What Causes Fibro Fog

What Causes Fibro Fog

Woman at night suffering from insomnia

Fibro fog can manifest itself in different ways in different people but some of the most common symptoms include:

  • short term memory loss
  • misplacing objects
  • becoming easily distracted
  • forgetting plans
  • difficulty carrying on conversations
  • inability to remember new information

According to a 2015 review in Rheumatology International, some patients report that the loss of mental clarity can be even more devastating than pain and or the fatigue associated with fibromyalgia. Although brain fog or mental clarity issues have sometimes been thought of as “all in a patient’s head,” a 2015 study in Arthritis Care and Research found that fibro fog is in fact, real.

Fibromyalgia patients, in general, perform worse in cognitive testing against those with little education or age-related mental impairment. In one example, fibro patients were able to recall fewer words from a list. Other testing was done on vocabulary and verbal fluency, including one that monitored the groups ability to recall words beginning with a specific letter.

Working memory, used for performing complex math in your head, was also tested. In all of these categories, fibromyalgia patients performed more poorly. The conclusion from the test results was that fibro patients do possess cognitive dysfunction.

The cognitive abilities of the fibromyalgia patients studied were equivalent to the cognitive abilities of non-fibro patients 20 years older. In older individuals, the results were the same. When compared to a similar age groups, fibromyalgia patients were, cognitively 20 years older in the performance of most tasks.

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Poor Sleep

Is a common reason for “fibro fog.” Though the cause of fibromyalgia fog is still up for debate, many physicians and researchers agree that poor sleep is one of many causes of fibro fog. Poor sleep depletes certain stress coping brain chemicals, including serotonin, needed for healthy mental clarity.

Though better sleep has many benefits, some studies show there are simply different things happening in the brains of people with fibromyalgia. In one study, brain scans showed that from time to time, people with fibromyalgia do not receive enough oxygen in different parts of their brain. This is most likely due to a disruption in the hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal axis (HPA-axis), the body’s self regulating systems.

Chronic pain has been found to cause mental clarity issues.

MRI studies have found that in people with chronic pain have changes in their brain. A front region of the brain mostly associated with emotion is constantly active. The affected areas fail to shut off when they should, exhausting neurons and disturbing the balance of the brain as a whole.

Common drugs used to treat fibromyalgia symptoms, including Ambien, Lunesta, Elavil, Flexeril, Zanaflex, Ativan, Lyrica, Neurontin, Savella, Cymbalta, Klonopin, Xanax, pain meds, and others can ALL cause fibro fog symptoms, poor memory, word recall, imbalance, and coordination.

Adrenal fatigue, a condition most every fibromyalgia patient has, and described in detail in my book, Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is a major contributor of fibro fog. Low thyroid, commonly missed in fibro patients can also cause problems with poor memory and mental clarity.

You can listen to the entire Five Must Do’s To Improve “Fibro Fog” below:


These patients and hundreds of others who’ve worked personally with me have in fact beaten their fibromyalgia. You can read or listen to their stories by clicking the link below:


Cynthia's Story

Janna's Story


Robin's Story

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