How Weather Affects My Fibromyalgia Pain Levels

How Weather Affects My Fibromyalgia Pain Levels

Editor’s Note: Fibromyalgia Patient Specialist and Blogger Robin Dix writes a column on Fibromyalgia News Today about health and lifestyle issues relating to the condition. In her first post, she talks about her own experiences with Fibromyalgia and how seasons and weather often increase her pain levels. Be sure to tune in every week to Robin’s new column and engage with her in your own experiences with Fibromyalgia.

The cold, the rain, the humidity, snow, and basically any change in the weather will affect my pain. Let’s break it down a bit: since I live in the Northeast, I experience a lot of different weather. The heat and humidity of Summer, the cooler, damper weather of Fall, the incredible cold of Winter, and the amazing season called Spring.

Since it’s Summer currently, I’ll start there. In order to escape the hot and humid weather, I try to stay in an air conditioned space. For me, the majority of that time is in my bedroom. If the air is too cold my legs and hips experience increased pain. So, I’m constantly adjusting the temperature to minimize the pain. If it’s too warm, I will tend to feel weaker and nauseas. It’s a constant battle.

When it rains, or even if it’s just cloudy and the air is more moist, it increases my pain all over. At times, this forces me to take pain meds, but I work hard to avoid them when possible. I love the sound and smell of rain, but my body rebels. That’s when the heating pads come out.

I absolutely love the first snow of the season! It’s beautiful and so sparkly white. My pain level soars in the cold and dampness of winter. It can become a deterrent and distraction from the things I want/need to do. Warm blankets and heating pads become my constant companions. It can be so frustrating not enjoying the beauty of winter due to the distraction of pain.

I really enjoy watching a good thunder and lightening storm … it’s magical and dangerous at the same time. The pain it causes reminds me of having the flu and every area of your body hurts. If you’ve ever experienced all over pain due to fever or illness, multiply that pain by about 5 and you’ll come close to the pain I experience.

Pain robs me of the simple pleasure of just enjoying all the various seasons.

My hope is that this helps friends and caregivers have a greater understanding, and my fellow spoonies traveling with me will know I’m privileged to be a voice for you.

Be sure to read my blog article on Fibromyalgia and Marriage next!

Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this blog article are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Fibromyalgia.


  1. Laurence Badgley, M.D. says:

    Cold causes soft tissues, the primary pain generators in Fibromyalgia, to contract and increase tension and painful spasm within these tissues. Generalized body pain increases when the barometric pressure decreases before a storm, as the body slightly expands causing joints to lossen and impose increased mechanical stress on ligaments that tether these joints. Topical cannabis lotions are effective at relieving soft tissue spasms and pain. See my essays at G+.

    • Valiant says:

      I looked at some of your essays. You wrote about lactate and muscle spacticity in FM. I find marijuana helps FM a lot and my state lists muscle spasm as one symptom that medical marijuana is allowed for under, “compassionate use’. I am wondering if what you wrote about is the same as what my state lists? I copied and pasted the text from it to here: “Cancer, or any other physical condition that produces chronic symptoms of severe seizures and muscle spasms; OR
      • Symptoms of cancer, or any other physical condition that produces chronic symptoms of severe seizures and muscle spasms.”

      What you wrote above and on G+: 2. Surface Electro-Myography (SEMG) documentation of widely ranging muscle spasm

      Are these both the same symptom (without the severe seizures). I don’t know if having spasm without seizure is even allowed. Or if low THC content and high CBD only marijuana that is allowed for in my state will be ineffective. Do you happen to know anything about the latter?

      Thank you for your valuable input,

  2. Kay M says:

    I live in California, with its hot summers & mild winters. I have a swamp cooler that puts a lot of moisture in the air. Spring was ok, but when it was time to turn the cooler in my pain level rose significantly. I’ve been wondering how that affects fms pain. Wishing you all a low pain day!

