It's been two weeks since I posted but it doesn't seem that long. Of course when you are asleep most of the time or barely awake, you loose track of time. Hopefully, I think I may be over my last flare. I've been able to be productive and the trucks seem to all be out on I-40 where they are supposed to be.
My body is wanting the weather to decide what season it is and stay there. Right now it's 67 degrees and the low tonight is forecast to be 43 degrees. I think we will all agree that cold weather tends to make fibromyalgia symptoms worse, while warmer weather tends to ease our pain. The weather people are predicting 83 degrees for Thursday with a low of 53 degrees. When the temps go up and down in such a short period of time, it makes my body crazy. Just as my brain can't process conflicting information coming at it quickly, the body can't process the signals it's receiving. Both of these scenarios produce pain that changes quickly and unpredictably. My current pain level is a Level 6 but if the temperature drops as predicted, it will go up. As the temp goes back up into the 80s, hopefully it will help drop my pain. I know it will be a short reprieve but I'll take any pain relief I can get.
Temperature change isn't the only part of weather that effects pain. Barometric pressure, humidity and precipitation work hand in hand to increase pain. Because it has a huge effect on my pain, I did a Google search to see what I could find about weather change and pain. I still don't understand how the puzzle pieces all fit together and some of it even seems to be contradictory but it was good to be reminded that I'm not in this alone.
Fibromyalgia Symptoms.org. has an article that references three studies: a 1981 study where the location is not noted, a 2002 study conducted in Cordoba, Argentina, where there are four distinct seasons every year and an undated study conducted in Norway. The following information that is indented is word for word from the web page. The reason I make note of that is that I found this article on numerous webpages and blogs where readers were led to believe it was the writers own work. I never want to be guilty of taking credit for work that is not mine.
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.
I just heard Mr. Supportive's Harley come in the driveway so I've got to close. We are supposed to be at a wedding in 1 1/2 hours and guess who doesn't know what she's going to wear!! I'd love to hear if you have the same experience with weather changes increasing or decreasing your pain. I'll publish the results in a blog post next week.