Handling summer with fibromyalgia
Summer is the season of fun for most people. It’s a time for young adults to break out the bikinis and swimming trunks and hit the beach and a time for families to vacation, vacation, and vacation. But for people with fibromyalgia, notably seniors, summer fun doesn’t always have the same connotations.
Especially if you’re a woman, since fibromyalgia is more prevalent among us, you have a higher chance of being called the “debbie downer” of at group functions, or you may be considered “boring”. Seniors with fibromyalgia in particular are likely to know what it feels like to miss out on activities they can’t take part in for fear of aggravating their symptoms, or from just sheer exhaustion.
Many people with fibromyalgia find the better weather usually means less pain, but they find themselves with a new problem: the heat makes them very, very sick! Warm temperatures can bring more than summer fun. Numerous studies show that weather changes influence fibromyalgia (FM) patients’ discomfort significantly. In hot climates, they report increased muscle pain, headaches, fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
Since those symptoms also occur in winter’s cold temperatures, researchers concluded that any extreme weather conditions can trigger uncomfortable setbacks. One study found that patients who had fibromyalgia for less than 10 years experienced considerably greater weather-related pain. Understanding why summer triggers reactions and how to manage its effects will help you enjoy this sunny season.
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Choose your dress wisely
Wearing lightweight, loose-fitting cotton clothes instead of body-hugging synthetic apparel can make a surprising difference in how comfortable you feel. Because dark colors tend to be heat absorbers, white and bright colors are the best choices. When you must go outside in the scorching heat, wear sunglasses, cover your head with an umbrella or lightweight scarf, and wear a cooling vest. Choose your clothing wisely; light-colored, loose and breathable clothing will be cooler. Wearing a hat, especially one with a wide brim, this will protect your face from the sun. Sunglasses (polarized) will help to protect your eyes a necessity if you get migraines.
If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated or that’s what I have been told all my life. The minimum you need is eight glasses a day, more if the temperature is higher and you’re sweaty! One of my personal favorites is ice water with lemon, but you can infuse water with all kinds of fruits! Drink water steadily during waking summer hours even when you don’t feel thirsty. Get in the habit of carrying water bottles with you wherever you go. Take small sips regularly. Avoid alcoholic beverages, which have unfortunate dehydrating effects.
Enjoy warm water therapy
Aquatic therapy in warm water lessens your pain perception while promoting leisure. Moving in water takes much less effort than walking on solid land. Yet water’s natural resistance helps you gain more benefits with reduced exertion. The combination of therapeutic movements, nurturing support, and soothing warm water provides deep pain relief.
Whether you’re a determined middle-ager, a young insignificant person, or a grey-hair, hiking is in fact a universal activity that many people benefit from at some stage in their life. But your age bracket will probably determine where, exactly, you choose to get your trail on. For people of old age with fibro, smaller trails with fewer hills are more advantageous, and, depending on where you take a trip to, it can in fact be a peaceful experience.
The Great Smokies of the larger Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina offer a scenic atmosphere and down-home feel of the surrounding towns that appeal to both young families and those more advanced in their life. With a lot of streams, waterfalls, and rocks to impede and admire from pull over points, seniors with fibro can speed easily themselves while being protected from the sun the deeper they enter the mountains.
Boating isn’t typically an offender for deterioration of fibro symptoms, but if we get down to the brass tax, there’s in fact a lot of ways this action can create problems for seniors with fibro. For one, not all boat owners invest in shade covers, and that alone can cause people with fibro to easily overheat.
But going out in the cooler months may not be the answer either. Fibro often causes sensitivity to cold as well, and if a boat such as a pontoon has no place for you to get out of the wind, it can have a similar effect as heat would. In fact, colder weather is probably worse considering the cold can make joints and muscles stiff. Of course, if you’re rich and own a yacht, or have nice friends, you can just come sail away.
Consider it or not consuming right can help keep you fresh and strengthen your body with the necessary vitamins and nutrients to help it better handle a flare-up of symptoms. Besides eating foods to stay fresh and hydrated, look for foods that are affluent in the vitamins or nutrients your body desires to stay keyed up, relieve ache, and encourage healing and more.
For anyone suffering from chronic pain, a few important vitamins and nutrients are magnesium, vitamin B12, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and iron. Of course, talk with your doctor or dietician about your nutritional needs, as each person is different! In addition to eating right – you should avoid foods and ingredients that can aggravate your symptoms. Some common culprits include artificial sweeteners, caffeine, simple carbs (sugars), dairy products and nightshade vegetables (i.e. potatoes, eggplants, etc.