Weather conditions do not affect fibromyalgia pain or fatigue

June 4, 2013

Dutch researchers report that weather conditions including temperature, sunshine, and precipitation have no impact on fibromyalgia symptoms in female patients. Results published in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), suggest that individual patients may be sensitive to some changes in the weather.

Medical evidence shows that fibromyalgia affects 2% of the world population with a greater prevalence among women. In the U.S., the ACR estimates that five million people experience the widespread pain, unexplained fatigue, headaches, and sleep disturbances from this chronic pain syndrome. While the cause of fibromyalgia remains a mystery, studies suggest patients have increased sensitivity to a range of stimuli and up to 92% cite exacerbate their symptoms.

"Many fibromyalgia patients report that certain weather conditions seem to aggravate their symptoms," explains first author, Ercolie Bossema, Ph.D. from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. "Previous research has investigated weather conditions and changes in fibromyalgia symptoms, but an association remains unclear."

To further explore the impact of weather on pain and fatigue in fibromyalgia, the team enrolled 333 with this pain syndrome in the study. Participants had a mean age of 47 years and had a diagnosis of fibromyalgia for nearly 2 years. The patients completed questions regarding their pain and fatigue symptoms over a 28-day period. Researchers obtained air temperature, sunshine duration, precipitation, atmospheric pressure, and relative humidity from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.

Findings indicate that in 10% of analyses, weather variables showed a significant but small effect on pain or fatigue symptoms. In 20% of analyses, researchers found significant small differences between patients' responses to weather, suggesting pain and fatigue symptoms were differentially affected by some weather conditions, i.e. greater pain with either low or high atmospheric pressure. The differences in individual symptom response to weather conditions did not appear to be associated with any demographic, functional or mental health status, nor seasonal or weather-related variations.

"Our analyses provide more evidence against, than in support of, the daily influence of weather on fibromyalgia pain and fatigue," concludes Dr. Bossema. "This study is the first to investigate the impact of weather on fibromyalgia symptoms in a large cohort, and our findings show no association between specific fibromyalgia patient characteristics and weather sensitivity." The authors suggest that future research include more patient characteristics, such as personality traits, beliefs about chronic pain, and attitude regarding the influence of weather on symptoms, to help explain individual differences in sensitivity and its impact on and fatigue.

Explore further: Fatigue not a factor in fibromyalgia pain, study says

More information: "The Influence of Weather on Daily Symptoms of Pain and Fatigue in Female Patients with Fibromyalgia: A Multilevel Regression Analysis." Ercolie R. Bossema, Henriet van Middendorp, Johannes W.G. Jacobs,Johannes W.J. Bijlsma and Rinie Geenen. Arthritis Care and Research; Published Online: June 4, 2013 (DOI: 10.1002/acr.22008).

Related Stories

Fatigue not a factor in fibromyalgia pain, study says

April 26, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Poor sleep is not a significant predictor of pain intensity and duration in patients with fibromyalgia, a new study says.

Fibromyalgia prevalence at 2.1 percent of general German population

February 19, 2013
Researchers have determined that fibromyalgia prevalence is 2.1% of the general population in Germany. Results appearing in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal published by Wiley on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology ...

Regular, moderate exercise does not worsen pain in people with fibromyalgia

May 2, 2013
For many people who have fibromyalgia, even the thought of exercising is painful. Yet a new study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center shows that exercise does not worsen the pain associated with the disorder and may even ...

Men with fibromyalgia often go undiagnosed, Mayo Clinic study suggests

December 19, 2012
Fibromyalgia is a complex illness to diagnose and to treat. There is not yet a diagnostic test to establish that someone has it, there is no cure and many fibromyalgia symptoms—pain, fatigue, problems sleeping and memory ...

New Canadian guidelines for treating fibromyalgia

May 6, 2013
Physicians from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and the University of Calgary have published a review article in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) to help family doctors diagnose and treat fibromyalgia. ...

1 in 10 fibromyalgia patients uses marijuana to ease pain

June 22, 2012
(HealthDay) -- About 10 percent of fibromyalgia patients use marijuana to relieve symptoms such as pain, fatigue and insomnia, a new study has found.

Recommended for you

Fluid in the knee holds clues for why osteoarthritis is more common in females

June 26, 2017
Researchers have more evidence that males and females are different, this time in the fluid that helps protect the cartilage in their knee joints.

Biologics before triple therapy not cost effective for rheumatoid arthritis

May 29, 2017
Stepping up to biologic therapy when methotrexate monotherapy fails offers minimal incremental benefit over using a combination of drugs known as triple therapy, yet incurs large costs for treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA). ...

Drug for refractory psoriatic arthritis shows promise in clinical trial

May 24, 2017
In a pivotal phase-3 clinical trial led by a Stanford University School of Medicine investigator, patients with psoriatic arthritis for whom standard-of-care pharmaceutical treatments have provided no lasting relief experienced ...

Cross-species links identified for osteoarthritis

May 17, 2017
New research from the University of Liverpool, published today in the journal npj Systems Biology and Applications, has identified 'cell messages' that could help identify the early stages of osteoarthritis (OA).

Osteoarthritis could be prevented with good diet and exercise

May 12, 2017
Osteoarthritis can potentially be prevented with a good diet and regular exercise, a new expert review published in the Nature Reviews Rheumatology reports.

Rodents with trouble walking reveal potential treatment approach for most common joint disease

May 11, 2017
Maintaining the supply of a molecule that helps to nourish cartilage prevented osteoarthritis in animal models of the disease, according to a report published in Nature Communications online May 11.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.