I was very surprised to discover that all the research performed on increased pain related to changes in barometric pressure all agrees that there is no effect. I then performed searches on this topic in many forums and blogs and found that all chronic pain survivors agree that it does have an effect on their pain. It has certainly effected me for the last 16 years. Additionally, every Peer I have posted with and spoken to over the years are adamant that this causes them to experience an additional pain load.
Yesterday, at 5am, I began feeling a large flare of pain in my upper back, neck, a headache and pain in my right arm. When I got out of bed, it was beginning to rain. For me, this is increase in pain is directly correlated to any drop in the barometric pressure. Later on in the day, the clouds cleared a little. My pain, which had adjusted to the pressure drop (lessened), increased again. That evening, the clouds gathered back in with additional rain. As usual my pain began increased again. Due to this up, down, up pain, I wound up going to bed a bit earlier than usual, even though research states this increased pain doesn’t exist. Yet, this according to the few studies performed to date, this should not have occurred.
I wonder what the studies are missing in their measurements? One issue I have about the lack of correlation may be in an important, missed measurement from “The Dutch Study” cited above. If you go to the actual study, not just the study as discussed in the link above, they studied pain and weather factors in only women for only 28 days. Most importantly, the researchers do not state what season of year they performed the study in. Perhaps this is one missing link to understanding chronic pain increases with changes in weather. I know that I am at my worst on days like yesterday which generally begin in the Fall and worsen in the Winter.
Fibromyalgia is considered to be an arthritis condition by the “Arthritis Association”, without inflammation. I can not state the research performed is incorrect, but maybe it’s still early in figuring out the correct items to measure. I did not have either one of this medical issues until I was in my 30’s. I grew up loving the rain! I ran outside, barefoot and walked through the gushing, water filled gutters. As a teenager, I continued to take off my shoes to feel the wet pavement. I opened my window throughout my entire life, until I became a Fibromyalgia survivor, to listen to the rain drops.
I still love the rain. I love the cloud formations. I enjoy thunder and lightning. My body, however, hates them all. With an El Nino year forecasted to be strong in the Pacific West this winter, I am not a happy camper. I am already getting out my tools that help me address winter days in order to do my best to live Well during El Nino with increased pain due to those drops in the barometric pressure.
wishing you all a great, sunshine filled, fall day,
Lucinda Tart, Fibromyalgia Peer Advocate/Life Skills Advisor