Tell me about…Fibro Fog?

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Fibromyalgia produces a number of conditions that are part of living with an invisible illness. 

One of these is cognitive dysfunction or Fibro fog. Due to sufferers feeling confused, experiencing short term loss of memory and mixing up words.

Before I was aware I had fibromyalgia I was often told;

‘Your a scatter brain…’

‘Why do I have to keep repeating this to you…You should be able to remember…’

Usually because I’d had forgotten the time I’m meeting someone or instructions about completing a task.

I used to feel frustrated that others had fantastic memories but I had no ability to retain information.

Now I know why, I’ve been suffering from fibro fog.

It’s true most people at some time in their lives have difficulty recalling things but with fibro fog it can suddenly hit you out of the blue.

At it’s worst I’ve found myself standing in front of someone I know and chatting to them as they look familiar but I cannot remember there name or anything else about them!

That’s really embarrassing!!

Or perhaps even worse than this I’ve forgotten to take tablets I need to help me feel better.

I end up remembering to take them days afterwards and feel annoying with myself for forgetting something so obvious.

What’s causing these symptoms?

Probably the most likely explanation of this is due to poor sleep quality. Added to this fatigue and the daily routine of living with pain all contribute to the severity of Fibro fog.

How can I cope better with these symptoms?

It’s been documented that fibromyalgia restricts the blood flow to the brain. Managing pain levels by practicing some  simple relaxation exercises or meditation and mindfulness can help.

When l was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia I had great difficulty relaxing. Learning some simple relaxation exercises helped me to cope better with the pain, and gradually I’ve found my symptoms have improved. I’ve worked out ways to lower my stress levels and experimented with different techniques for improving the quality of my sleep.

Look at my posts on  meditation , mindfulness , sleep exercise and diet. These all play an important part in contributing to our general health and well-being.

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Other ways to remember important information

Making a list of tasks you must do, perhaps keeping a diary or getting a calendar to make a note of important dates.

The most important of all is to not worry about getting things wrong it’s inevitable that we will forget something important. I think we tend to overcompensate for our short comings. Better to get what we can right and accept what we cannot and move on.

Keeping Active with Fibromyalgia

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Now that Spring is here and we are beginning to have lighter evenings. It’s a good time to consider reviewing your fitness and exercise regime if you have one.

After I was was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2004, I found that exercise helped me a lot as I struggled to find things I could do. When you have Fibromyalgia it is a daunting prospect, keeping fit. Particularly starting out for the first time, with a new exercise.

It’s really important to keep as healthy as possible, as your level of stamina fluctuates so much.

I have made a list of everything that has helped me that you could try.

Walking

I found walking to be the most accessible and best for my circumstances.  Walking can help to boost your energy levels and enjoy nature.

If you suffer from low mood, walking on a regular basis is a good non medical therapy, to help feel more positive.

If you are on a low-income, it’s no problem to try out as there is no sign up charges.

If you are new to walking it is best to start with 5 to 10 minutes at first and gradually increase this as your body gets used to the exercise.

You will need to try out a pattern that suits you.

When you first start you may need to get some comfortable shoes and wrap up well with thermal layers on cold days.

Have a look at my post on walking  for more tips.

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Hydrotherapy

I found gentle exercise in a warm water pool can help. The water supports your body and has less impact on muscles and joints.

Research has shown that lying in warm water helps the body to relax and lowers pain perception.

A therapist that specialises in hydrotherapy or a qualified physiotherapist that has a good understanding of fibromyalgia, can help you to work out some exercises.

Your local sports centre or gym may have these facilities and let you have a couple of trial sessions.

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Pilates

Pilates strengthens the body as a whole, the main aim is to improve core strength. Regular sessions can help to reduce the risk of injury by increasing flexibility.

I  developed my own tailored exercise routine, by trying out different exercises, from visits to a physiotherapy practitioner.

If you go for physio ask the practitioner for advice and help about what exercises are best for you.

I practice these regularly once a day, for about ten minutes in total. Although, I had to work up to doing this amount gradually at first.

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Sitting Exercises

If you have limited mobility, sitting exercises could be a better option than other ways of exercise.

The NHS website has sitting exercises along with flexibility exercises that might be worth trying.

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The NHS live well  website has a lot of really useful tips to get you active.

I hope this short post has given you some new ideas on exercise for Fibromyalgia. My goal is as always to help others with Fibromyalgia and similar invisible illness.

I’m interested in hearing from any fellow sufferers of Fibromyalgia, particularly if you would like to share your experiences on my blog.