If you suffer from fibromyalgia (FM) and experience many of the symptoms that go with it—wide-spread pain throughout your body, tenderness in your muscles and tendons, problems sleeping, and feeling overly tired—you may also encounter what’s Man Sitting in a Chair Surrounded by Fogknown as “fibrofog.” While this is a common symptom of FM, less is known about it, and it’s not always recognized by doctors in FM patients.

Fibrofog is a term used to describe the multiple and varied cognitive impairments an FM patient may experience when dealing with this condition. Because the symptoms are so closely tied to diminished mental clarity and memory loss, fibrofog can be extremely overwhelming and stressful because it so directly and negatively impacts the daily life of those suffering from FM.

FM sufferers, especially those who experience fibrofog, may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, but it’s not always easy to obtain them. If you believe you qualify for Social Security benefits, you may the help of a skilled and experienced disability lawyer to help you file your claim. 

Understanding Fibrofog

Also known as brain fog, fibrofog is characterized by a feeling of “fuzziness,” confusion, or a state of haziness. For some FM sufferers, this feeling can last for weeks, and the symptoms can be extreme or mild and occur sporadically. Those patients living with FM often find that overstimulation and stress make fibrofog symptoms worse. 

There are a variety of symptoms that accompany fibrofog, and FM patients don’t experience all of the symptoms of fibrofog or in the same way. Some may have difficulty concentrating and retaining information, and others may find it hard to stay alert and focused. Some patients may have problems having conversations, coherently expressing their feelings and thoughts, or remembering numbers. Fibrofog can be most serious during an FM “flare up.”

How to Ease Fibrofog Symptoms

For those suffering from FM and symptoms of fibrofog, there are ways to help alleviate the feelings of fuzziness and haziness, including:

  • Getting good and consistent sleep. While researchers believe that a variety of causes contribute to fibrofog, including poor nutrition, reduced oxygen flow to the brain, and some medications, they believe the primary cause is sleep deprivation. FM sufferers often don’t get the necessary “restorative” sleep that happens during delta wave sleep—the deepest sleep level. At this level, the brain is able to absorb new information; however, if you don’t get enough delta wave sleep, your mental capacity and efficiency is reduced. FM patients should strive to keep to a regular sleep schedule that includes going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. 

  • Staying away from caffeine. For some people, caffeine may make them feel more awake, focused, and alert. But for those who suffer with FM, caffeine is a contributor to sleep disturbances—even if you drink just a small amount.

  • Establishing a routine. Even if you’re performing simple tasks, developing a routine can help you better address fibrofog. Following a daily process can help you conquer feelings of confusion and fuzziness. For example, when you get home from work, put your keys, purse, or briefcase in the same place every day. You’ll know exactly where to find these items the next time you need them.

  • Using tracking tools. It can be helpful for patients who experience fibrofog to use a planner to remember appointments and events or set a timer to remind them of important tasks. Using technology like a computer calendar or simple tools like sticky notes can help you stay focused and mindful of critical responsibilities.  

  • Being organized. Because a symptom of fibrofog is reduced focus and concentration, maintaining an organized space can help. It’s easy to get confused and “fuzzy” if you’re surrounded by distracting junk and inessential items. When you work in a less messy and chaotic environment, you can more easily control the symptoms of fibrofog. 

  • Concentrating on one task at a time. In a fast-paced society, multi-tasking has become a common behavior. However, for those suffering from FM, it’s harder to focus and concentrate if you’re doing multiple tasks at the same time. If you’re making dinner, don’t try to help with the kids’ homework; if you’re doing laundry, don’t answer the phone. Let your family and friends know that focusing on one task is important when dealing effectively with fibrofog.

We Can Help

If you experience FM and suffer from symptoms of fibrofog, you may find it difficult to work full-time or sustain gainful employment. If your condition makes daily life and work impossible, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability. If you need help applying for benefits, or you’ve applied and were denied benefits, call Cuddigan Law at 402-933-5405 to discuss your eligibility for disability benefits.


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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