It’s known as the invisible disease. Fibromyalgia brings chronic muscle aches and fatigue to its sufferers, but the weather adds another layer of pain to the mix.
“Weather, or barometric pressure changes, seem to affect joint pain,” says Dr. Allan Bortnick, “When it’s going to rain, people with arthritis can feel it in their joints, and so can fibromyalgia sufferers.
Fibromyalgia affects roughly two per cent of Canadians, and occurs more often in women than in men.
“I feel like an 80-year-old lady most mornings, especially if it’s humid out” explains Martine Desrosiers, a 33-year-old mother of three. “I wake up at 3 a.m., and I can barely roll off my back.”
Although, there is no cure, there are things that can alleviate some of the symptoms.
“There are treatments that really help, but it depends what the cause is, you have to see what’s out of balance, what kind of dietary problems there are, food allergies, environmental allergies,” explains Dr. Bortnick, “There definitely are cures depending on the cause.”
“Not everybody who has fibromyalgia has the same cause, it can be unique to the person,” says Dr. Bortnick.
Martine also has rheumatoid arthritis, as well as fibromyalgia. She says the weather is the number one reason the pain is so bad.
“I do need a cane,” says Martine, “My son, Matthew watches The Weather Network and lets me know the humidity level predictions for the upcoming days.”
The effects of fibromyalgia leave many feeling discouraged, which can lead to depression and anxiety.
“It’s very depressing, but I must stay positive and keep going,” says Martine.