Did you notice any differences in your cognitive abilities since living with fibromyalgia? Like not being able to focus on your work? Feeling like your brain is cloudy or your brain is not able to think clearly? Then, it means you are going through “Fibro-Fog”, which is a condition of brain-related dysfunctions after the onset of fibromyalgia.
Fibro fog, also known as brain fog, is a frequent outcome in people with fibromyalgia. The symptoms usually include:
- Being forgetful or having problems with remembering
- Inattention or being easily distracted
- Reduced vigilance
- Having problems with clear thinking or cognitive slowness
- Having trouble having conversation
What is the reason behind Fibro Fog & How do I handle it?
Unfortunately, the exact dynamics behind the cause and for the treatment of fibro fog is not fully understood by the researchers. However, studies show that there are useful techniques to handle fibro fog.
The miracles of exercise on the body and the brain have been stressed through various studies. The main reason behind these are neurotransmitters (can be thought of as brain hormones) like dopamine and endorphins released during exercise. Release of these neurotransmitters contributes to improvement of mood, memory and attention and at the same time helps to decrease bodily pain.
Even though exercise is quite beneficial for the brain, someone with fibromyalgia (if it is also accompanied by IBS) might need to be careful about the intensity and type of exercise they engage in. The reason behind is that their nervous system is already sensitive to stress arousing conditions and the exercise itself activates their already prone-to-stress-reaction nervous system. Therefore, you may try stretching or light sports like Yoga, walking and increase the intensity as you build resilience. Another thing to consider is the timing of the exercise because our bodies have different levels of stress hormones at different times of the day.
Reminder: you can always consult a physiotherapist or personal trainer for more professional help.
Workout for your brain
To keep your brain healthy and functioning, it is always important to challenge it to a certain degree in order to enhance its capacity. These could be mentally stimulating games like sudoku, scrabble, word search or logic puzzles. There are even more types of games you can find if you are not fond of the suggested ones.
We always underestimate the importance of our sleep. Sleep is one of the best parameters of our health whether you have fibromyalgia or not and it becomes more crucial if you have fibromyalgia. To have good sleep hygiene, you should form a regular sleep schedule, not consume stimulants like caffeine or energy drinks before sleep as it will make fall into sleeping harder.
Applying stress management techniques to your life
When you experience fibro fog, you tend to get more stressed and vice versa. This signifies that stress and fibro fog affect each other and therefore controlling one could control the other one. Through the use of stress management techniques, you can take your stress under control. Some of the techniques you can use are meditation, diaphragmatic breathing, journaling (writing about your stressing thoughts could give an emotional release).
Self-compassion and acceptance
Living with the effects of fibromyalgia is not easy. Even though we (people not having fibromyalgia) don’t experience what exactly you are going through, we can guess how tough and disabling it can be. However, beating yourself up is not a real constructive solution and it will aggravate the fibro fog. Remember that you would never want to live with the brain fog, and it can never determine your worth. Do take care of yourself. Take time for your hobbies. Spend time with nature and/or animals. Compliment to yourself.
Consulting your GP for deficiencies
Research shows that neurotransmitter levels in those with fibromyalgia are at abnormal degrees. Hence, dealing with dietetic deficiencies and incorporating medicinal food into the diet are found to be more effective than symptom-based treatment. This combination of intervention is proven to have both safe and efficacious results. Moreover, it improves not only the symptoms of fibro fog but also sleep issues and general ache in the body. Consequently, we suggest you consult your GP or a doctor who has experience in fibromyalgia patients.
Here we gave some suggestions to handle fibro fog. Yet not all of them might be suitable for you since every individual is different.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that requires an interdisciplinary approach for the most beneficial treatment and here in Willingness, we have professionals that will plan it for you and accompany you through your journey. We are here to work for you.
If you’d like to seek out professional support on this issue, you can book an appointment here.
Eda Hayrula is an intern working under Willingness with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Her interest in Psychology are gastrointestinal disorders, coping with stress, psychosomatic disorders, and trauma.
Dumain, T. (2021, April 2). Fibro fog, explained: Why you get it and what to do about it. CreakyJoints. Retrieved July 21, 2022, from https://creakyjoints.org/about-arthritis/fibromyalgia/fibromyalgia-symptoms/fibro-fog/#1582386179442-d5fca4d1-7049
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