Small study indicates that fibromyalgia pain and weather are not linked.




Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases

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Other names for fibromyalgia including fibromyositis, fibrositis, periarticular fibrositis, muscular rheumatism, chronic muscle pain syndrome, musculoskeletal pain syndrome, and tension myalgia. However, fibromyalgia, which means pain of the muscles and other fibrous tissue, is now the acknowledged term. It is now accepted that the following two criteria must be met for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia: widespread musculoskeletal pain in all four quadrants of the body for at least three months duration, in combination with tenderness at 11 or more of the 18 specific "tender point" sites.

Part of the confusion over fibromyalgia is that it mimics, or looks like, many other diseases or conditions. That is why, in the past, it was so often misdiagnosed. For years, the diagnosis of fibromyalgia was difficult because objective signs, such as inflammation and joint deformity, are not associated with the condition. In fact, many clinicians initially thought that fibromyalgia was a psychiatric illness.

Several symptoms must be present in order to confirm a fibromyalgia diagnosis. The first is widespread muscle and skeletal pain. Widespread is defined as pain occurring on the right and left sides of the body, above and below the waist, and along the spine. Localized pain also must occur in a majority of identified "tender points" all over the surface of the body. Other general, common symptoms include aching, disturbed sleep patterns, fatigue, morning stiffness, depression, recurrent headaches, tender lymph nodes, bowel or bladder disturbances, sensitivity to heat or cold, anxiety, gastrointestinal disturbances, dizziness, occasional racing heart beats, decreased coordination, and environmental allergies.

A recent small study investigated the correlation between weather changes and fibromyalgia pain. The pain ratings of 55 female sufferers were recorded over 28 days. The weather composites and parameters were then compared to the ratings of pain from these women. The findings showed that there was not a significant change in the amount of pain the same day or the next day when a weather change occurred. Also, the extent of pain was not a predictor for the weather. Although an association was not found in this particular sample of women, the researchers concluded that patients with less chronic fibromyalgia may indeed be weather sensitive.1


1. Sexton H, Forsl EA.Weather and the pain in fibromyalgia: are they related? Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. Feb 2002;61:247-250.