Fibromyalgia and Weather/Seasonal Changes

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Fibromyalgia syndrome is an incurable chronic and long term condition with symptoms including widespread pain and pain in the tender points, fatigue, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, inability to get refreshing sleep, waking up tired and stiff and developing cognitive disturbances including lack of concentration and clumsiness, dizziness etc.

Patients with this syndrome are extremely sensitivity to pain. About 10 million people are currently diagnosed with this disorder. Although 9 out of 10 people diagnosed are women, men also get this disorder. Fibromyalgia is not life-threatening and does not reduce life expectancy.

Sensitivity to changes in the weather

Some patients with fibromyalgia have reported that they are more sensitive to changes in the weather, to bright lights, noise etc. Among all the criteria set for fibromyalgia diagnosis several include weather sensitivity as minor criteria for the diagnosis.

There are published studies that have related the pain in fibromyalgia to weather changes. Some studies report that barometric pressure affected fibromyalgic pain positively while yet others find no association.

Arthritis pain and weather changes

There is a definitive association between flare up of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and weather changes. A wetter and colder climate usually affects arthritis pain adversely.

Further low back pain worsens with weather and so does osteoarthritis pain due to changes in humidity and temperatures.

Fibromyalgia and the weather

In fibromyalgia patients the belief that the weather affects pain scores is one of the main factors that affect pain sensitivity in relation to weather found a recent study (1).

In this study patients were given weather parameters like cloudiness, wind speed, barometric pressure, relative humidity, sunlight and temperature and asked to rate their pain scores according to weather.

The actual pain scores in different climates and weather conditions were examined and the fact that fibromyalgia pain could predict the weather the next day was evaluated for truthfulness.

The study found no association between weather changes and fibromyalgia pain on the same or the next day.

Further the onset or severity of pain does not predict weather changes on either the same or the next day.

The study also found that patients who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia for less than 10 years had significantly greater weather sensitivity for pain.

Furthermore presence of anxiety and depression lead to an increased reporting of weather sensitive pain.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jan 22, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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  1. Amy Durham Reser Unruh Amy Durham Reser Unruh United States says:

    I have much better days,  less pain,  and more energy on days where the barometric pressure spiked .20 or less the day before.  The temp has to be warm,  though.

  2. Amy Durham Reser Unruh Amy Durham Reser Unruh United States says:

    My sister is the same.  We've both had fibromyalgia for more than 20 years.

  3. Andrea Davis Andrea Davis United States says:

    This is a simple and stupid study. If someone gave me that test in the middle of summer or the middle of winter the results would be the same as the people they tested. What would be more convincing is their reactions to abrupt changes that happen frequently in fall or spring? That is the only time the changes in the weather bother me. I have had fibromyalgia for 17 years.

  4. Sean H Sean H United Kingdom says:

    I was diagnosed with FMH 10 years ago, I can say the seasons almost certainly are a major factor in my pain, noticing it more and more each year. Summer in UK ended, for last 3 weeks I could not leave the house and spent a lot of time in bed. I notice also that sleep is far more difficult. Summer time I suffer far less pain.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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