Here Comes the Storm – I Wish It Was the Sun

Here Comes the Storm - I Wish It Was the Sun

Are you like me? When a storm is approaching do you notice any impact on the state of your emotions along with sensing changes in your physical state? I am not sure it matters what medical condition we are trying to cope with. I am betting that even many individuals without any identified health conditions may react to distinct changes in the atmosphere.

Ellen Lenox Smith

I tend to find my bodyweight increases due to fluid retention which may not be discernable to the naked eye but does affect how we feel. Extra retention of fluid causes an array of feelings. I get more tired, cranky and not as patient as I hope to be me. And those lovely headaches also seem to join my day. And then, of course, the emotions kick in. I find myself feeling negative, not as hopeful and just wanting to get to bed to wake up to a new day!

Sometimes it takes time for me to understand what is affecting me. It often takes me some time to realize the dynamic forces which are creating this lovely mixture. But when I become aware that there is a storm on the horizon, it begins to make sense. This realization may not make me feel better physically but perhaps it allows me to accept these changes to the best of my ability.

So what can we do to attempt to address these negative changes with an impending alteration in the atmospheric conditions?

  • Try to remind ourselves it is weather-induced and will improve with the change of the weather
  • Try not to expect clarity of mind and find a way to forgive yourself for the foggy, confused mental state
  • Drink plenty of water and keep hydrated
  • Find safe distractions to bid this uncomfortable time - reading, adult coloring, listening to quiet peaceful music, sewing, visiting with a friend, writing and if need be, relaxing in front of a good show
  • For some, consider taking safe medication that may help to reduce some of the unwanted fluid retention
  • This is an important time to not give in to that feeling, “what difference does it make if I feel this lousy?” - use whatever self-control you can and try to stay away from the foods and medications not compatible that will cause increased inflammation
  • For those who are able, exercising can help relieve the body and mind. I tend to hit the pool or the stationary bike along with pushing through my PT protocol exercises I do daily. I am shocked how sometimes I can get out of my “funk” by simply moving my body as rigorously as my condition allows

I imagine we all wish we could return to that healthier version of ourselves of years past but that isn’t always in the cards. And then a front starts to arrive, bringing those unwanted sensations. One of the hardest things to do emotionally for me is to accept this change and find the patience for things to hopefully pass.

If you can share tricks you have used to cope with these weather changes it would be wonderful to hear your suggestions. You can utilize the comments section below to document your ideas if you so choose.

May life be kind to you,

Ellen Lenox Smith

Author of: It Hurts Like Hell!: I Live With Pain- And Have a Good Life, Anyway, and My Life as a Service Dog!

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report.

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Authored by: Ellen Lenox Smith

Ellen Lenox Smith and her husband Stuart live in Rhode Island. They are co-directors for medical cannabis advocacy for the U.S. Pain Foundation, along with Ellen on the board and they both also serve as board members for the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition. For more information about medical cannabis visit their website.

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Ann Sable

Margie, my heart goes out to you…deeply. I know that it isn’t much, but there are so many of us here for you. Noone should ever be treated so poorly and abandoned in the same breath. Wish I was closer.
I was hit hard in my teens with excruciating pain from the weather and it has only became worse as I have gotten older. From head to toe to be exact. Can tell, up to a few days ahead of time, as to how my body is going to torture me. Add that with pressure too high, too low and the humidity up and down. Rheumatism? Yeah, got a t-shirt for that one many years ago. In other words, meaning of a vast variety of problems…not pin-pointed to an exact DX. Just the same as being told that you have Collagens Disease…not quite clear with their DX…only meaning that there are many different types of illnesses/diseases of the connective tissue. Old terms, that is. (It’s not narrowed down, by far). My mother was given that DX years ago from the Bluffton Clinic. So, she left with many questions unanswered. Just like when FM came about- a symptom to various conditions. But it all runs together and causes havoc beyond the imanginal….inside-out or vice versa. As for migraines of all sorts, neuropathy of the face and head, cranial pressure, interrupted eye sight, the whole schabang; all the way down to further destruction of DDD and other spinal, shoulder, clavicle, nerves, ribs and musculoskeletal problems. It’s torture and becomes intolerable to push through. To you all, in hopes that you are able to find some relieve, even if it is short lived. God knows that I pray for it daily. Gentle hugs…

