Once upon a time I enjoyed and welcomed changes in the weather, but now I dread them. It’s not that I hate rain, snow, or sunny days, it is how they affect my body that displeases me. I began noticing how the weather affected my body a few years prior to my Fibromyalgia diagnosis. Over the years I have learned to recognize these aches and pains and can predict the weather better than any meteorologist. What I find to be most frustrating is that my life is disrupted when there is a drastic change in temperatures or a storm front moving in. It doesn’t matter how I medicate or how careful I am to not over exert myself, it is totally out of my control. In this post I share how weather affects my body for two reasons. The first is to see if others with my conditions (Fibromyalgia, Psoriatic Arthritis, Degenerative Disc Disease, and MS) or any other chronic condition for that matter, have similar reactions. The second is to remind you and myself that there are some things in life that are out of our control. With that said, here is how the weather creates havoc in my life.
Rain and Snow: My symptoms vary depending on the force and intensity of the storm. The amount of precipitation doesn’t necessarily matter, but the pressure that precedes it does. Anywhere between several days or hours prior to a rain storm my joints will begin to ache and swell. Followed by muscle aches and sometimes a headache. As the pressure builds I begin to experience nerve pain. Sometimes the only area on my body affected by nerve pain is my leg that has permanent nerve damage. Other times my whole body experiences nerve pain. My skin will feel like it is on fire, yet my bones feel like ice. I vividly remember the first time that I recognized that a storm front was the cause of my pain. I was living in Colorado at the time and was suddenly hit with all the symptoms mentioned above (minus the leg as I hadn’t had that disastrous surgery yet). I couldn’t move. The pain was something that I had never experienced before. I was sure that I had the flu, even though I lacked the obvious symptoms of a runny nose and temperature. Twelve hours later, the pain intensified even more! It became more than I could handle and I began to pray for God to take my pain away. Minutes later there was a loud clap of thunder and a bright flash of lightening. Then it began to rain heavily. Within minutes my pain began to subside. My bones no longer felt ice cold and my skin began to cool. All pain disappeared by the time the storm ended. Since then I have learned that location has nothing to do with the severity of my pre-storm pain as I have also experienced the same symptoms in Arizona, New Mexico, Ohio, and California. How I feel after it rains depends upon the intensity of my pain prior and the temperatures that follow.
Extreme heat: My body adversely reacts to temperatures over 85 degrees and intensifies as the number increases. My joints and muscles ache. My skin will feel cool and clammy. Nerve pain makes my body feel like it is being pricked my millions of sharp needles. If the temperature is over 85 for more than a few days in a row I begin to experience muscle spasms and twitches. My hands spasm so badly that they make holding anything like a cup or phone impossible. And forget typing a text or message on my phone, it’s impossible to control my hand to type on that small of a keyboard when I am suffering from these spasms. When high humidity accompanies extreme heat, I have to stay out of the sun. When exposed to sunlight in these conditions I feel like my skin is being burned by a blow torch.
Extreme cold: Any temperature under 40 degrees is what my body considers extreme. My bones feel brittle. The nerve pain in my damaged leg is intensified. My skin and muscles feel like they are being ripped from my body and I feel like someone filled my body with ice. The most frustrating part is that there is nothing I can do to warm myself up outside of using an electric blanket or heating pads, but that only helps my outer body. Weather like this makes me thankful for my menopausal hot flashes!
Fog: This is something that I actually love. My joints are tender, but not so bad that I can’t move about. Foggy mornings fit my life. It takes hours for the sun to break through, just as it takes me hours to get moving after I awake.
My utopia would have daytime temperatures ranging between 65 and 85 degrees and nighttime temperatures ranging between 40 and 60 degrees, as these are the ranges that don’t cause me additional pain. There would be no snow and only light rain showers a few times a year. I am thankful that I live in southern California where the daily temperatures fall into my comfort zone for a large portion of the year. This has also made deciphering which of my pains are related to weather and which are related to my conditions. Because of weather induced pain, I know that I can never again live in any of my former states. It is also something that I take into consideration when planning visits to family and friends that live in those areas. I used to find it odd that I always felt better than normal when my family used to vacation in California and now I know why. California is as close as I am going to get to my utopia.
Have you experienced weather related pain? If so, how does it effect you?
Wishing you a day filled with moderate temperatures, lots of smiles, and gentle hugs,