CAN FIBROMYALGIA PAIN BE PREDICTED WITH THE WEATHER?
Studies have recently shown that people with long-term health problems like fibromyalgia are more susceptible to experience pain on damp days. The pain increases when the weather is cold or when it rains.
It is common to hear people complain that they are feeling pain in their joints as a result of cold weather. Some claim that they can predict the weather based on how they feel in their joints.
Research has also established that it is not only on cold days that the pains increase, it is also worse on damp days. However, the research also shows that experiencing severe pains in the joint areas is not only connected to temperature and rainfall alone but this pain has shown to be consistent with humidity.
Research funded by Versus Arthritis carried out at the University of Manchester recently showed that people with conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis and neuropathic pain may experience severe pains during damp days.
The scientists conducted the research by observing 3,000 people who used a smartphone app. The participants were told to record their daily symptoms by using the app, and the GPS on their phones are used to collect data about what the weather conditions are in their different locations. Most of these people were affected by a range of health issues with the majority having arthritis.
This study carried out by the University of Manchester showed that individuals with long term health conditions are 20% more likely to suffer from pain on days that are windy and humid.
Weather is generally believed to compound health conditions of people with symptoms of arthritis according to Will Dixon, a professor at the Center for Epidemiology and Arthritis at the University of Manchester.
People who have arthritis believe that the weather has significant effects on how they feel. Despite different researches carried out in this regard, there is still no agreed consensus on how weather affects or influence conditions of individuals living with arthritis.
Weather is known to affect mood, and mood in turn is believed to affect pain, this relationship does not explain the findings. The weather pain association ascertain this relationship as far as mood is concerned.
The analysis from the research carried out so far showed that on damp days and days with low pressure, the likelihood of experiencing more pain compared to days where there are no humidity or dampness is about 20%. What this means is, if your chances of experiencing pain on an average weather day are one in 25, this figure will increase to five in 25 on a windy and damp day.
The results from this research will be important for two reasons. Since the relationship between weather and pain is known, the weather forecast can be used to create a pain forecast. This will enable people who suffer from chronic pain to plan their activities, on the days that are predicted to cause lower levels of pain.
The data will also offer information to scientists interested in having a good knowledge of how the mechanisms of pain work. This can go a long way in opening the door to new and innovative treatments that can be good for people who suffer from fibromyalgia.
Most people who have fibromyalgia live with chronic pain that affects their daily activities, mental health, and family life. They still experience daily pain despite the pain management being administered by doctors.
Supporting people with fibromyalgia by formulating ways of self-managing the pain can make a big difference in helping them stay active and improve their quality of life.
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