Fibromyalgia (FM) is a rheumatic chronic condition that causes sufferers to experience widespread pain throughout the body, tendon and muscle tenderness, fatigue, and problems sleeping. Additionally, those with FM have “trigger points” that are especially painful to the touch or with pressure. The points are found on the neck, hips, back, legs, arms, and shoulders.
A common symptom of FM but one that is less recognized is known as “fibro fog”—a term that refers to many cognitive impairments experienced by those who suffer from FM. Of all FM symptoms, fibro fog can be one of the most stressful and distressing, and it can have a negative effect on the lives of the people who suffer from it.
If you suffer from FM, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, but getting these benefits can sometimes be difficult. To file a claim, you may want the help of an experienced and skilled legal expert.
What Is Fibro Fog?
People who suffer from FM describe fibro fog, also called brain fog, as the feeling of being in a haze or in a state of fuzziness or confusion that can last for many hours or even weeks. Often, FM sufferers experience fibro fog at its most severe during an FM flare up, and the feeling can last until the “flare” is over.
Patients with FM don’t experience every symptom of fibro fog, nor do they experience symptoms in the same way. Along with a loss of mental clarity and problems with memory, here is a brief look at some of the symptoms of fibro fog:
- Difficulty staying alert.
- Difficulty staying focused.
- Problems dealing with a sense of confusion.
- Inability to concentrate.
- Problems with language, holding conversations, expressing thoughts and feelings.
- Difficulty remembering simple numbers.
- Difficulty retaining information.
The symptoms of fibro fog can be mild or extreme, occurring at different times. It’s also believed that stress and overstimulation can make the symptoms of fibro fog worsen.
What Causes Fibro fog?
Researchers have explored many potential causes of fibro fog, including certain types of medication, poor nutrition, reduced flow of oxygen to the brain, depression, and changes to the central nervous system. However, most experts believe that the primary culprit of fibro fog is sleep deprivation.
People who suffer from FM commonly lack enough “restorative” sleep—the type that occurs at the sleep cycle’s deepest level. Experts know that at those deeper sleep levels, called delta wave sleep, the mind assimilates and integrates new information into the brain. If a person doesn’t get enough delta wave sleep, the ability to recall information and function at normal mental efficiency is impaired.
Additionally, brain scan studies indicate that people with FM sometimes experience oxygen deprivation to certain parts of the brain, and other research shows that chronic pain can negatively affect the brain. MRI technology has shown that those parts of the brain that deal with emotions never shut off in people who suffer from chronic pain. Because their brains are constantly at work, they are exhausted.
How a Good Night’s Sleep Can Help
There are steps you can take to reduce the negative impact of fibro fog, and that includes getting a good night’s rest. Because fibro fog is so closely associated with non-restorative sleep, it’s important to do everything possible to be rested at night. Here are some ways to ensure better sleep at night:
- Try to develop and adhere to a routine where you go to bed and get up at the same times each day.
- Create a relaxing atmosphere and environment around bedtime.
- Avoid drinking caffeine before you go to sleep.
- Eat lightly if you’re hungry before bed.
- Listen to some type of white noise before you go to sleep and during your sleep hours.
- Talk to your doctor about using a natural sleep aid.
We Can Help
If you suffer from FM, and you deal with symptoms of fibro fog that make it difficult for you to work or sustain gainful employment, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability. If you need help applying for Social Security Disability benefits, or you’ve applied and were denied benefits, call Cuddigan Law at 402-933-5405. We’ll schedule an appointment to discuss your eligibility for compensation.