6 Ways to Keep Fibromyalgia in Check This Winter

Young blonde woman sitting on a bench in winter park
Image: Solomin Viktor/Shutterstock

If you feel like your fibromyalgia symptoms are worse in the winter, you’re not alone. Many people who deal with the daily struggles of fibromyalgia report that cold weather seems to aggravate their symptoms, causing more pain and fatigue. Whether your symptoms are caused by cold weather or a drop in barometric pressure, winter can make life with fibromyalgia a bit harder. Here are some ways to help.

Dress Appropriately for Cold Weather

Dressing appropriately for the outdoor conditions isn’t just an applicable guideline for children. If you’re going outdoors when the temperatures are cold, be sure to wear hats, gloves, and scarves. Even a short walk to the mailbox without being bundled up could cause you to get chilled and make it difficult to warm up the rest of the day.
Long underwear underneath your clothes can also have a substantial impact on reducing your pain, as well. According to Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum at The Annapolis Center for Effective Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia Therapies, wearing t-shirts, pajamas or long underwear made of wool can be as effective as medication at reducing pain levels in fibromyalgia patients.

Wear Layers

Wearing layers in cold weather is helpful for fibromyalgia patients because it allows you to adapt to the changing weather conditions, especially when you go from outdoors to indoors and vice versa. You can wear layers outside to stay warm, but take off some outer layers when you go indoors so that you don’t become overheated, which may become a trigger in itself.

Use Hand-Warming Products

You can buy products in the outdoor or camping section of the store that you pop open and use to create heat. These hand warmers can help your hands stay warm when you’re outside. Because exposure to cold causes pain in the hands and fingers for many fibromyalgia sufferers, it’s important to have access to relief from the cold as soon as possible.

Take a Warm Bath at Night

Taking a warm or hot bath before bedtime is a relaxing ritual that you might choose just because it’s enjoyable. But beyond just being a soothing pastime, a warm bath can have therapeutic benefits for fibromyalgia patients, too. The warm water will take the chill out of your bones and leave you feeling comfortable. Relieving that bone-chilling cold should reduce your pain levels enough that you can drift into a restful sleep.

Say No to the Nightcap

Drinking alcohol is a bad idea for most fibromyalgia sufferers, especially during the winter. Alcohol dilates your blood vessels, which can cause you to lose heat even faster than usual.

Stay Dry

Getting exercise outdoors is good for everybody’s health, even for people who have fibromyalgia and even when the temperatures are cold. However, fibromyalgia patients have to use caution about getting sweaty, particularly during the winter. Sweat will cool on the skin rapidly when the temperatures are cold, which can lead to feeling very cold and finding it difficult to warm up again. Go ahead and enjoy an afternoon of ice skating or shovel the snow if you must; working up a sweat is good for you. Just be sure to change back into dry clothes as soon as possible.

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