2 posts tagged “fibro fog”

Use It or Lose It?

Posted December 27th, 2012 by

You’ve all heard the phrase “use it or lose it” before.  But should it be applied to patients with chronic, debilitating illnesses?  That’s an ongoing debate in the PatientsLikeMe forums.  Take for example this discussion of cognitive difficulties in our Multiple Sclerosis Forum.

The Four Lobes of the Human Brain

On the one hand, there’s the argument that brain exercises such as word games can help you recover or improve cognitive skills.  For people who like the idea of challenging themselves to stay as sharp as possible, the phrase can be a motivating call-to-action.  Others, however, are bothered by the phrase as they feel it implies that cognitive decline is the patient’s fault.  Or that it makes it seem like “using” can stop the “losing,” which could be misleading in many cases.

Overall, this controversy is one that can help can help friends, family and the public at large be more sensitive to those with cognitive challenges due to their health condition.  “Brain fog” is a common symptom of numerous chronic diseases, including multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia.  While there’s a natural instinct to encourage loved ones, it’s important to remember that every patient’s journey is an individual one, and no amount of “using it” can necessarily prevent cognitive symptoms.

What everyone seems to agree on, however, it that brain games and memory exercises certainly can’t hurt.  What do you think?  Join the discussion in our forum or share your thoughts in the comments section.


Fibromyalgia Awareness Day Is This Saturday

Posted May 10th, 2012 by

What Are You Doing for Fibromyalgia Awareness Day?

Sponsored by the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA), Fibromyalgia Awareness Day (Saturday, May 12th) is an annual event dedicated to raising awareness of this complex chronic pain disorder.   Fibromyalgia (FM) affects an estimated 10 million people in the US, 75-90 percent of whom are women—but it can also occur in men and children.

The 2012 theme for Fibromyalgia Awareness Day is “Make Fibromyalgia Visible.”  There are several ways you can help do this:

You can also take a moment to brush up on this often-misunderstood condition, which is characterized by pain or aching in the muscles (myalgia) and multiple points of tenderness (trigger points).  With more than 23,000 patients, the fibromyalgia community at PatientsLikeMe is a great place to gain knowledge.  Some of the most commonly reported symptoms in our community include muscle and joint pain, brain fog, pain in the lower back and balance problems.

Fibromyalgia Awareness - Symptoms Commonly Reported by PatientsLikeMe Members with Fibromyalgia

What are our members doing to cope?  Commonly reported treatments include selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs) such as Duloxetine (Cymbalta) and Venlafaxine (Effexor); analgesic and anti-convulsant medications such as Pregabalin (Lyrica) and Gabapentin (Neurontin); and muscle relaxants such as Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) and Carisoprodol (Soma).  Click on each treatment name to see how patients evaluate the effectiveness, side effects, cost and more.

For more insight into living with the “constant, widespread pain” of fibromyalgia, check out this video made by a recently diagnosed patient. And if you’re a PatientsLikeMe member, don’t miss the forum tag Life with Fibromyalgia.