Baby It’s Cold Outside! Cold Weather and Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is such a strange disease, some of us have problems with heat, others cannot handle cold, and of course there are many of us that have problems with all temperature extremes! Expert opinion is that any significant change in barometric pressure is hard on people with Fibromyalgia, which makes sense, a nerve disorder is sensitive to everything, unfortunately.
So, we know we have a weird disease, we know weather affects us, now what? There are a few things I have learned, and some I found doing research, to help make the cold a bit more tolerable.
1) Take a warm bath-
Yes really. Add some Epsom salts, the magnesium does wonders for sore muscles and joints, add some essential oil too if you want. Bring a book with you, light a candle, relax as much as you can. Showers are good if a bath is not an option, if you don’t have a bathtub or if it’s very small you have to go with what works. If you belong to a gym or have an available whirlpool tub take advantage of that!
Remember being told to layer clothes? For many of us clothing can hurt or itch, so be smart. Bras hurt me so I have started wearing these cute little nylon sleep bras, they offer just enough support without pain, they are about $5 each so I have a few, I throw them in the shower or bath with me. Soft t-shirts, flannel, silk, and brushed cotton are all good choices for tops. I like a t-shirt or cami and another shirt, plus sometimes a cardigan. I am 46 after all and get hot too, so I like to have something I can take off. For the bottom half try fleece leggings, I love mine, I wish I had 6 pairs! Sweatpants and yoga pants are great options, try silk long underwear when it is very cold. Don’t forget socks and slippers! Fuzzy socks are always nice, and nice cozy slippers can change how you feel about winter in general.
3) Fire it up-
If you have a fireplace use it, especially if you live in a humid area, that cold damp stuff seeps into your joints, a nice fire dries the air, heats the room, and just makes you feel cozy. If a fireplace is beyond you at least light a candle, the small flame has the same effect on a smaller scale, still helps you feel warm and cozy.
Stretchy gloves are less than $1/pair, buy a few because some get lost, keep some in every coat, jacket, and a spare pair in the car. Wear them whenever you are outside, for driving, walking, shopping, even checking your mail, you can wear 2 pairs and they are still softer and more flexible than many expensive options. When you are warm it is much easier to STAY warm than to GET warm when you are cold. While we’re on the subject, wear a hat, a real hat, not earmuffs or a headband, or even a seed cap. Invest in a proper knitted cap and wear it. Heat really does escape through your bare head.
5) Don’t shovel-
Just don’t. If you don’t have a partner or child to do it, hire a neighborhood kid, if you can’t afford that call a local church. It is not worth the pain, suck it up and accept help.
6) Ice Ice Baby-
Many of us walk with a cane, last winter mine was slipping on ice so I stopped using it, my Dr. was angry after I confessed to falling and crawling on my knees to a tree so I could get up so he wrote me a Rx for an ice spike, it clips to your cane and is easy to flip up and down with a foot or hand, if your insurance won’t cover it they are less than $10 on a popular auction site and a great investment.
7) Warm it up-
Cold drinks help your body warm naturally, so drink your water, but coffee, tea, and cocoa are comforting on a cold day. Bubbling soups, stews, and casseroles are warming from the inside out. Oatmeal is a delicious, healthy warming breakfast, as are eggs or toast. Think warming spices that improve circulation and warm you like cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, and peppers.
Soft throws are less irritating to the skin than heavy blankets. Flannel, microfiber or brushed cotton, and t-shirt sheets are amazing, soft and comfortable. Throws are nice in a favorite chair, couch, or on a car trip. If you can’t afford a new comfortable mattress invest in a good mattress pad. Just a hint, I could not afford the one I wanted so I bought a cheaper one, later I bought a step higher in comfort, I use them together, and it is lovely.
Weather is going to be hard on us, we have a strange disease, many of us have to educate our healthcare providers. Stay inside on bad days. Do the best you can. Take your supplements and medications, especially the ones that help with inflammation, complain to your friends that also have the disease. We will get through this, and milder weather will return. Love & hugs…. Mama