Have you ever felt that the very cold or very hot temperatures increase your pains, or that the humidity or the rain make you feel worse? It is usual for people with fibromyalgia to say that a certain type of climate or changes in the weather worsen their symptoms.
Many people with fibromyalgia complain of being cold all the time, or heat all the time, or alternately. This symptom is called temperature sensitivity . Some investigations show an inability on the part of the body to adapt to the changes of temperature, together with a low threshold of tolerance to the pain due to stimuli by heat and cold. This is why a lot of people with fibromyalgia say that the temperature sensitivity they experience can aggravate their symptoms.
A new study called ” The influence of climate on the daily symptoms of pain and fatigue in women with fibromyalgia “ suggests that climate does not have a uniform effect on people with fibromyalgia. However, the researchers concluded that ” some ” people with this condition are very sensitive to certain weather conditions, while others do not. This study seems to contradict what many people who suffer from fibromyalgia say; then … who is right?
For many of us, humidity, rain, cold or heat can cause an increase in pain and other symptoms, either on the same day or the next day. It may be that climatic conditions are not those that produce any effect, but rather changes in climate. As is common in fibromyalgia, each case is different.
On a personal level, I can not testify to the effect of high barometric pressure or winter cold (where there is snow, for example), but I’m sure there are many people with fibromyalgia, who can talk about it. However, I live in a tropical country, and I can say that heat, humidity, cold and rain affect me terribly. When the days are extremely hot, I feel like my muscles are burning, I sweat profusely and it seems I’m going to light myself in flames at any moment; When there is a lot of humidity, my fatigue increases and the generalized pain increases; And when I am in a room with very cold air conditioning or when I have traveled to places with cold and dry weather, I feel that my bones hurt, and I just want to be wrapped up from head to toe. In fact, Many times I have to sleep in stockings and gloves, only with the cold of the night, which in my country can be between 24 ° C to 26 ° C. And the rain affects me just like the humidity and the cold. Anyway, we had a roller coaster of sensitivity for changes in the weather.
What worries me about this study, is that its conclusion is not general or applicable to all types of climates that exist in the world, nor to all the populations wherefibromyalgia is present , but nevertheless, it is rooted in the mind of those who read only titles or conclusions, the thought that this is a topic that does not really affect us and as always, we may be exaggerating or inventing our symptoms.
There are many reasons why, it seems to me that this study should not be taken into account, as for example, the time that the study lasted was only 28 days, during which many changes in climate may not have been experienced, besides that It was carried out in the Netherlands, where there are no tropical weather conditions, not to mention the fact that people from that region subjected to the study may have a sub-type of fibromyalgia that does not have sensitivity to temperature or climate changes.
SENSITIVITY TO HEAT
Some people sensitive to heat describe sensations of heat throughout the body that seem to emanate from within. Others may have problems only in the hands and / or feet, possibly along with the sensation of swelling and pain, while some may have both symptoms.
Overheating can produce an increase in the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Although hot weather can aggravate this symptom, it can also occur at any time. People with fibromyalgia seem to have problems withhomeostasis , which prevents the body from regulating the temperature properly.
As there are no treatments for sensitivity to heat and the symptoms it generates, instead we mainly have to make lifestyle changes, and find ways to alleviate overheating, and the best way is to avoid excessive heat in the first place , keeping the environment cool and staying indoors, although this is not always possible and could prevent us from doing a lot of things we want to do or have to do.
Some recommendations to keep us cool are:
- Stick to cold foods and beverages
- Use an umbrella to shade
- Wear a visor instead of a hat
- Wear loose and light clothing, made of a breathable material
- Avoid hot baths or showers
- Take a cold water rinse before leaving and before going to sleep
- Turn on the car and the air conditioner a while before leaving, enough to cool the car
- Avoid hairdressing products that use heat
- If you use a fan or air conditioner, keep them from blowing directly at you
- If you’re home and you reheat, take a cool shower
- When you leave the house, always carry with you a hand fan (one of those used by grandmothers)
SENSITIVITY TO COLD
Another common symptom in fibromyalgia is sensitivity to cold. People sensitive to the cold feel frozen to the bone and have a hard time getting warm. The cold can be in the whole body, or simply in the hands and / or the feet.
Being cold is a serious problem, because in the first place, it can take us some time to get warm, and secondly, the cold can trigger a crisis. This symptom is generally worse during cold weather, but it can occur at any time, although with some planning you can alleviate the impact that cold has on fibromyalgia.
Some researchers believe that these sensitivities are due to something calleddysautonomia , which is a deregulation of the autonomic nervous system, which controls homeostasis, keeping things such as heart rate, digestion and body temperature within normal parameters. When there is dysautonomia, these functions are not given correctly, for example, when the feet of a healthy person are cooled, the autonomic nervous system comes into action, redirecting the flow of blood to heat the area. As long as it is not an extreme situation, the body must be able to overcome the effect of the environment. But in the case of someone with fibromyalgia, the body is not able to adapt properly, so the feet stay cold, and even putting on thick socks may not help warm the feet; Therefore, the environment has a greater impact on the body.
In view of the fact that until now there are no treatments to regulate our temperature and relieve symptoms related to the cold, we must find ways to control these symptoms. The best way is to avoid freezing from the cold.
Some ideas to prevent this from happening are:
- Keep your feet covered during cold weather
- Dress warm (however, dressing too hot may trigger symptoms of heat sensitivity)
- Drink hot drinks
- Eat hot foods like soup and oatmeal
- Warm up the car before leaving home, especially if you have a remote start system
- Keep the atmosphere warm and pleasant
- Have things like blankets and slippers on hand
No matter how careful you are, you can occasionally cool down too much, which can be difficult to overcome. When the body can not heat itself, it has to find an external source of heat, such as:
- A hot bath or shower
- Hot water bags
- Electric pad
- Heating products, such as battery socks or mittens and electric blankets
- Hot pads or similar products for heating in the microwave
But be careful, because too hot or too hot can cause symptoms related to heat sensitivity. Go slowly and carefully.
Finally, it is important to keep these concepts in mind, because I study or do not study, I will continue taking the necessary precautions against the weather, and I will be attentive to changes in temperature to counteract the increase in my symptoms as soon as I begin to feel them or, if possible, before.
And what do you think? Do temperatures seem to influence your symptoms or changes in climate are worse for you? Leave us your comments!