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16 Ways Seasonal Changes Affect Fibromyalgia Symptoms

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Many of those with fibromyalgia cite weather as one of their triggers – whether it’s the heat of summer, the cold of winter or the moving between extremes that occurs during autumn and spring.

Every person is unique, so every fibro warrior may be affected differently by the changing seasons. Some may struggle with the fluctuating weather of autumn and spring, while others have difficulty with the extremes in temperature summer and winter can bring. Either way, it’s important to raise awareness of how seasonal changes can affect people with fibro so that others may have a better understanding of the condition.

That’s why we asked our Mighty community to explain how changes in weather affect the symptoms of their fibromyalgia. Whether you’re currently struggling with fibro flare-ups or enjoying the middle ground between summer and winter, hopefully you’ll be able to relate to some of the following and know you’re not alone.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

  1. Fall and spring seem to be the most painful for me because [of] the constant fluctuation of cold mornings, warm afternoons and crisp cold nights. The barometric pressure changes [are] a trigger for pure agony in my joints and muscles. I know when it’s going to rain two days before it happens just by the pain in my bones.” – Jenny W.S.
  2. The summer heat makes me dizzy and sick to my stomach. The movement from air conditioning and fans burn my skin. The autumn rain then heat and snow back to rain showers cause my body more pain and to move slower. Kind of like my bones are locked up. The winter air burns my skin and blankets apply too much pressure. The air movement from the heater burns my skin. The spring rain showers slow me down and increase my pain. All in all there’s never a good day unless it’s nice and not too warm or cool and no air moving. Those days my pain is only a 7 or 8. Most likely I’m in a better mood those days.” – Kristine C.
  3. I moved from the west coast to interior of our province for the dry climate, to get away from the ever-changing low pressure systems and rain. It hurts me the most. Heat brings on the weird fibro symptoms but the rain seized my whole body.” – Terri T.
  4. Summer is the worst! Humidity causes immense pain on top of normal summer pains. I tend to blow up like a Macy’s Day Parade balloon, I get so swollen in the summer. Migraines hit hard when I am in the sun too long no matter how hydrated I am. Winter is the best thing for me since my body overheats constantly. I’m in California so my winter isn’t a harsh Midwest winter by any means – it’s basically fall with some cold days in there and my body does best in it.” – Krystal G.A.
  5. I thought that winter was a curse on my fibro symptoms but wow! The heatwave in the UK this year played absolute havoc with my fibro. I think the dizziness was the worst. I had to use a stick to walk and my pain went through the roof! No more holidays in hot countries for me or in cold places either.” – Louise C.
  6. Summer and high heat trigger almost instant heat stroke-like symptoms. I love cold weather but approaching storms and changes in the weather can trigger migraines, Raynaud’s and increased joint and muscle pain. Allergies in spring and fall also trigger flares, so for me every season brings challenges.” – CoCo F.
  7. Winter, I’m in constant flare and increased pain! Summer, I can no longer sit in the sun or I will instantly get a migraine and very dizzy. I now look for shade everywhere. During all seasons, I constantly wear sunglasses or my eyes will hurt and vision goes blurry on sunny days. It’s sad, as someone who loves the outdoors I now often look forward to cloudy or rainy days.” – Katherine L.
  8. “Summer is the worst for me because I get overly hot easily and constantly. Fall and winter are my favorite even if cold makes my joints hurt. I’d rather be cold than hot.” – Jyl E.
  9. Each season causes different symptoms for me but winter is the worst. The rain is hard. I can barely get out of bed. I have [to] use my walker to barely walk. And I’m only 28 years old. I hurt all over, I can barely sit down. It’s horrible. I wouldn’t wish this illness on my worst enemy.” – Stefani B.
  10. Winter is the worst for me. Any cold, so even some fall days are too much. The cold makes me tense up so much that it causes flare-ups. Plus I’m always getting sick in the fall and winter which also doesn’t help flares. Upstate NY winters are brutal.” – Sarah P.
  11. I always feel rain coming – the deeper the pain the heavier and longer the rain will be. And cool nights and warm days don’t do me any favors either. I live in the tropics of Australia. Winters here are great but spring and autumn I ache nonstop with the fluctuations and gives me great fatigue summer when it’s the wet season that brings the pre-rain pain. Ugh, never ends then.” – Sharon C.
  12. Summer kills me, I can’t move, can’t breathe, constantly sweating. Winter is heaven.” – Shayla F.W.
  13. I live in MN and the more extreme the weather shift, the more extreme the flare-up! Summers and winters are the worst! I had three doctors tell me 10 years ago to move south where the weather doesn’t typically get as extreme but I refuse to leave until my youngest graduates high school!” – Danielle T.W.
  14. The changes in weather… I can sense it in my bones before it comes, the deep pain is when I know. It makes my shoulder and knees hurt much more, and the migraines… unbearable.” – Amanda G.
  15. The change of seasons are not very kind to fibromyalgics. The pain and stiffness plays with your head as well as the constant pain and all you want to do is either stay in bed or sit in a comfy chair and not move.” – Meryl C.
  16. Different seasons cause different pain ‘styles’ for me. In the summer it’s a muscle soreness and swollen, puffy feeling that could almost be mistaken for post-workout pain or injury… which would make sense if I could work out! Winter is a deeper, sharper ache that usually stays in my joints like arthritis. Hips, knees and shoulders are usually the worst, with various ‘stabs’ that bring me to my knees. On top of that, these pains can vary on a day to day basis… it definitely keeps one on one’s toes!” – Ashley A.

Getty Image by teksomolika

Originally published: October 4, 2018
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