12 tips to manage fibromyalgia in winter

Cold weather is tough for people with joint pain and other conditions including fibromyalgia. Here are 12 tips to deal with fibromyalgia in winter.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterised by widespread pain, fatigue, and heightened sensitivity to touch. It often involves sleep disturbances, cognitive difficulties, and mood issues. While there’s no direct correlation between fibromyalgia and the winter weather, cold temperature can exacerbate symptoms like pain and stiffness. Managing fibromyalgia is challenging due to its varied symptoms and the lack of a cure. If you are someone who is dealing with fibromyalgia in winter, here’s how you can manage it.

What is the connection between winter and fibromyalgia?

Winter can exacerbate symptoms of fibromyalgia, a condition characterised by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and mood disturbances. The cold weather can increase pain sensitivity in fibromyalgia patients, leading to heightened discomfort and stiffness in joints and muscles. Additionally, reduced sunlight exposure during the winter months can disrupt circadian rhythms and decrease serotonin levels. This can result in worsened mood and sleep disturbances which are commonly associated with fibromyalgia.

tongue posture exercises
Fibromyalgia can be painful in winter! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Cold temperature may also contribute to increased muscle tension and decreased blood flow, exacerbating fibromyalgia symptoms. Moreover, limited outdoor activity due to cold weather can lead to decreased physical activity levels, which can further worsen pain and stiffness in fibromyalgia patients.

Therefore, managing fibromyalgia during the winter often involves staying warm, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, and engaging in gentle exercises to alleviate symptoms and improve overall well-being.

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12 tips to manage chronic pain during winter

With conditions like fibromyalgia. The cold weather can exacerbate symptoms, making it essential for individuals to adapt their pain management strategies during the winter months. Here are some tips for managing chronic pain in winter:

1. Stay warm

Dress in layers to trap warmth close to your body. Use heating pads or electric blankets to keep warm, especially in areas where you feel pain. Keep your home well-heated.

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2. Exercise regularly

Engage in gentle, low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, or yoga to keep your muscles flexible. Consider indoor exercises if outdoor temperature are too cold.

3. Stay hydrated

Dehydration can potentially worsen pain. So, drink plenty of water to help maintain joint and muscle function. Warm drinks, such as herbal teas, can be soothing.

Woman drinking water
Staying hydrated also helps keep chronic pain at bay. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

4. Manage stress

Practise stress-reducing techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or mindfulness. You can consider activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

5. Get adequate sleep

Create a comfortable sleep environment, using warm bedding if necessary.

6. Balanced diet

Consume a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Also, reduce your intake of caffeine and processed foods to alleviate symptoms.

7. Supplements

Consult with your healthcare provider about supplements that may support your overall health, such as vitamin D or omega-3 fatty acids.

8. Pain management techniques

Explore pain management techniques like massage, acupuncture, or physical therapy.

9. Medications

Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribed medications may be discussed with your healthcare provider.

10. Take breaks

Be flexible with your schedule and activities, allowing for breaks and rest periods.

Woman enjoys
Take a break and enjoy Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

11. Take warm baths

Soak in warm baths to relax your muscles and ease pain.

12. Mind-body therapies

Consider mind-body therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to manage pain and stress.

Always consult your healthcare provider before making significant changes to your routine or starting new medications or treatments. They can provide personalised advice based on your specific situation and medical history.