Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Freezing Temperatures and Fibromyalgia - Are More Layers Better or Worse?

At this present moment in time Scotland and indeed a large part of the UK is in a total white out.  So what does this mean for those of us who suffer from chronic pain conditions?  It is a well known fact that the cold weather increases the symptomatology of conditions such as Fibromyalgia, as does damp weather.  So what do us as individuals do to cope with these freezing temperatures? 

When going outside in this weather my motto has always been ‘the more layers, the better’, however I am starting to question this logic.  I don’t know if it’s just me, but I find that the more layers I put on, no matter how thin or thick they are, my pain seems to increase.  Is this multitude of layers constricting my blood flow and henceforth increasing the level of pain that I feel?  It’s like having a hair bobble tieing up my hair that is pulled too tight.

Increased skin sensitivity is the number one culprit of this pain.  It feels as though my body is covered in bruises.  My muscles feel taught and sore, both to touch and to move.  The more layers of tops and cardigans I put on, the more my muscles tense up and my skin aches.  It’s like my body can’t handle the weight of the clothes on my skin.   Similarily, this pain seems to decrease, not inordinantly but at least a little upon removal of layers.  When I get in the house and change into a comfy pair of pyjamas, grab my hot water bottle and snuggle up on the couch, the pain does start to subside.

With this in mind I decided to see what I could find out online.  Surprisingly there is a total lack of information on this subject.  There is lots of information out there advising people with fibromyalgia about the differences between hot and cold, different barometric pressures and humidity yet nothing about wearing too many layers.

With increasingly long and cold winter nights, it’s quite easy to see why an individual would opt to crack open a bottle of wine as a way of numbing the pain.  This is not a long term solution though and the rammifications far outweigh the temporary relief that this provides when done on a regular basis.  So what other options are there out there to relieve pain and increase circulation that doesn’t cause the body so much damage?

One of my favourite remedies I got from Sue Ingebretson’s superb book FibroWHYalgia, it’s so simple, and it almost seems silly that something that is so much fun could be so effective.   With a sports bra of course.  

One piece of home gym equipment I couldn’t do without is a mini-trampoline or “rebounder.” I purchased one for about $30 at a discount store several years ago and still use it almost daily. Who can’t find 15 minutes here or there to bounce around? It jostles stiffened muscles and gets the blood flowing. 

Improved circulation helps reduce muscle spasms as well as overall pain. In only minutes of bouncing, I benefit from stress relief, too.

She's a wise woman and this book is superb, a must for anyone who either suffers or knows someone who suffers from Fibromyalgia or any other chronic condition.  Hell, even if you just want some enlightenment on the subject, Sue is a wonderful writer and so natural at it as well.  Reading FibroWHYalgia is almost like sitting down having a conversation over peppermint tea with her.  I Love her!!!  You can check out her website and blog here where there's also links to her Facebook and Twitter.  :)  

When our bodies are cold, our circulation is reduced.  A well known plant that is excellent for circulation, and indeed memory problems, is Gingko Biloba.  It is a circulatory stimulant that is known to increase flow in blood vessels, henceforth is excellent for Fibromyalgia sufferers. 
Devil’s Claw Root is another excellent remedy for Fibromyalgia as it not only works as an anti-inflammatory, but is excellent for improving circulation.  It may also aid better digestion, yet another symptom of Fibromyalgia. 

Bearing all of this in mind, I have since been wearing fewer layers.  Obviously enough to keep me warm, but not so much that I am stopping in essence, my body’s ability to breathe.  I’m hoping that by doing this, as well as following the rest of the advice I’ve laid out here, getting through this freezing cold winter might just be that little bit easier.  And obviously I'll still have some wine.  ;)

*NOTE - When I started writing this we were indeed in the middle of snowsville, thankfully now it's mostly all melted away and now all we have is rain, at least in Arbroath.  Let's see how my body reacts to this sudden change in weather.*

FibroWHYalgia: Why Rebuilding the Ten Root Causes of Chronic Illness Restores Chronic Wellness

1 comment:

  1. There is no doubt in my mind that clothes hurt as I sit here in the wet hot air with no clothes on http://www.tabup.com/Clothes_Hurt


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