Fibromyalgia Pain and the Cold Wind on Muscles, a bad Idea

Good Evening Peers,

I learned the first year  that I acquired the Fibromyalgia syndrome that cold, especially cold wind, hitting my neck was asking for trouble. I first discovered this when I took my teen daughter to her swim team practice. It was a cold, foggy day with winds and nowhere to hide. I was in agony.

Today I took my dog for an off leash walk down at the bay. Great idea for both the dog and my knee to exercise, right, wrong. I have been surviving record heat wave temperatures since yesterday. I knew it was supposed to really cool down today, so I  did bring a warm sweater. I also know that this area by the bay is the channel that the fog streams through, so layers are always an essential there.

Not only was the fog, already dense and low, streaming in, but it was being pushed onshore by fog chilled wind. My warm sweater felt like a summer night’s wrap! No, I did not have a hood or hat, or a scarf to protect my neck. I soldiered on, in fear of the consequences but determined to take our walk. This was a very dumb idea. I began getting pain in my neck 20 minutes later, yes, really 20 minutes. It is now two hours since I left and I am about to hit the bed in a flare up of pain. My neck is screaming at me.

My situation brings up a very common symptom of Fibromyalgia; not being able to tolerate cold. Additionally, any change that lowers the barometric pressure is very likely to increase pain. I can accurately tell you when it will start raining. My accuracy is usually not off by more than 10 minutes. Based on the above it would have made sense to also bring a scarf today. But I didn’t because I was used to triple digit heat and somewhere in my brain colder weather, the bay, fog and wind just weren’t fully computing.

My sincere hope in posting my day’s story is that as a Peer living Well with Fibromyalgia you will always remember to leave these two basic items in the trunk of your car. Fall is here or it is coming to you soon. Fall is followed by winter and for people with chronic pain we need to make simple preparations now. Just like me, no one will be perfect every time, but we can try to be.

The one item I wish I had control over is the falling barometric pressure. If it falls at night I can usually handle the next day well. If it starts falling any time during the day, my bed becomes my home as soon as possible. I wonder if researchers could discover why this occurs to chronic pain survivors? As long as  I am dreaming, maybe someone can invent a device that keeps our internal barometric pressure at the same setting??

Heading for bed,

Lucinda Tart, Fibromyalgia Peer Advocate/Life Skills Advisor

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