Fibromyalgia & Weather: study results from 2019

My husband and I have known for 20 years that I respond to the weather, usually in advance: when the weather is still in Oklahoma or Texas I know it is coming (we are in Louisiana), and I do not recover until after it has passed as far as Alabama.

This new study proves that we are not imagining the relationship. Yay! Validation!

Of course there is no fix but still nice to know I am not nuts when I say it. Hopefully it will help someone else with confirmation.

RA:) :turtle:

Oh dear. No wonder I’m in so much pain…I live in Scotland where its rainy and windy 90% of the time! :rofl:

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That’s why I don’t want to live in Portland OR again. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

My acupressurist hearing about a study about weather afflictions on TV made me curious enough to search pubmed for “fibromyalgia weather”, incl. above study.

My results from 7 articles (2002-2021) show that it seems:

  • it’s likely a subgroup and an individual matter (“associated with emotional factors”, e.g. stress). Future research’ll have to distinguish that more.
  • most have more pain and stress as barometric pressure decreases , but some when it increases . Humidity only increased pain when the barometric pressure was higher. Barometric pressure in combination with temperature makes pain more intense, plus more unpleasant esp. when both are lower (less pressure, colder).
  • good mood makes you more resistant, depressive or irritable temperament doesn’t, whilst changeable or anxious temperament is worst.
  • People having FM >10 years seem to be more resistant. But the following seems to partly contradict that:
  • “Depression, anxiety, pain duration in years, hours of pain per day, number of pain-related diagnoses, and gender were additional predictors for weather sensitivity.” (I couldn’t get any deeper what they mean with this…)
  • Hot/warm weather tends to trigger distress rather than pain in FM as opposed to CRPS, that and cold causing pain is more prevalent in these two than in other pain condtions. Pain from the cold is more common.
  • Animal studies suggest it possibly has to do with cytokine pathways.

So like we experience it:
Barometric pressure in association partly with humidity and temperature seems to influence pain severity & unpleasantness.
And I’m not abnormal that I’m not that influenced by the weather, praps just a different subgroup and with a positive temperament.

Fagerlund et al 2019 (Blame it on the weather? = the one @ranselmo49 quotes above), Oniszczenko, 2020 (Affective Temperaments) Berwick et al 2021 (A systematic review), Ten Brink, 2020 (Sensitivity…) as well as Haghighi et al. 2017 (Twitter), Bossema et al 2013 (Influence of weather), and Fors & Sexton (2002)

Details, incl. quotes, links, study backgrounds, technical terms.

Above link is not working for me, it may be being blocked for an unhealthy reason.
So the study mentioned - Fagerlund et al, 2019, 48 people (ONLY!) (Norwegian weather) - concludes:
“The results showed that lower barometric pressure and increased humidity were significantly associated with increased pain intensity and pain unpleasantness, but only barometric pressure was associated with stress levels. Stress levels moderated the impact of lower barometric pressure on pain intensity significantly, where higher stress was associated with higher pain.” And:
“In sum, lower barometric pressure was associated with increased pain and stress levels in the majority of the patients, and stress moderated the relationship between BMP and pain at the group-level. Significant individual differences in response to changes in BMP were present, and the relation between weather and pain may be of clinical relevance at the individual level.
Conclusion from the fuller article: “In summary, the present study suggests that barometric pressure influence pain in fibromyalgia but on an individual basis that is associated with emotional factors.” - meaning stress.
The construction is pretty good, as the people involved didn’t know it was about the weather, however 48 is not exactly a big study.
**What they didn’t write in the abstract:

A first study in 2020 if the "affective temperament" of a person influences weather sensitivity (‘meteorosensitivity’ :upside_down:) seemed to find it does.
And if you are sensitive to it, chances are high that you become ill from it. Most severely “asthenia” = fatigue (they call it: malaise, irritability).
Someone that is always in a good mood (“hyperthymic”), is unlikely to be sensitive to the weather. (That might be me, generally, altho wind is dangerous and I have to watch out when it’s cold.)
For someone with a depressive or irritable temperament the chances are higher.
Highest for a changeable (cyclothymic) or anxious temperament. (In that case not just directly feeling ill, but the sensitivity contributing to it.)
What’d now be interesting to know is if this develops and can be influenced…
(Oniszczenko, 2020, 450 women.)
Affective Temperaments and Meteoropathy Among Women: A Cross-sectional Study - PubMed

Bossema et al. 2013 (330 females) could not really find any influence:
"There is more evidence against than in support of a uniform influence of weather on daily pain and fatigue in female patients with fibromyalgia. Although individuals appear to be differentially sensitive to certain weather conditions, there is no indication that specific patient characteristics play a role in weather sensitivity. "
Influence of weather on daily symptoms of pain and fatigue in female patients with fibromyalgia: a multilevel regression analysis - PubMed

Fors & Sexton, 2002 didn’t either, but it seemed that sensitivity be higher if they have had it less than 10 years: “A statistically significant relationship between fibromyalgic pain and the weather was not found in this sample, although it is possible that a group of patients with less chronic fibromyalgia might be weather sensitive.” (55 females)
Weather and the pain in fibromyalgia: are they related? - PubMed

Haghighi et al. 2017 (140,432 tweets 2008-2014) Twitter doesn’t show a clear relationship either. “…a uniform causal effect of weather variation on fibromyalgia symptoms at the group level remains unlikely. Any impact of weather on fibromyalgia symptoms may vary geographically or at an individual level.”
Investigating Subjective Experience and the Influence of Weather Among Individuals With Fibromyalgia: A Content Analysis of Twitter - PubMed

Ten Brink et al., 2020 (Goebel too, who published the IgG-mouse-‘autoimmune’ study in 2021). 1500 questionnaires, self-declared FMS (409), CRPS (339) or both (79). They were asked if hot or cold weather triggers pain, discomfort, or distress OTOH or intensifies pain OTO. Results: In FMS hot weather triggers more distress, in CRPS more pain. “Depression, anxiety, pain duration in years, hours of pain per day, number of pain-related diagnoses, and gender were additional predictors for weather sensitivity.” Certain temperatures could be named more frequently than from the pain-free controls. Asked for additional triggers/intensifiers: humidity, (changes in) barometric pressure, and (thunder)storms. This is all more the case for FMS and CRPS than other pain conditions.
Since patients were asked, it’ll be necessary to check how much beliefs influence all this.
A long enough abstract isn’t easy to get without asking the authors
Sensitivity to Ambient Temperature Increases in Fibromyalgia and CRPS | Pain Medicine | Oxford Academic,
but I’ve found it here at Bath Uni:

This review by Berwick et al., 2021 shows:

Honestly, I would dismiss any doctor as a quack who would try to tell me that weather or changes in barometric pressure have no effect on your body, lol. Both my Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and my Fibromyalgia go nuts in flair ups with big weather systems.