Fibromyalgia and Sensitivity to Heat or Cold

I can’t stand the heat! That is a common statement screamed at the top of voices every summer here in the beautiful desert of Arizona. For the fibromyalgia sufferer it is more than a simple complaint, it may actually be a strong physiological reaction that makes their fibromyalgia much worse. In fact, it has been reported that near 70% of people suffering from a muscular type disorder like fibromyalgia, felt that weather changes influenced their muscular and joint pain.

Fibromyalgia is so mis-understood, mis-diagnosed and mis-managed because of its often mis-leading signs and symptoms. Heat and/or cold sensitivity is one of those symptoms often mis-taken for being irrelevant. To a fibromyalgia sufferer it is most definitely not!

Mesa, AZ is a wonderful place for me to raise my family and have a chiropractic clinic but for some living here in Mesa, AZ it is also a painful place to be. In the summer, temperatures can rise to as high as120 degrees. The need for air conditioning and swimming pools is quite obvious. Yet for those that suffer with fibromyalgia heat and cold temperatures can cause a serious flare-up of their fibromyalgia. And, it is not just the summer heat that is to blame. Jacuzzis, hot baths and showers, cleaning refrigerators and freezers or working in cold rooms are all causes of fibromyalgia flare-up.

Scientists and healthcare professional don’t really know what causes this symptom flare-up in fibromyalgia (FM) patients. However, it is believed that blood circulation abnormalities, regardless of how minute, may be a possible cause. There are some who think that it is a neurological disorder beginning in the hypothalamus of the brain. And then there are those that consider it to be a combination of these and / or other causes.

Regardless of the cause, when the body inappropriately fails to regulate between heat and cold, subtle and not so subtle changes are occurring inside the body. In the case of heat histamine can be released causing blood vessel inflammation, itching, skin drying and even hives. This is sometimes referred to as a heat allergy.

In my Mesa, Arizona chiropractic fibromyalgia clinic this topic of heat and cold sensitivity comes up regularly. Here are some of the recommendations I give to my patients:

  1. For heat sensitivity I recommend the following:
  2. Avoid taking hot showers or baths
  3. Stay away from Jacuzzis, hot tubs, saunas and the like
  4. Stay hydrated. Drink a lot of water (lemonade is a good drink to have!)
  5. Avoid caffeine, cigarettes, chocolate or other known stimulants
  6. When going outdoors put on light but full length clothing such as a long sleeve shirt, wear a vented hat as well.

For cold sensitivity I recommend the following (remember that this problem is worse during the cold season but it can occur at any time):

  1. Keep your home or place of work warm
  2. Heat up your car before entering it
  3. At night it is wise to cover your legs and feet with stockings
  4. Dress warmly; use a sweater and / or scarf indoors as needed
  5. Drink soups, teas and other warm drinks
  6. Enjoy a warm and soothing bath or shower

Fibromyalgia and heat and cold sensitivity do not need to control your life. Seek help to learn more about this debilitating disease and to gain better understanding of its many associated problems and methods of control. There are many options available that need not a medical prescription nor outrageously expensive treatment plans. For more information on Fibromyalgia and how to control it contact the East Valley Fibromyalgia Support Group. Or if you are near the Mesa Arizona area, call Dr. Mark E. Lee directly at his Mesa, Arizona Chiropractic and Fibromyalgia Clinic.

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