Thank you Lisa Osbourne for your support. The thing I didn’t get the most was here I was trying to be very friendly supportive with his coworker came from China that can possibly bringing us a deadly virus. All the while my head Has been killing me for a week. S.O would have to go gargle if he thought I had cold. I think co worker is more than. Every since they lowered opiate mg & now abandoned patient. chronic migraines Like they were 28 years ago, but I said that incorrectly. I have chronic daily migraines for 27 years with 1-year of having them Only coming twice a week bc of the increase of opiates. then hits this so-called opiate crisis. BC complaining to doctor about this got me abandon. S.O Didn’t think of all the yrs Then I have helped him with our business. When I just would cry BC I was in so much pain But I powered thru to help him. It would make me suffer days longer. He said he’d like to separate but he can’t afford it. Relied on friends & myself take care of myself as much as possible, rarely relied on him 4 emotional support Or rides to surgery. I learned I would never get it.. S.O is one that needs constant attention I just couldn’t give it all the time especially with all the other things in life acquires. I have read people with chronic pain usually End up divorced. Thank you so much for Being so kind.


In my “ditty bag of tools”, to combat my Storm is coming pain increases, I use moist heat and a Tens Unit to start along with norco. I also do a routine of daily stretching exercises before I get out of bed and once my muscles are warmed up by the moist heat. I then move on to the inversion table and cervical traction unit after another round of the moist heat. I get lots of rest with a large pillow under my knees to my feet to take pressure off my lower back and wear a bragg neck brace when I’m done with the heating sessions and naps. Heck what else are you going to do when you can’t do anything all day anyway.

Lisa Osborne

Margie, I hope you read this. I’m sorry your relationship with your spouse ended. I wanted you to know you are not alone and I saw your comment.

I, too, have migraines and the weather can affect them. In particular, during the change going from stormy to sunny-not the other way around. It’s the pressure change.

My disabilities contributed to the end of my marriage, as well. My SO could not deal with the anxiety he felt as a caregiver, or with the reduced amount of meaningful time we could spend together because of my pain and fatigue. My pain and disability affected my SO. He needed support and his own good self-care but couldn’t see that. When I was unable and unwilling to remain in the relationship because it became toxic, it added to every aspect of my pain. Perhaps you understand what I am talking about. I am very sad you are struggling and want to let you know I heard you.

I have had a migraine for a week now, my head hurts so bad today i feel like its in a vise. I dont kn how i am gonna continue to live. I am back to where i was 28 yrs ago daily chronic migraines. The weather does play into it some. I need to vomit cause it makes me sick as well. My relationship is over with my spouse today. I am a burden and not fun any more yet he eat the left overs from dinner from night before. He says i dont contribute but he has toilet paper to wipe, clean clothes, clean bathrm. I ve cooked 4 dinners in a row for his company. He took her out for a $50 meal just her part but i couldnt go had migraine and they were sight seeing again due to nerve injury from surgery i couldnt tolerate the walking. But again evem before surgery he never plan outings even when i did he didnt want to go but all blame goes to me. Hum guess i will become a homeless chronic pain person, no insurance. Life just great! Ps. She a co worker from china running hiding from coronavirus in my house. He possible could of brought deadly plague home but i am the one whos no fun.

Michael Kastner

Another inspiring great article Ellen. I appreciate you always thinking of others and helping us cope too. Be well Dear

Yes, clearly there is something to be said about low pressure days and the increased symptoms in those suffering with chronic illnesses. While growing up, I would often take sympathy with my grandmother who suffered her whole life with severe rheumatoid arthritis. She would often predict rain two or more days ahead of time and this was back in the 1960’s when weather satellites didn’t exist.

