When people think of fibromyalgia we often associate just pain with the condition. Fibromyalgia goes beyond pain and causes a person to have brain fog which affects a persons cognitive ability. We call this fibro fog. In my opinion fibro fog just on its own is debilitating. Think about it, how does mental cloudiness, reduced ability to recall words and issues processing information not become disabling!? Brain fog soon begins to drastically impact your daily life.
I was reading “The Fibro Manual” written by Dr. Liptan. A study revealed that fibromyalgia patients demonstrated decreased blood flow in areas of the brain important for cognition and increases blood flown in pain processing areas. Dr Liptan states that the brain thrives on blood flow. Adding in a gentle exercise routine will help increase blood flow to your brain , resulting in increased cognition and memory. I found this information rather interesting. This is a process. You can’t exercise for a few days and expect to see results.
Fibro fog symptoms ( just to name a few)
- Difficulty holding conversations
- Not being able to access stored language information efficiently
- Lowered ability to think quickly ( worse in distracting environments)
- Problems remembering new information
- Impaired ability to to concentrate
- Lower ability to remain focused
- Fatigue will result
- Losing your train of thought often
There are times where I find myself frustrated because I can’t recall words I am looking for. I can even be looking at the item and not be able to name it. Most of the time I tend to laugh it off. One day I thought to myself, why Get frustrated and angry with myself because I can’t recall a word!? Getting frustrated will only add extra stress to your body – stress is the worst thing to aggravate fibromyalgia symptoms. The people I am around often all know my cognitive struggles with brain fog. Fibromyalgia is a neurological condition so it is not surprising that it can alter a persons cognitive abilities.
What causes fibro fog!? My thoughts
1. Pain levels. Having to live each day experiencing high pain levels can become exhausting and your quality of life will decrease. If our brain can misread pain signals, can our brain dysregulate how neurological pathways function within the brain – causing lower cognitive function!?
2. Lack of sleep. Not getting enough sleep can also affect our cognitive functioning. Most of us have experienced a poor nights sleep at one time or another. The next day it is difficult to think and function. People with fibromyalgia wake up often through the night because of pain. We may even develop other medical conditions which prevent us from getting a solid nights sleep. Insomnia and restless leg syndrome are two examples.
3. Medications. Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if any medications you are taking could be contributing to the brain fog symptoms.
4. Stress can also contribute to fibro fog arising. It is important to deal with any stress appropriately.
I’m sure there are many other reasons for having fibro fog but in my opinion I feel these are possible causes.
How to cope with brain fog…
1. I use alot of sticky notes to write reminders on them. You can stick them wherever you need to. I will also use phone reminders when needed. There are many free apps out there. Utilize them! You just may need to write a note to remind yourself to check your phone! Haha.
2. Try to get enough sleep. Lack of sleep will not help fibro fog. Easier said then done, is what you are thinking right!?! Don’t worry I get it! Try to stick to a sleep schedule.
3. Work your Brain. Crosswords and word searches will make your brain work! They help improve cognition. Any brain games may help.
4. Break up tasks into smaller steps so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Try not to multi task as your brain can’t process everything you are trying to do at once. Trying to keep up while you multi task could make your fibro fog even worse. By breaking up tasks, your brain has time to process and is not overworked.
5. If you suspect your medication may be causing brain fog to form, you may want to discuss possibly changing medications with your doctor.
6. Add exercise to your daily routine.
Here are a few of my fibro fog moments… Feel free to laugh. I won’t be offended!
1. Putting toothpaste on my razor instead of my toothbrush!
2. Stuttering while I search for words I am looking to use.
3. Spraying deoderant on my hands while looking at the lotion.
4. Creating a whole new language or words because I can’t think of the word I wanted to use.
5. While having a snack I sat down to work on a puzzle. i found myself eating the puzzle pieces instead of my food.
6. Looking for my phone while I am using it.
7. Forgetting our keyless code to our house!
8. Ripping up some papers and throwing the paper in the toilet instead of the garbage beside it!