We all have bad days where keeping a positive outlook is impossible. Where we feel like we’ve been hit by a tractor trailer or run over by a train. We react to the weather and can predict it better than weatherpeople can. I like this blog post by Seeking Equilibrium about the average daily pain we all become accustomed to living with and the off-the-charts, please-make-it-stop pain that makes us crawl in bed and pray for sleep until the flare is over.
Here’s a view of the weather that’s causing my now now five-day long fibro flare up. This is what I see from my desk on the 16th floor of this building. I get a clouds-eye view of the weather that makes my skull feel like It’s about to implore. Like the skull bones are grinding together. Stupid barometric pressure. With storm after storm rolling through the region, my breaks from the pain and respites from the pressure in the air have been few and far between. I’m very ready for some sunny weather!!!
I stumbled upon this post from RebuildingWellness and wanted to share it. I’m on day 4 of a rain/storm induced flare up and am in dire need of some sunny, calm days to lower my pain levels. I wonder why we fibromyalgia sufferers are so sensitive to weather? My skull and jaw is where the worst of the pain and weather sensitivity presents. My skull feels like its being crushed by the pressure in the air and all the bones are grinding together. My jaw aches badly. How does your sensitivity to weather present? Please share your story here.
WEATHER OR NOT — FIBROMYALGIA UNDER PRESSURE (By Sue)
For most of us — yes, symptoms do increase.
But … which ones?
Some of you tell me that fatigue flares to unbearable levels during the heat – especially if there’s high humidity to boot. Some say their symptoms of pain are overwhelming when cold frigid winds blow. And, symptoms such as migraines, sinus pain, and allergic tendencies can increase during stormy and unpredictable weather.
Of course, there’s also the flurry of symptoms that increase right before a significant weather change. Most of us have experienced that type of flare. We really are sensitive beings, aren’t we?
To read more about being a “sensitive type,” read this post about my Tuning Fork Analogy.
Some of us feel as if we could hire ourselves out as weather forecasters or gauges. It makes sense! We’re surely more accurate than a groundhog, right? (I’ll have to do some research about Punxsutawney Phil’s annual salary….) We can predict rain, wind, heat, or significant change by the accompanying pain and fatigue in various parts of the body. For some, the physical impact centers around areas of former injury (broken bones, torn muscles/ligaments/tendons, etc.). For others, it centers around areas of consistent pain such as particular joints, sinuses, or an overall generalized overwhelming fatigue.
In studying the correlation between symptoms and the weather, we need to fine tune the question. We should ask, WHAT symptoms change and WHEN do they change?
For me, change is the operative word. Even though my symptoms are now very minor (for which I’m very grateful), I still pay attention to the slightest physical twinge. I’m aware of incoming weather fronts because my symptoms CHANGE when the weather is about to CHANGE. It’s more than the temperature, precipitation, wind, and humidity levels. For me, a barometric pressure change can be felt throughout the body. The bigger the weather change, the bigger the symptoms change.
Do barometric pressure changes affect you? If so, where do you feel it first, and for how long? Can you mitigate changes by taking preventative action such as increasing certain supplements, drinking more water, and getting regular exercise?
I can’t wait to hear what you think! Jot down your weather-related experiences below…
I wanted to share this funny meme with everyone. Thank you Google for giving me this funny pic which sums up how I’ve felt the last few days. The rain finally came last night and it brought some relief to my pain, but I’m still having a bad pain day. The rain is supposed to be here non-stop through Wednesday, if you can believe the weathermen. Happy Monday everyone!
A storm is coming. I can feel it. The weatherman said today was supposed to be perfect, not a cloud in the sky. He said rain wasn’t coming until late tomorrow night. Instead its been windy all day and cloudy for hours. I can feel its not just rain on the way but thunderstorms. I got a few days break from rain only to have storms on the way. My pain rising the closer the weather comes. The weathermen have been wrong so many times the last few months, forget all their fancy doplar technology, they should just ask someone with fibromyalgia what weather is on the way!
I did manage a walk with the dog this afternoon. That helped with the pain for a bit at least and I enjoyed all the flowers in bloom.
I love the posts of the Seeking Equilibrium blog. I wanted to share this one on the stress that having fibromyalgia creates for us. I feel like she took the words right out of my mouth!
The stress of chronic illness.
Where do I begin?
Chronic illness: the invisible shackles that bind us. It’s been said that we “acquire” Fibromyalgia due to stress. What they fail to acknowledge is the stress that chronic pain brings along with it.
One of my favorites is agreeing to something social. Now, in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “should I put several caveats in the agreement so I don’t look like a no-show again?”
It seems that everything is a fight. Not a physical or verbal fight but a fight of circumstances. You feel like you are fighting against the immovable object. I was driven, competitive and work obsessed. Then I got slammed and it all went out the window. When you have to redefine yourself….well, it isn’t pretty. We go from mach 2 to ZERO and that takes its toll. That alone brings all kinds of stressors. Most of the people I know define themselves by their work and I was no different.
