As many as 80% of people with fibromyalgia report issues with brain fog. The feelings of forgetfulness, poor focus, inability to follow conversations, and spaciness are sometimes called fibro fog.
Exactly why people with fibromyalgia have these brain-related problems isn’t fully understood, but patients can get help at the Vero Beach, Florida, office of pain management specialist Dr. Michael Esposito. Treating some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia, like fatigue, chronic pain, and sleeping problems, helps alleviate brain fog.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re struggling with fibromyalgia and experiencing brain fog.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition. You experience widespread musculoskeletal pain, sleep problems, fatigue, and mood issues. It often lasts a lifetime and affects women more often than men.
Fibromyalgia isn’t progressive, so you don’t feel symptoms worsen with time. This means that treatments can alleviate symptoms and bring relief.
Exactly why people experience fibromyalgia isn’t fully understood, but it likely has something to do with amplified pain sensations that result from faulty brain and spinal cord signaling.
You may have developed fibromyalgia after a stressful event, such as trauma, surgery, or extreme psychological duress. Not everyone with fibromyalgia experiences such an event, however. Some people find the symptoms simply accumulate over time.
Physical symptoms associated with fibromyalgia include headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). People with fibromyalgia are also vulnerable to symptoms of anxiety and depression.
What about fibro fog?
So what’s the link between fibromyalgia and brain fog? People with this condition commonly report a loss of mental clarity, and symptoms include:
- Trouble concentrating or remaining alert
- Difficulty remembering new information
- Reduced ability to think quickly or efficiently
- Challenges in holding conversations or accessing language information quickly
Exactly why fibro fog occurs isn’t clearly understood. Some researchers believe it’s because patients are distracted by pain or are getting poor sleep. It doesn’t seem that people with fibromyalgia have different brain structures or memory functions, but for patients with fibro fog — the mental struggles are real.
Treating brain fog with fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia has no cure, and neither does fibro fog. However, symptoms may respond well to treatments that include exercise, relaxation, and stress-reduction methods.
Dr. Esposito and his team may recommend improving your sleep hygiene — developing a routine surrounding bed time that relaxes you and prepares you for slumber. You should avoid caffeine several hours prior to bedtime and keep your room cool and very dark.
Sleeping better can help you feel sharper and more able to deal with pain. Sometimes, medication offers support for good restorative sleep.
Moving around during the day and getting as much physical activity as you’re able to do also improves sleep. A 2019 study shows that physical exercise can improve information processing in people with fibromyalgia. Another study, published in 2017, showed that exercise greatly improved sleep in fibromyalgia patients after just eight weeks.
Prescription pain relievers approved for fibromyalgia can help you feel and function better, thus also having a positive effect on your mental clarity.
If you’re struggling with fibromyalgia pain, sleep disruptions, and brain fog, call Dr. Esposito and the team at Interventional Spine & Pain Institute, or use this website to book an appointment. We can help you relieve pain and other symptoms so you improve cognitive function and overall quality of life.