Fibromyalgia is not just a condition of chronic pain and tender points. There are brain effects that seem to go along with the disease although doctors don’t know exactly how the brain and the pain of fibromyalgia are interrelated.
What Is Fibro Fog
Many patients who suffer from fibromyalgia also experience cognitive dysfunction, known as “fibro fog,” which is a set of cognitive problems plaguing fibromyalgia sufferers.
It includes poor memory, a diminished sense of concentration, and a lessened ability to focus on any tasks you might be trying to do.
Causes Of Fibro Fog
Exactly what causes fibro fog is unclear but it seems to be a real phenomenon. Patients with fibromyalgia commonly complain of an inability to concentrate or focus on things they are doing. They say that their memory is poor and they have difficulty in taking care of complex tasks that include things like reading or doing their checkbook. They often feel stupid and inept when it comes to doing any kind of cognitive task.
Not everyone experiences fibro fog when they have fibromyalgia but, for those that do, it can be very debilitating. Those who have jobs that require concentration often suffer from decreased productivity and, for some, it means having to leave a good job because the brain does not function properly enough to be able to keep up with the cognitive portion of the job.
Manifestations Of Fibro Fog
Fibro fog is different for each fibromyalgia patient that suffers from it.
Some of the common symptoms include the following:
- A lack of ability to do simple mathematical tasks
- Poor concentration on the tasks the person is doing
- Making mistakes because the brain is not functioning up to par
- A lack of focus on the task at hand
- Feeling foggy in the head so that thoughts come slowly
If you experience any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from fibro fog as part of your fibromyalgia symptoms. It often goes along with the fatigue that many fibromyalgia sufferers experience.
What You Can Do To Deal With Fibro Fog
When you suffer from fibro fog, it can make you feel very helpless and inefficient. It can lead to depressive symptoms because you know you are not living up to your potential. Fortunately, there are things you can do that can help you counteract this phenomenon.
Here are some tips to dealing with fibro fog:
- Take your time when you are doing tasks that require mental stimulation. Double-check your work so that you know you are doing the task correctly.
- Do the most mentally taxing jobs when your mind is at the clearest, usually between ten am and three pm. This also correlates to times when your physical symptoms are usually at their most stable.
- Drink some caffeine before embarking on a complex task. Caffeine will stimulate your brain and some of the fog will be lifted. Be careful not to take in so much caffeine that you feel jittery or that you feel too much of a crash when the caffeine wears off.
- Be patient with yourself. Fibromyalgia robs you of many things, including your ability to think clearly when undertaking various tasks. Know that, with effort, you can still accomplish many of the things you used to do before but that it may take more time and effort.
Those who are suffering from fibro fog have special challenges that make fibromyalgia much more than a condition of chronic pain. When you have fibro fog, you can also experience depression because you can’t do the same things that were easy for you before you came down with fibromyalgia.
It may be helpful to seek the advice of a good psychotherapist or counselor who understands fibromyalgia and the cognitive issues that go with the condition. They can help you find tips and tricks to improve your memory and maximize your concentration so that you can live better with the disease.