If you or a loved one is suffering from fibromyalgia, you might sometimes wonder whether the change in climate is the reason why the symptoms get better/worse. Does the weather affect fibromyalgia pain? If it does, what is the best weather for fibromyalgia sufferers?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects as many as 4 million US citizens, so it’s definitely not uncommon. It can be treated and managed, but it might not go away completely even with the patient even after treatments.
With this post, Autism Connecticut wishes to bring you more information on the disease and how to make life better for fibromyalgia patients.
Fibromyalgia: Causes And Diagnosis
Before going into what would be the best weather for fibromyalgia sufferers, here is a quick explanation of the disease:
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain all over the body, resulting in fatigue and mental distress. For the sufferers, the way their brain processes and perceives pain might be different than normal people. In other words, patients with fibromyalgia are very sensitive to pain.
For years, researchers have been trying to find the reason why people have this disease. However, there has yet to be any confirmed information for the cause. Only a few possible factors such as stress, trauma, or physical injuries were pointed out.
These are the common signs that a person with fibromyalgia might be displaying:
- Pain in different parts of the body, called ‘tender points’
- Joint and muscle getting stiff
- Severe fatigue and sleep problems
- Mental distress, anxiety and depression
- Headaches and migraines
Because symptoms for fibromyalgia may vary widely from patient to patient, it’s quite complicated to correctly diagnose fibromyalgia at an early stage. According to the NHS UK, for fibromyalgia to be recognized, there are certain criteria that must be met.
Doctors will first need to rule out any other conditions that might have caused the symptoms. However, there are chances that you can have fibromyalgia at the same time with other diseases. Therefore, here’s a list of fibromyalgia diagnosis criteria that doctors commonly use:
- Severe pain in 3 to 6 different areas of your body, or you have milder pain in 7 or more different areas
- Symptoms have persisted and stayed the same for at least 3 months
- No other health problem present that can explain the symptoms
Treatments to fibromyalgia are widely available. However, you need to motivate the patient to follow the recommended procedures regularly. Give them constant support and reassurance that their condition can get better. Once in a while, a thoughtful gift for fibromyalgia sufferers can also help.
Stages Of Fibromyalgia
There is still much undiscovered info about fibromyalgia. For the meantime, we can roughly divide fibromyalgia into 6 stages based on the pain degree of the sufferers:
At the first two stages, there are only few to no symptoms felt by the patient. They might start as regular muscle sores, and aren’t clear fibromyalgia pain. At these stages, physicians and doctors might not be able to recognize the condition.
The 3rd stage happens when the patient starts experiencing severe aching and pain in parts of the body. Fatigue and loss of sleep also follows. This is the stage when doctors can diagnose the condition correctly.
During the fourth stage, the patient continues to experience pain, but now it has spread to more areas. Their fatigue would get worse, and they might begin going through mental distress.
In the last stages of fibromyalgia, the patient’s body will meet with separate health problems. In the fifth stage, these problems are addressed and treated separately from fibromyalgia. However, when the patient enters the sixth and last stage, they become coexisting diseases.
Is Weather And Fibromyalgia Related?
“What is the relationship between fibromyalgia and weather?” you may ask. There are cases that the sufferer’s pain will be more severe with change in temperature. But is there any scientific proof behind this, or is it just the misconception by the patient?
In fact, in a recent study posted on Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, there seems to be almost no association between weather and fibromyalgia pain. The symptoms between patients are highly individual. However, data showed that the level of pain of any observed patient did not have noticeable change, even when there was a difference in weather parameters.
So why do some sufferers report that they have more pain in a type of weather compared to another?
Of course a person’s feelings cannot be wrong, but the reason is not because fibromyalgia and humidity or rain have a connection. These patients might already bear a belief between common pain conditions and the weather, such as lupus and joint pain. Or they are also carrying another disease that causes increasing pain when the weather changes.
Is Finding The Best Weather For Fibromyalgia Sufferers Necessary?
You may think that if there is no connection between the weather and fibromyalgia, then there shouldn’t be a need to find the optimum climate anymore, right? In fact, good weather can still increase the patient’s comfort, and make their treatment become more effective.
What’s more, since fibromyalgia patients can also carry other diseases as well, it’s important to have a climate that doesn’t affect those coexisting conditions. Therefore, the best weather for fibromyalgia sufferers is one where there are no extreme changes in temperature or humidity.