Why does fibromyalgia get worsen in colder weather? Many fibromyalgia sufferers report that they experience heightened symptoms and more flares during the winter months. I’m also one of those people that the cold weather affects drastically. As soon as fall begins the fatigue gets extremely bad, so bad that I have a difficult time functioning to complete simple tasks. Once the fatigue sets in the pain slowly increases. Each day that goes by the more pain I experience. With the increased pain, many sleepless nights result and the chronic fatigue sets in further. The fatigue causes a whole other set of issues such as daily sore throats, fever, swollen lymph nodes and migraines. The list goes on and on. What really causes fibromyalgia to become worse in the winter?
1. We are less active during the winter months because of the cold weather. At least I know I am. This year I have an intolerance to the cold so I tend to stay home more. Even walking from my vehicle into a store leaves me chilled, and takes me forever to warm up. This winter I’m trying to go swimming to see if it lowers the pain levels. Swimming is always recommended to help fibromyalgia pain. I am also utilizing the mall as a place to walk since its too cold out for me to walk outside. Could lower activity during the winter be the cause to why we hurt more!?!
2. Changing weather. I find our weather changes so drastically over the winter months the last few years. The changes in weather will cause the barometric pressure to also change. One day we will have -30c weather and then the next day it can be -2c. Barometric pressure has been known to irritate sensitive nerves in ones body( usually at lower readings). Could this contribute to the increased fibromyalgia symptoms?! I don’t have the knowledge to explain further. I am still currently doing research on barometric pressure. I just know weather affects my fibromyalgia drastically.
3. People with fibromyalgia often suffer from anxiety or depression. Not everyone with fibromyalgia will, but lots do. Research often reports higher cases of anxiety and depression caused by lack of sunlight during the winter months. Can anxiety and depression heighten the symptoms of fibromyalgia? It sure can! When one experiences anxiety or depression, it results as a stressor to your body! People with fibromyalgia will know that stress to the body will create more symptoms or flares to form. If you didn’t know, you do now.
4. If you have arthritis in your joints, cold weather can cause joints to become inflamed. The inflamed joints can make fibromyalgia pain feel even more intense. I often wonder if I have arthritis in my hands. I had an MRI done to rule out MS and the MRI revealed I have the start of arthritis in my neck, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I have it in other joints as well.
Hacks to get through winter the winter with fibromyalgia…
1. Dress in layers! I live in Canada so our winter months can be brutally cold. We go through extreme cold snaps where I’ve seen -50 c cold warnings. If you have to go out in such cold temperatures, I would recommend layering clothes. This is the first year I’ve bought insulating pants to wear under my clothes. Avoid getting a chill is the best prevention.
2. Hand and toe warmers. These can be a life saver when it is extremely cold. You can tuck these warmers into your gloves to keep your fingers from getting cold and put them in your footwear as well. Almost like a mini heating pad.
3. Heated gloves. When I was shopping at a few stores I noticed there are various winter mittens and gloves you can buy that have rechargeable heaters built into the gloves. I do not own a pair, but next winter I think I will invest in a pair!
4. Stores also sell heated winter coats now. Same concept like the heated gloves. Small Rechargeable heated devices are located through the coat. Only problem is they can be very pricy!
5. Buy winter footwear that has a temperature rating for extreme temperature. Last year I had bought a pair of Sorell winter boots, but my feet still got cold. My boyfriend bought me a pair of Bog winter boots and I can’t believe the difference this brand makes. Not only are they comfortable to wear, but they are well insulated and have a rating of extreme cold weather to -50c!!
6. Use heated blankets, heating pads or take a warm bath to help relieve the winter chill from your body. I’ve been using my heated blanket a-lot lately. It sure helps warm me up quickly and soothes the pain! Some people would rather have a hot bath to help warm up and relax.