I was in New Home Sales and loved it. It took a long time to get over the fact that I would never man a sales office again. There is a lot of climbing stairs, movement and memory involved. There are days that I still have a tough time dealing with it, not only because of the income, but I loved what I did.
So, back to feeling like cow plop.
When I have something I want to do it’s kind of a crap shoot whether I’ll go. If the pain level is manageable…of course I go….but on any given day….well, that’s up for grabs too. Weather seems to bother me and it’s been haywire lately.
We want to go away and the stress of traveling is just one more thing. When you can’t sit for more than 20 minutes and it’s a five hour flight……what do you do? I don’t love flying on the best of days let alone the worst of them. Just to get the bulkhead seats I had to get a doctor’s note and show medical records for a reason that I have to sit there. Then the humidity levels are much higher than they are where I live……I’m just hoping that I can sit my fanny on a beach and not care how much pain I’m in.
Did we say stress? It seems that everything has stress attached to it. It may not be overt but it’s still there. Why? Because we cannot fly by the seat of our pants anymore. Every little thing has to be planned out and accounted for……and even then it may not work out. I get so tired of being tired and in pain. I want to shake it off and have pain-free fun.
I want to get out and call people and enjoy life. Now, I’m afraid that I’ll be a big drag because I just can’t do what I used to do. Pain, fatigue and nerve damage…..did I say stress?
Everything revolves around me.
That used to be a good thing,
Now, it’s a pain in the fanny.
Notice I said fanny
Hurricane Sandy is going to be a storm of historic proportions. It could leave large areas of the East Cost with damage from wind and flooding. Large areas with power outages are very probable. Snow is very likely in higher elevations. Who knows how much the damage will cost us monetarily once all is said and done. Who knows how many people will have damage to their homes, yards, cars, etc. Who knows how many people will have had to evacuate to get out of the way of Hurricane Sandy.
But there is a group of invisible sufferers who feel Hurricane Sandy’s wrath in a whole different way than everyone else. Yes, we feel the wind and the rain on our faces when we dash out to our cars. Yes, we have things blown around in our yards, or flooding in our basements, or fallen trees, or power outages. But we also suffer in a way that no one can see. We have fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Fibromyalgia is estimated to affect about 4% of the US population. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. The best description of this I’ve ever heard is that our brains process millions of signals all the time and weed out the ones that don’t matter, like the feel of the shirt on your back. Well, our brains see the signal of the shirt on our back as pain.
One of the symptoms of fibromyalgia is a heightened sensitivity to weather changes. We are human barometers. Pressure changes are especially bad for us. So to be in the midst of a hurricane is very, very painful for us. We have to deal with all the normal hassles of a storm like this — school cancellations, road closures, wind and water damage — but we also fight our chronic pain which becomes very intense during strong weather systems like Hurricane Sandy.
I’m sure someone somewhere along the way has asked you, “What is your pain on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being very little and 10 being the most you can imagine?” Well, for me and many other fibromyalgia sufferers a good day is when our pain is at a 5. My bad days are at an 8 or a 9. Our pain can go off the charts in crazy weather like Hurricane Sandy. We can be incapacitated by our pain. It feels like the weather is pressing down on us, trying to crush us. Our bodies feel like one giant pain nerve firing on all cylinders. Every little change in the weather is like a fresh beating on our senses. We feel totally beaten down by the weather and by our disease. All we want to do is sleep through the weather and not wake up until Sandy has passed, but we can’t. Sleep alludes us during the best of times and there’s no way to sleep when you’re in that much pain. We rely on medicines to get any sleep at all. I know I take enough muscle relaxers to knock out a small horse, but it doesn’t do much for me. My brain won’t shut off and let me sleep. My brain is always going, always processing, always signaling to me which body part is hurting now.
Hurricane Sandy is torture to us. It’s a beating on all of our senses and leaves us in pain beyond the “10” you can imagine on your pain chart. We suffer invisibly through the storm. We wait and hope and pray for the storm to pass. We go about our normal days as best we can, even though we are in immense pain. We will not be shown in any statistics you see of the damage Hurricane Sandy caused when all is said and done. But we will have felt the effects of Hurricane Sandy in a way you can’t imagine if you’ve never experienced chronic pain. Hurricane Sandy will have left a scar on us — another invisible scar, one of so many we have gather in the years of pain we have experienced.
I’m lucky that I’m on the fringes of Hurricane Sandy and so far only have a fast worsening headache. Tomorrow is supposed to be the worst weather for me, so we’ll see how I fare. My heart goes out to my fellow fibromyalgia sufferers who are suffering invisibly in the midst of this storm. Hang on, this too shall pass. I wish that everyone in the storm’s path will be safe, but I especially wish that all of my brothers and sisters in chronic pain who are suffering so much through this storm weather the storm as best they can and that the storm passes as quickly as possible for the sake of everyone who feels the storm so intimately and painfully. Be safe everyone!