I had Raynaud’s disease LONG before I had fibromyalgia. It first started occurring when I was about in the 3rd grade. To me, this also is an indication that fibro is partially genetic and I was probably going to get it sooner or later. If you don’t know what Raynaud’s is, it’s a phenomena where your fingers and/or toes turn blue or entirely white in response to the cold. If going hypothermic, this would make sense– cut off blood supply to the extremities to preserve heat in the vital organs. For whatever reason, in autoimmune diseases and in some random people in the population, the body overreacts to the cold. It also makes sense to me to occur with fibromyalgia because 1.) it’s sorta-maybe-kinda-autoimmune-related and 2.) fibro patients are extremely sensitive to pretty much everything.
So how do we deal with this? If you’re like me and live in a climate with chilly winters, it’s pretty unavoidable, despite numerous layers, hand and feet warmers, and thickest of gloves or socks. But my Raynaud’s is far more severe than that. My sister has it too, but rarely, and not nearly as bad as I do. When I get out from underneath the warm covers, get out of the shower, on humid days, and even running in gym class gave me instant white digits. Sitting in a somewhat chilly room for an extended period of time is when they’ll go blue.
But today I learned something pretty darn effective. I saw that Rosemary oil was used to treat Raynaud’s so I figured, “why not?” and ordered myself a small bottle a number of weeks ago. We patients have tried everything in the book, what’s one more thing? Today was an especially cold day and figured I’d put it to the test. I rubbed in a whole lot of it about 10 minutes before going out to the bus stop, and to my amazement, even though my hands were freezing, no numbness or white fingers! The whole way to work, I was just fine. The effects seemed to where off in less than an hour because I went into our cold room for chemical supplies and my hands started going white again.
How does this stuff work? No idea. I’ve heard of people being prescribed Viagra to deal with the blood flow issue with the hands, but who knows.