  3. Kim Weaver says:

    I just wanted to say thank you. I do experience pain with the weather/season change. And even more pain with extremes in the weather. If I get too cold I get severe muscle cramps and pain. If it is too hot I am weak and breathing is difficult. I also try to avoid the heavy pain medicines so that I can continue to work. But ibuprofen only goes so far.

    Thank you for sharing so that others can understand.


    • Robin Dix says:

      Kim, I totally understand, that’s what happens to me too. In really hot and humid weather, I get more exhausted and nauseas. I’m so thankful for this platform to reach others and let them know they are not alone

  4. Kristina says:

    I am new to this life of fibromyalgia, only I think I have had it for years and it has all come to a head. Along with fibromyalgia I have Raynauds Disease in my hands and feet, osteoarthritis and degenerative disk disease. The storms in our area lately (missouri) have been unreal and it causes me to hurt so bad. What are some things I can do to help? Any ideas would be helpful.

    • Robin Dix says:

      Kristina, it’s interesting to me that most people I know with fibromyalgia also have other issues as well. I find that heating pads work well. You could also take a relaxing bath with Epsom salts and some lavender essential oil. Is it a possibility to move somewhere warmer?

  5. Linda L Kolbek says:

    Last night I took an Epsom salt bath, then drank some warm almond milk with turmeric in it and fell asleep like a baby only to be awoken up by aching pains in my arms (remember in school the kids would punch each others arms to see who could stand the pain ?), well, that’s what it felt like. I woke up to see several inches of snow on the ground. It’s amazing how our body just knows….

  6. Teri says:

    I live in Sydney Australia. Our weather is all over the place, but it is currently Autumn, which, over the last few years, means the temperature can go from hot to cold, dry to rainy, etc. in a few hours, until about the end of April. Yesterday was pleasantly moderate, today it’s very hot and humid. My pain is pretty high – maybe 80% of the worst I’ve ever experienced. Don’t know what to do but rest. Sigh.

  7. Pam says:

    The muscle pain can be very tough but in some ways I think the burning in my hands and my arms being so uncomfortable I can’t stand for them to touch my sides and just can’t get comfortable. Last night I finally went to one of our dispensaries in Colorado and got some Cannabis cream. That helped quite a bit. I’m hoping it will always help. Any other ideas?

    • Ana says:

      Hello my name is Anna and I’m new to this . I have been experiencing terrible pains, mostly on my hands, feet, upper back and knees , today had been devastating, the pain level went from 10 to a 20, it has been raining all day. Can someone please tell me if they get this sharp, burning, tingling pains specially on hands

      • Pamla Sterner says:

        Yes I get the burning sensation in my hands, my fingers tingle,my feet feel numb, and the sharp pain happens without warning but luckily isn’t a continuous thing, it goes away as quickly as it comes but can continue for an hour. I have found that Synergy, a cannibas cream (I live in Colorado so this is readily available helps with the burning and general uncomfortable feeling but it doesn’t seem to do anything for the extreme muscle pain.

  8. Pamla Sterner says:

    After 20+ years of struggling with fibromyalgia, I had pretty much given up hope until I started working at a school where we have a personal trainer program. I had a personal trainer student (and at first, an instructor too) four days a week for about 6 months at no cost to me. We worked out about 45 minutes a day. I knew the doctor would say exercise, but she never said what kind of exercise. I learned how to stretch problem areas, how to strengthen my core by breathing deeper, walking differently, etc., and improve my cardio. It is amazing how it helped flare ups to become much more manageable. We discontinued the program three weeks ago, during the time we have had almost daily rain (unusual for our high desert climate) and the flare ups have been horrible. So I am going to hire a personal trainer once a week and see if I can stay with the program. I highly recommend a personal trainer. Ask if he/she has experience with fibromyalgia.

