Temperature Dysregulation  and Fibromyalgia

Do you feel like your internal thermostat is broken?
You are certainly not alone. Temperature dysregulation is quite common in fibromyalgia. And yet, as warm-blooded animals, human beings are usually quite amazing.

When our surrounding environment heats up, our bodies are supposed to automatically kick into gear to cool things down internally. What happens when the surrounding environment gets chilly? Our bodies know just how to warm things up.

Between daily fluctuations in outdoor temperatures and our indoor HVAC systems, we encounter a variety of temperatures each day. The human body has the ability to keep up with those changes, keeping us comfortable and safe. Unfortunately, it is not so cut and dry when we are living with fibromyalgia.

What Happens with
Temperature Dysregulation?

All of this warming up and cooling down happens naturally in most people, but it may not work as smoothly if you have fibromyalgia. It’s common for people with fibromyalgia and its primary co-conditions to experience one or more of the following scenarios:

  • Heat Intolerance: You have trouble cooling down when your surrounding environment warms up. This can vary from a heat sensitivity to complete intolerance that could put some people at heightened risk of heat stroke.
  • Cold Intolerance: You have trouble warming up when your surrounding environment gets chilly. This can vary from sensitivity to cold environments to the inability to handle even moderately cool temperatures without freezing. It can even activate other symptoms.

    You know how I often say that not only your extremities feel unbearably cold, but your “internal core” feels cold so it doesn’t matter how many layers you put on. That is temperature dysregulation or sensitivity at its greatest.

  • General Temperature Sensitivity: You may find that your body has trouble regulating to heat and cold. One day you’re cold while the next you’re hot despite consistent outdoor temperatures.
  • General Autonomic Dysfunction: Your body temperature may seem out of sync with your surrounding environment. When everyone around has on jackets or sweatshirts, maybe you’re sweating in a tank top. You may also experience hot flashes or cold chills when it seems the heat or cold sensation is generated from within your body rather than in response to your surrounding environment.

Temperature dysregulation simply means that your body doesn’t respond to the surrounding temperature as it should naturally. Many fibromyalgia patients also suffer from temperature sensitivity which means that your body overreacts to sensations of heat or cold. This is often caused by the body’s failure to react appropriately to surrounding temperature as well as a reduced pain threshold.

Remember that “pain threshold” is often perpetuated by things like Substance P and nerve related issues as we talk about in the nerve pain article. Much different than pain tolerance which is often very high in those of us living with fibromyalgia.https://www.living-smarter-with-fibromyalgia.com/temperature-dysregulation.html


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