Fibro fog is one of the most common symptoms amongst fibromyalgia sufferers, and can render patients disoriented and forgetful.
Fibromyalgia is a disease that causes all over body pain for its sufferers. The exact cause is unknown, yet symptoms are vast and are not confined to just all over body pain; symptoms often include extreme sensitivity, fatigue and IBS, with one of the most common being cognitive dysfunction, also known as ‘fibro fog’.
Fibro fog is related to issues with mental processes, and can present itself as short-term memory loss, leaving sufferers struggling to find the correct word or getting words mixed up, problems with attention and concentration and episodic disorientation, amongst other symptoms. As a leading law firm in the UK specialising in fibromyalgia claims, we understand that fibro fog can be very scary for sufferers, and can often make patients feel very vulnerable. If you would like advice on how you can better cope with fibro fog, continue reading to find out more.
Establish healthy habits
Both regular exercise and a healthy diet are helpful for combatting fibro fog; low impact exercise improves blood flow, can increase energy and clear your mind. Past studies have shown that going for a walk just three times a walk can effectively increase the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain that controls your memory. Some fibromyalgia patients prefer yoga as a form of low exercise, while others may focus on strength training. There are plenty of low impact exercises that may help patients with their fibro fog – you can find our top five exercises for fibromyalgia sufferers here on our blog.
Maintaining a healthy diet is also a good way to manage the symptoms of fibro fog. Sufferers are advised to stay away from processed foods, sugar and junk food. Instead, it’s recommended that sufferers focus a diet filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy. It is also incredibly important to stay hydrated, so drinking water regularly should be included in your diet, along with brain boosting foods such as blueberries, chia seeds and leafy greens such as kale and spinach.
Quality and quantity of sleep
While it’s no secret that everyone should try and get a good 8 hours sleep per night, it is particularly important for fibromyalgia patients, especially for those who struggle with fibro fog. To improve the quality of your sleep, try to follow a routine by waking up and going to sleep at the same time each day; avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, along with heavy meals before going to bed; try to keep your bedroom solely for sleeping – if you’re going to read, watch the television or use a laptop, try and keep it to another room in your home; and keep your bedroom cool and dark, so you’re as comfortable as possible when you go to bed. Some patients like to use herbal remedies or natural treatments such as melatonin, magnesium and valerian root to help them sleep, yet it is recommended that you consult with your doctor before taking any supplements. If you’re looking for more advice, read our blog on sleeping tips for fibromyalgia sufferers.
Organisation is key
Staying organised is a great way to help patients cope with their brain fog. This is not limited to organising yourself but also your space, both at work and at home. To do this, remove clutter by throwing out the things you no longer need and create storage for those things that you do need. By doing this, you may find your fibro fog easier to control. Self organisation is also a great coping mechanism. Use a planner to help you keep track of meetings or arrangements, set alarms to remind yourself of certain tasks, and try to plan ahead to avoid stress.
Pace yourself and avoid stress
Overactivity is a contributing factor to cognitive difficulties. It’s important to manage your activity levels throughout the day, and it’s okay to take short breaks if you feel overwhelmed or as though you’re losing your concentration.
Additionally, most sufferers will find that they have specific times of the day that they consider to be better than others. If you’re aware of this being the case, try and plan your day so that the tasks that require the most concentration can be completed in your preferred time periods. Similarly, if you feel you may have overstretched yourself in a day, consider postponing or cancelling activities and using the time to rest instead. This will enable you to complete or enjoy activities more thoroughly when you do get around to them.
Avoiding stress is another crucial point, as stress can exacerbate fibro fog and also prohibit you from effectively using other coping techniques, such as maintaining a routine and getting good quality sleep. Try using techniques such as deep breathing and mindfulness; learn how to relax in response to stress; and focus on reframing a stressful situation by calming yourself and slowing down.
While these are some of our most recommended tips for coping with fibro fog, as a specialist fibromyalgia law firm, we are sympathetic to the fact that not all techniques will work for everyone. If you find that these techniques don’t work for you, you may find it useful to speak to your GP for further information.