  9. Diane Portas says:

    I am originally from Massachusetts and hated the cold because of the increase with pain and fatigue, I found early Autumn at least until the 2nd or 3rd week in Oct. to be fairly tolerable as well as early spring. But since it has gotten worse with age, I decided to move to Florida so it wouldn’t be as bad. Not the best move either!. I find that the humidity also affects my Fibro and the best time for me here is actually the winter time!!

  10. Marie Kolenski says:

    Thank you for Your writing about Weather & Fibromyalgia. I live in Western Canada & this has to be our worst summer ever for No rain in over 2 months & Very extremely high temperatures ever. For some stranger reason (besides the Extreme Pain & Very High Temps. Around supper time & later it was 110oF tonight, which normally we don’t get this hot this early in the year or for this long of a period) I decided to look & see if Very Hot weather intensives the pain in my whole body & we do not have central air in the house & I am the only driver & I Will Not drive when my knees, legs & the rest of my body are this painful. And I took the only bathtub out of the house years ago so I could get a walk in shower put in for my 85yr old mother. So no tub 🙁 I am also 24/7 caregiver for my mother. I am at my wits end with the heat & all this pain, so I went looking for help on the Internet. And as luck has it I came upon your site. So thank you very much.
    So beside cool epson salt baths is there any other ideas? I sweat really bad also. I can have a lukewarm more cold shower I get out start drying off & I am already sweating very frustrating. I have 3 fans going all night & day in my room but they do not really help to cool my room down much. So makes for impossible sleeping.
    Any ideas you have to help me cope any better would be very muchly appreciated.

    • Robin Dix says:

      Marie, I’m so sorry for this difficult summer. Would it help to keep some cold water in the fridge and fill up a mister with it and mist yourself while the fan is blowing on yo7? God bless you for caring for your mom

  11. Roseann Pratt says:

    I just moved to Florida 3wks ago from Ohio, the extremes in the change of seasons have taken their toll. I cannot tolerate cold. It’s been hot, humid, and rainy everyday. But it has been a constant. I have FM, herniated thoracic disks, spinal stenosis, scoliosis at the cervical disks, and DDD in the lumbar. Basically my back is a hot mess. I’m too new here to make a true decision on it all, but I have definitely had less pain to the point of taking pain meds 3x a day to 2x a day…funny thing I have light sensitivity especially to grays and all the cloudiness and rain have not bothered me.

  12. I’ve had Fibromyalgia since 2008! I lived in Colorado and the Cold Weather was killing me!
    Cold,Cool, damp and WINDY WEATHER also kills! I’m moving back to my Home State in a few weeks. The Heat always helps my pain. I just wish someone would figure out “WHY” some of us get this and Why do some Doctors Not Believe there is a thing called Fibromyalgia?

  13. Keshia says:

    Hello everyone, I’m new to this fibro pain.But this morning I woke up and my whole entire body was stiff and painful. It’s getting cooler in Alabama, and this was the worst morning I’ve ever had!I started looking for more answers on fibro and came across this site. I was wondering was this just in my head until I started reading the comments here. I was really freighter this morning cause I could barely move I was so stiff an in pain. I also have 2 bulging disc, arthritis, and degenerative disc disease. So it’s a battle most days. But I’m glad I came across this site. God bless to every one! AND GOOD LUCK!

