Brain fog or diminished mental clarity is a common complaint from patients with fibromyalgia.
The traditional drugs of choice for fibromyalgia include NSAIDS, antidepressants, anticonvulsant medications, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, and pain medications. These drugs may provide short-term relief but their results are often fleeting and their side-effects are detrimental. It’s not unusual for FMS patients to be taking twelve or more prescription drugs, many of which contribute to erratic behavior.
A new study finds that the degree of cognitive impairment for fibromyalgia patients is linked to the level of pain that they experience.
The study was led by Dr. Gustavo Reyes Del Paso of the University of Jaén, and presented at the Sixth World Congress of the World Institute of Pain. His team wanted to examine the connection between fibromyalgia and cognitive impairment, which has not been closely studied.
Fibromyalgia is often associated with depression, and anxiety. But a few studies have found that cognitive function – or how well the brain works – is not related to emotional disorders.
The researchers compared 35 fibromyalgia patients with 29 healthy people. Both groups were tested on a series of tests that measured how they performed on an arithmetic task. At the same time, their mental and cardiovascular states were assessed.
The fibromyalgia patients did worse across the board on the task. However, patients who were taking opiates to treat pain did significantly more calculations than those who weren't on medication.
The study builds on the mounting evidence that chronic pain is a critical factor in cognitive abilities.
Depression, anxiety, and other emotional disorders common in people with fibromyalgia play a secondary role when it comes to the brain.