Today, low pressure days increases my misery at all levels. The medical world doesn’t appear to be very interested in its etiology since the phenomenon wouldn’t be that lucrative. But meteorologists know differently. Our bodies are mostly air & water pushing outward and are kept in an equilibrium check by barometric pressure. With nearly 10,000kg of air pressure per square meter pushing down on our bodies (yes air weighs a lot!) we would be crushed if our bodies were composed differently, or they would explode without our atmospheric pressure.

Low pressure days allows inflammation to increase as there is less downward pressure, thus we expand slightly. Barometric pressure is the weight of the atmosphere that surrounds all of us. Barometric pressure often drops just before bad weather. Lower air pressure pushes less against the body, thus allowing our tissues to expand. People who have heightened senses do feel the inflammation caused by low atmospheric pressure. Expanded tissues place unwanted pressures on our adjoining body parts such as muscles, joints, ligaments, nerves etc and will cause pain and discomfort especially if they were previously injured.

Dick fort

Anyway to finish quickly his pain doctor after year and year of not having any issues has all a sudden had or has an issue giving him his pain meds because he also gets benzos for serve anxiety it was never a problem before, so to make her happy my father decreased his clonopins at the same time she is decreasing his pain meds, if he was gunna die he woulda a long time ago when he was getting a higher dose of all the meds which was working best but of course the forced taper came and we all know what happened there, and that satisfied her for awhile , now she wants him to decrease more or stop them completely which we all know u can’t do on benzos without the risk of death expecially someone that’s taken them for 16-17 yrs…. So her solution is come every two weeks and pay 180 dollars each time so that’s 360 for the month plus him having to pay for his meds meanwhile he’s on disability and only gets $800 a month…. So that ain’t gunna work so today is my storm figuratively…. Pretty shity to have to argue with a doctor who’s clearly trying to abusive her power but what do I do there isn’t a line of doctors that are actually willing to help him. So we’ll see weither she wants to be a reasonable normal doctor today if not hopefully she will give him a months worth of his meds and his records so I can try and find him another doctor, last month she told me she wasn’t giving me his records which she can’t do , last visit was strange so we are what today brings, but she has record not just from her but his other two doctors and procedures and from and orth specialist so she has to give me his records otherwise we’re gunna have a serious issue so we’ll see how this storm goes

David Kendrick

I’ve always heard Hell was a boiling cauldron of fire and brimstone so why is my hell so damn cold? The cold weather and barometric pressure in winter are my hell on earth! Like Granny Clampett’s sacroiliac, I need some rheumatism medicine! The references in this post will fly over most of your heads, but us geezers know!

Dick fort

Well I deff agree and I can deffenitly tell when a storm or pressure has dropped or is coming threw well before it does , I can feel it in the bones which I have broke , and expecially in my lower back where my issues are and have gotten worse, I’m really tempted to try stem cell treatment idk maybe it’ll help, have tried everything else, but today more then ever I get to really see and deal with a storm, as I watch my half crippled father who’s 65 yes of age who’s worked hard all his life building and repairing homes get kicked out and loose his meds not for dirty urine not for going to another doctor or breaking any rules in the pain management agreement, no, but because he won’t stop taking a medication that he’s had to use for over 17 years now, the medication happens to be a benzo or more known as clnoazapam or clnopins for serve anxiety. It happened along time ago when he was riding his bike and whind up trying to go up a curb and crashing and hitting his head and splitting his head open really bad which whind up with a huge gash and a serve concussion. Since then he’s had serve anxiety he’s seen many of doctors , he even went to a special clinic to try and fix it and learn about how to deal and live with it and also how to try and fix it and find the right medication of combo of medication , he was there for months I remember it clearly cause I was alil kid who knew it was strange at the time cause my dad was always around being a great dad and I remember him being gone and I really remember the day he came home knocking on the door to pick me up and see me , man was I happy , both cried . But anyway the only meds that worked and really kept the anxiety at Bay were benzos volume for awhile but then they switched him to the clonopins cause they lasted a bit longer. I remember not being able to go out in public places with my dad him not being able to go even to the grocery store cause he would have panaic attacks and would have to walk out and sit in the car