  14. Kristy says:

    Fall is here and with that comes my falling apart. I was diagnosed with FM 12 years ago and deny it as much as possible, but when the weather changes…oh My! No more denying at that point. I literally feel like I’m coming down with the flu. Body aches, joint pain, fatigue, the whole nine yards. In addition to FM I have been diagnosed over the years with many things like myofacial pain (isn’t that the same thing?), osteoarthritis, degenerative disk, spinal stenosis due to reverse curvature if c-spine, allergies (to everything it seems), chronic fatigue, major depressive disorder with anxiety, INS, interstitial cystitis, fibrocystic breasts and the list goes on. I am 43 and feel 83. I’ve been told exercise and heating blankets help, but it only exacerbates my symptoms. I have found that plenty of rest (sometimes impossible as pain wakes me and only leaves after getting up and moving around), cutting out caffeine, warm bath and weight loss (darn near impossible since hysterectomy at age 27) help my symptoms to an extent. For ever 10lbs of weight loss there is noticeable decrease in edema that really makes me go to aching. I’ve wondered for years why the heating blanket feels so good but then I wake up feeling like I’ve been beat with a bat and why exercise makes me feel (and sometimes actually do get) sick. In fact, my body is like a pedometer when walking. At 1/4 mile my hands swell to the point they hurt, by 1/2 mile the tops of my thighs itch like crazy and have a red slapped appearance, at 1 mile the itching subsides but excluding my hot face and hands the rest of my body is ice cold. Sometimes I feel like I am just crazy. I’ve been diagnosed and treated for so many different things. I can’t talk about it for fear people will think I am a hypochondriac. So now I suffer through, don’t take meds, not even Hormone replacement, never go to see doctors unless it requires an emergency room visit. In the last 8 years I’ve only been to ER for emergency gallbladder removal, finger tip attachment, kidney stone blocking tube, and concussion w/ cervical sprain. I am grateful to hear others understand the pain that I refer to as the burning of a hard workout combined with the ache of a flu. I am also relieved that many have multiple diagnosis. Any advice on the reason the heating blankets make me hurt? I am so cold natured and really love to feel their warmth.

    • Robin Dix says:

      Kristy, I’m with you on falling apart in the Fall. As the weather gets colder my symptoms get worse. Like you and do many others I have multiple diagnoses. I’m not sure why the heating blanket would make you hurt, but I’m sorry it does.

    • Instead of a heating PAD, try icy cold rub on your sore spots. I also have a laundry list of auto-immune diseases & used to have a burn mark on my tummy from my beloved heating pad (Crohn’s disease). Since developing Fibromyalgia, my nerves are MUCH too sensitive for a heating pad. I feel the same as you – all beat up from it. So, for fibro pain? The only thing that works for me is the icy cold gel. You should buy stocks in that stuff for as much as I buy it ha ha!

  15. Jan Williams says:

    I’m from Michigan, cold damp winters, awful humidity in the summer, yup, wonderful place to live with fibro! 3 years ago I moved to Yuma, AZ …. wow, what a difference, warm (sometimes HOT) temps with humidity that is usually between 7% and 15%. I haven’t felt this good in YEARS! Every once in a while my fibro still gets triggered when the temps drop below 60, but that rarely happens. I was quite surprised about the change in my health! Too bad all fibro people can’t move here!

    • Robin Dix says:

      Jan, I wouldn’t mind living in Arizona, but I’m not a fan of scorpions, spiders, and snakes. I find it very difficult living in New Hampshire. We’re expecting about a foot of snow between now and Christmas Day.

      • Jan Williams says:

        I didn’t like them either, but once I was here I researched them and found out I will not die from a scorpion sting and we had our house treated when we first moved in and it gets treated on the outside every month, keeps the spiders away which keeps the scorpions away …. have yet to see a rattlesnake but have had a King Snake on our carport a couple times, they’re good snakes, they eat rattlers … !!!! …. freaked me out the first time, it was about 4′ long, about 4 months later a 5′ one was relaxing on the carport …. that’s about the only critters we’ve had!

  16. Dena says:

    I am new to this fibromyalgia life as well. I live in the mountains of Colorado. Heating pads and electric blankets are a must but I have to tell you the best thing I have found is a heated mattress pad. It is incredible

  17. Katrina says:

    Long time with fibro here. I have one of those split king beds that adjust position and vibrate, and the vibrating function can help “distract” my nervous system long enough for me to fall asleep. Not enough all by itself as a nighttime pain reliever, but another helpful tool in the fibro toolbox.

Leave a Comment