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Is Fibromyalgia Affected by the Weather?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain often accompanied by fatigue, sleep disturbances, mood changes, and memory problems. Recent studies indicate that changes in weather may make symptoms worse for fibromyalgia sufferers.

Cold temperatures, a change in barometric pressure, humidity, and precipitation tend to cause changes in sleep patterns, pain intensity, and the number of flareups. With some of the coldest winter months still ahead of us, it's a good idea to plan ahead to minimize your pain. Here are some tips for easing your discomfort during the cold winter months.

  1. Layer up. Layering with multiple pieces can keep you warm and comfortable, even indoors. Dressing in layers also allows you to adjust your temperature if you become too warm. If you are planning to head outdoors, be sure to wear a hat, gloves, and warm boots, as your extremities tend to freeze up first. 
  2. Take a soothing bath. If you notice an increase in your pain, a warm or hot bath may have a therapeutic effect. It will also take the chill out of your body if you've been exposed to the elements. 
  3. Apply Milkweed Balm. Instead of using prescription medications that have side effects, massage Milkweed Balm to help soothe muscles. The natural ingredients and anti-inflammatory properties will help to soothe your discomfort quickly.
  4. Avoid alcohol. Since alcohol dilates blood vessels, it causes heat loss. Although red wine is known to have some benefits, if you are feeling the effects of the cold, skip the wine and opt for some coffee or hot chocolate.
  5. Keep moving. Exercise can boost your mood and your heart rate, which will help to ease fibromyalgia symptoms. Stretch, go for a daily walk, or take a low-impact aerobics class to strengthen your muscles and increase your serotonin levels.

While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there are ways to manage and ease your symptoms. Since cold weather can be a trigger for flareups, get ahead of your pain by planning. Be sure to get enough sleep, reduce your stress, and follow these tips for managing your pain in cold weather.