Brain Fog and Chronic Pain
Cognitive Dysfunction is a Common Symptom of Chronic Pain
Unfortunately, pain is a common part of human life. At least once in your life, you will experience pain. Pain varies for each person, depending on a host of different causes. From your medical history and condition to your overall health and well-being, your pain can range from mild to severe and debilitating. Chronic pain can wreak havoc on anyone’s life, regardless of your condition or lifestyle. Not only does chronic pain put you through immense physical pain, but it also has an impact on your brain.
Chronic pain has been known to have a large impact on your mental health, mood, sleep, and memory. A common condition caused by this pain is brain fog. Brain fog, also often referred to as fibro fog, is often described as fuzzy thinking. Patients report that they struggle to have clear thoughts or concentrate on the task at hand and even have issues with their memory. While it isn’t a medical condition, it is a symptom of other conditions of chronic pain. It can be the result of many different diseases and conditions.
Texas Partners Healthcare Group prides itself on being the premier pain management clinic in Frisco, and we strive to provide our patients with the highest level of care possible. We also strive to provide our patients with information to help them understand their condition better. Today, we are going to take a closer look at brain fog and how you can manage it in your own life.
What is Brain Fog?
As we mentioned earlier, brain fog is not a medical condition, but rather a symptom of other medical conditions. Many healthcare experts refer to brain fog as cognitive dysfunction, meaning that those who suffer from it lack mental clarity. They are unable to think clearly and struggle to remember even the smallest of details about their days. Those who suffer from this condition often report feeling forgetful or fuzzy-headed. For those who regularly struggle with chronic pain, brain fog often accompanies it.
Some common symptoms include:
- Poor concentration
- Memory problems
- Inability to focus
- Lack of mental clarity
- Chronic fatigue
- Difficulty retaining information
When you are suffering from brain fog, you’ll notice that you’ll struggle to focus clearly. You may find yourself having to reread a passage of text several times because you are unable to understand and process what you are reading. You might struggle to remember what you had for dinner the night before or where you left your keys. This mental fatigue can interfere in many aspects of life, such as work, school, and even personal relationships.
Chronic pain often leads to brain fog in some form. The more intense the pain, the more affected your mind becomes.
Chronic pain and brain fog are closely tied. After all, brain fog is a common symptom of many chronic pain disorders. Even if your pain isn’t severe, it can still have an impact on your brain and how your mind operates. Earlier, we mentioned that brain fog is referred to as fibro fog. Fibro fog is a type of brain fog that is accompanied with fibromyalgia. However, fibromyalgia is not the only chronic pain condition that is tied to brain fog. Other causes include:
- Back pain
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
- And much more
Research has shown that chronic pain affects your cognitive functions and your brain’s ability to operate at its highest capacity. Chronic pain affects your ability to recall words and information, as well as disrupting your spatial memory.
As we mentioned previously, chronic pain often impacts your mental health, leading to anxiety and depression, which, in turn, will increase your symptoms. A lack of sleep is also a common side effect of chronic pain, and it also has been known to lead to brain fog, as well.
The more severe your pain, the more likely you are to experience brain fog.
Treating Brain Fog
We must remind you that brain fog is not a medical condition itself, but rather a symptom of other chronic pain conditions. Due to this, there isn’t one specific way to treat it. While it is caused by chronic pain, not everyone’s pain is the same. If you suffer from migraines, your treatment will differ from those who suffer from sciatica or multiple sclerosis, thus so will the treatment of brain fog.
However, there are plenty of things you can do to help manage and reduce your symptoms to ensure your daily activities aren’t impacted.
Recognize Your Triggers
If you know that you suffer from brain fog, you must be aware of your triggers. Start keeping track of when your symptoms are at their worst. Is it after a day of heavy physical activity? Or after a stressful day at the office? If you suffer from a specific chronic condition, is it when your symptoms flare up? Make sure you know when your symptoms are at their worst to prepare yourself.
Get More Sleep
As we mentioned briefly, brain fog can be a side effect of a lack of sleep. We understand that living with chronic pain often affects the quality and quantity of your sleep. However, you must be doing everything in your power to improve your sleep. That includes going to bed and waking up at the same time to create a set schedule and not using a mobile device while in bed. By giving yourself the recommended 8-9 hours, you allow your mind to rest and recharge, reducing your symptoms.
Research has shown that a brain in pain is over-activated. It is flooded with an influx of information. Unfortunately, this means that parts of the brain that need rest don’t get it because of this chronic pain, thus leading to brain fog. Pain creates a lot of extra brain noise, which makes it difficult to focus on the task at hand. You can try to clear out some of the noise by meditating. Mindfulness meditation helps boost cognitive performance and calms down your nervous system.
Visit a Pain Management Professional
If you suffer from chronic pain that causes brain fog, one of the best things you can do for your mind and overall health is visiting a pain management professional. Here, they will be able to accurately diagnose the cause of your chronic pain and craft a unique pain management plan to reduce your symptoms. Once your pain begins to subside, so will your symptoms. Remember to mention your cognitive dysfunction to your provider, as well.
If your chronic pain has been causing you to experience brain fog, do not hesitate to contact the Frisco pain management professionals at Texas Partners Healthcare Group.