The chilly Winter months have definitely arrived! Everyone is bustling around, preparing for the festive season, and there is lots to do. So if you are a fibromyalgia sufferer, you may well be feeling the strain more than most!
Many sufferers find that changes in the weather can have an adverse effect on their condition. Although the results of studies into the matter have been mixed, many find the temperature drops in the Winter months, can make symptoms more severe. In fact, it’s not just the cold temperatures associated with the winter months that can cause bother, it’s the changes in air pressure and humidity levels too. Sufferers find that these weather conditions cause higher fatigue levels, more headaches, increased muscle pain, more sleep problems and an increase in the number of flare ups.
So far, researchers have been unable to determine why the changes in weather affects sufferers, however there are some possible explanations. Firstly, changes in temperature can affect sleep patterns. Getting plenty of sleep is really important if you have fibromyalgia, and even small shifts in your sleep pattern can aggravate the condition. Secondly, as the seasons change, the amount of light you are exposed to can throw off your circadian rhythm (body clock), making you feel low and more tired than usual. Lastly, there may be a connection between low temperatures and pro-inflammatory cytokines, which appear to be connected to pain intensity.
What can you do?
- The best thing that you can do is to keep warm (but not too warm)! Dress in two or three comfortable layers, so that you can take a layer off if you are a bit too hot. If you are going outside, make sure that you are wearing suitable winter footwear, a scarf, gloves and a warm hat. Indoors, keep your heating at a comfortable temperature.
- Keep as much sunshine in your home as possible. It is easy to feel low during the dark winter months, which will make your symptoms feel worse. So, let as much light into your house as possible, maybe even invest in a mood enhancing light box.
- The application of heat packs can be a huge benefit, not only during the winter months, but all year round. You can buy reusable heat packs easily in the shops or online, or you can use a hot flannel. Just place the heat pad on the affected area for eight to ten minutes and then do some gentle stretches afterwards to feel relief.
- Try hydrotherapy, many find that wet heat is very beneficial. If you can get to a hydrotherapy tub brilliant, if not a good soak in a hot bath can work wonders.
Have you tried any of these tips? Have you found any of them useful, or do you have any to add. We love to hear of your experiences. Please post your comments below.
We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.