Flare ups: they are a common word in our vocabulary, especially if you are diagnosed with EDS/HSD. But what makes them happen? Often we get them due to stress on our minds or stress on our bodies, but what about other external sources? There has often been a belief that weather can cause flare ups for those with autoimmune or connective tissue disorders.
A flare up can be characterized as an exacerbation of symptoms, which can cause new health challenges and put additional stress on your already malfunctioning body. For us with EDS/HSD, there is not much evidence specifically targeted at our hypermobile bodies. But there is evidence supporting that cold weather/bad weather can increase pain to the joints in patients with arthritis, which is a common comorbidity of EDS.
There are a few theories about the relationship between increased pain and the changes in barometric pressure in the environment. Some scientists think that since the cartilage that cushions the bones inside a joint is worn away, that the nerves on the exposed bone are able to pick up changes in the pressure.
Another theory is that changes in barometric pressure may make your muscles, tendons, and scar tissue expand and contract. This can cause pain in joints that have been worn down for a number of reasons. It has also been found that low temperatures can cause the fluid inside your joints to become thicker, therefore feeling stiffer.
Some tips for helping flare ups cause by weather:
Keep yourself warm, take warm baths and layer up in the winter! Heating pads are your friend
Preventative measures: if you see a storm or cold front is coming, prepare accordingly! Do some extra exercises to keep you stabilized, and pay attention to your limitations!
Paraffin treatments: wax paraffin treatments can help soothe achy joints and brittle skin, especially in the winter.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle (as much as possible): keeping a healthy weight and staying active will help strengthen your body, helping it fight off flare ups easier and with less time!
Be sure to consult with your primary care physician or other medical professionals in regards to flare ups. This text cannot and should not replace advice from the patient's healthcare professionals. Any person who experiences symptoms or feels that something may be wrong should seek individual professional help for evaluation and/or treatment. This information is for guidance only and is not intended to provide professional medical advice