All right, I have decided to admit it: fibromyalgia has made me a weather psychic.
I am being absolutely serious here. Having fibromyalgia has meant not needing to consult the weather report. I know what the weather will be like the next day based upon changes in my FMS symptoms the day before. It’s that simple.
Although there is no specific reason found, the fact is that people who suffer chronic pain are able to sense changes in the weather before these changes are perceptible to others. Some explanation by way of changes in air pressure. According to David Borenstein, MD, FACP, FACR, a rheumatologist and past president of the American College of Rheumatology, barometric pressure (weight of atmosphere that surrounds us) is likely what affects people the most, particularly people with chronic pain because “sometimes nerves can become more sensitized because of injury, inflammation, scarring or adhesions.”
Q: Okay, I can predict the weather. The symptoms still suck, so what can I do?
Well, according to the linked WebMD article above, there are measures that you can take to help you with dealing with the weather changes:
- Stay warm (to help ease pain in cold weather)
- Try to prevent swelling (if that is an issue for you)
- Keep moving (even if it’s the last thing you want to do)
- Improve your mood (while the changes can feel unpredictable and can make you nervous, you do have control over how you respond to these changes. Work on smiling. I do. Every day).
- Realize that the pain is temporary (of course, temporary may be a while, but it is still temporary, so keep smiling).
- Don’t give up (This is my added thing. Look for the positive in the moment).
Q: I was newly diagnosed/ I’m not sure if I get it–I don’t have arthritis or any old injuries.
If you have been recently diagnosed, then welcome. It’s good to know that it’s not you and you’re not crazy. If you don’t get it for whatever reason, then this may be why:
- You’ve not had the chance to track your symptom patterns on multiple levels.
What I mean is that when you are first dealing with FMS symptoms, they can be overwhelming and seem inexplicable. You may just want to end the pain or get sleep or stop feeling nauseous or be migraine-free, etc.
You may not think about all the factors that may be contributing to your symptoms being more or less aggravated, such as food, activity level, vitamin deficiencies, allergies, recurrent exposure to stress (work/relationships/news/travel), weather and other environmental factors, etc.
Fibromyalgia symptoms are unique to the individual, which is why I think it can take some time to understand just what is affecting you how, and then what to do about it.
Changes in the weather/season, however, is something that many people with FMS have recognized as a contributor to increased symptoms. These changes can mean:
- Change in Sleep Cycle
- Change in Circadian Rhythm
- Pro-inflammatory Cytokines
For more detailed information on these changes and the specific types of weather changes that can aggravate symptoms and lead to flares, read “Does the Weather Affect Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms” by Dr. Rodger Murphee at TheFibroDoctor.com
Believe it or not, predicting the weather is really just your body giving you a warning sign. It’s letting you know CLEARLY that you are potentially heading into a period of flares, so it is best to take preventative actions. That’s all there is to it, at least in my book.
Learn to enjoy your psychic ability, disturb your friends with your accuracy, bring it out as a conversation starter or a topic changer…Whatever you do, smile about it, laugh about it, be with it.
It’s your body, you must live in it. So, live happily as you walk your path.
Until Next Time,
P.S. ATR Challenge (Day 25): What is right is my taking the time that I need, my accepting the support I receive, and my smiling through both pain and joy.