromyalgia reported that their symptoms were worse with weather changes. The control group did not report any significant change in body aches related to weather patterns.

Anyway, new research shows that weather conditions do not affect the pain or fatigue associated with this chronic condition.

Type of Weather Triggers

The survey by Fibromyalgia Awareness and Dr. Strusberg’s research, both showed that most patients reported certain weather triggers as creating worse pain perception. Low temperatures and a sudden drop in temperatures were noted as one of the worst triggers. Patients also reported that they experienced more pain when a low pressure system was in process or impending. A drop in pressure has also been noted as increases in pain of those with other rheumatoid illnesses.

Many people report that a rainy day triggers their symptoms. Again, this could be related to the fact that during rainy times, the barometric pressure is generally low. Humidity was also ranked as a pain trigger for some individuals.

Personal Experience With Weather as a Trigger

I personally can relate to the weather and Fibro connection that other patients report. My family jokes that I am a weather forecaster. Before checking the weather report, I can determine if a low pressure front is on the way due to the number of aches and pains I am experiencing. No need for a weather station in our house! However, when talking to other friends and patients who have been diagnosed with this disease, not all reported illness triggers with the same weather patterns.

The advantage of being a weather indicator serves in taking care of oneself ahead of the extreme pain that often accompanies these weather conditions. If I know in advance, I can get extra rest, watch my diet, avoid stressful conditions and even go for a vacation a few hours away to avoid the weather extremes.

The bottom line is that each person is an individual. For whatever reason, extreme weather changes seem to exacerbate Fibromyalgia. Everyone is an individual, so one weather pattern may not affect everyone the same. Knowing your weather triggers goes a long way in helping to understand Fibromyalgia.


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