OT: The Weather and Pain

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by kjfms, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. kjfms

    kjfms Member

    This is a very good article from weather.com:

    For as long as people have been aware of weather, they've pondered its impact on their health.

    The Greeks noted the effect of "hot and cold winds" on pain and illness 2,400 years ago.

    During the Civil War, physicians wrote about amputee soldiers sensing pain in their "phantom" limbs when the weather changed.

    And folk wisdom tells of people who "feel the weather in their bones."
    In modern times, doctors continue to explore the connection between weather and pain, especially in relation to chronic conditions such as migraine headaches and arthritis.

    While many people maintain that the weather affects how they feel, scientific studies linking weather to chronic pain don't always agree.

    Some doctors say it's a matter of perception; patients might feel worse on a rainy day, they say, just because it's gloomy.

    But others say the pain is very real. Not all people who suffer from chronic pain feel effects from the weather. Among those who do, reactions depend on the individual and can be hard to measure.

    For those people who are sensitive to weather, changes in weather are generally more likely to affect them than specific weather conditions.

    Doctors who specialize in chronic pain sometimes suggest that patients keep a detailed journal of weather conditions to establish a possible relationship to their pain.

    In particular, the following weather factors may contribute to aches and pains:

    Barometric Pressure -- Barometric pressure is the weight exerted by the air around us.

    Rapidly falling barometric pressure generally signals the onset of stormy weather, and is believed to have a strong correlation with the potential for feeling aches and pains. Rising pressure may also affect some people.

    Humidity -- Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air.

    It can be expressed as "absolute humidity" (the amount of water vapor per unit of air) or the more familiar "relative humidity" (the amount of water vapor relative to the amount of moisture the air can hold at a given temperature).

    An increase in absolute humidity, especially in the summer, can lead to an increased potential for aches and pains.

    Some research also finds a correlation between dry, cold air and migraine headaches.

    Precipitation -- Precipitation includes not only rain, but also snow, sleet, hail or any other form of water that reaches the ground.

    It is considered a factor in aches and pains because stormy weather accompanies changes in barometric pressure and humidity.

    For those sensitive to hot weather, such as some people with multiple sclerosis, rain can cool the atmosphere and may bring some relief.

    Temperature -- Rapidly rising or falling temperatures are a hallmark of big weather changes, indicating underlying shifts in barometric pressure.

    Extremes in temperature, not just changing temperatures, can also affect the potential for feeling aches and pains.

    Low temperatures may trigger migraine headaches, exacerbate circulatory conditions such as Raynaud's phenomenon and contribute to arthritic joint stiffness.

    Cold weather has also been associated with an increase in asthma-related hospital admissions.

    Wind -- Wind often results from big shifts in weather, indicating that barometric pressure and other factors may be changing rapidly.

    Wind is also a health consideration because it can carry pollution and allergens far distances, therefore affecting people with respiratory ailments such as asthma.

    Several years ago I kept a diary of the weather and my daily pain and saw that I am one of those people who is very sensitive to barometric pressure and weather changes as it relates to my FMS pain, arthritic pain, and migraines.

    Thanks for reading,

    Karen :)

  2. born2fish64

    born2fish64 New Member

    I for one can tell you the weather definitely plays a part in the amount of pain I have. Any change in weather regardless of what it is. I can't tell you the why just that it is.
  3. kjfms

    kjfms Member

    I couldn't agree more. I don't all of the scientific whys or hows -- I just know that the weather affects me as well...sigh

    Take care,

    Karen :)
  4. suz45

    suz45 New Member

    Thanks Karen:

    Boy you sure do alot of research!!!! Also did everyone know that accuweather.com now has under its Arthritis index for pain a mention of FM. I was surprised when they mentioned the two together regarding the effects of weather changes on pain. We all know that it affects us, but to see it listed with other disorders validates our VERY real pain more.

    By the way I know here in upstate-wetern NY the pain index is high, however I didn't need the computer to figure that out.

    Trying to work through the discomfort today windy and cold... Buffalo recived snow.

  5. kjfms

    kjfms Member

    Suz45 - Yes I do love to research things and I am a wealth of useless information...LOL

    Seriously I do enjoy it when I have the time -- like today -- and I enjoy passing on things I find interesting and if the articles and sites I find can help just one person besides myself -- all the better :)

    The effect of the weather is amazing isn't it? I agree with you I do not really need a barometer every day but I like this site because it helps me be a little prepared for what the next 10 days will be like.

    Sometimes it is right on target and sometimes it off but it does come in handy :) -- Thanks for taking time to give me a response.

    I do love the snow but hate the pain that comes with it. Stay warm and toasty...Karen :)

    Hi Hayley - It just blows my mind how wild this stuff is -- glad you are tracking it and I hope it helps you in some way.

    I hear ya!! In the last week and half it has dropped really low here in the 30s and high 20s and oh my goodness I have had some awful migraines and some of the worst pain in my spine, ribs, and chest not to mention the "regular" FMS pain.

    Wow, I didn't know that about the wind and the seasons very neat thanks for sharing.

    Winter -- I do love it but it seems like the pain gets worse each year doesn't it? Thanks so much for reading and chatting. Karen :)

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