Fibrofog is one of the most common yet unrecognized symptoms of fibromyalgia. If you have fibromyalgia signs and symptoms, it is important to be aware of fibrofog so that you can seek appropriate treatment and manage your illness more effectively. Symptoms may include:
- short term memory loss
- difficulty remembering where you put thing
- difficulty remembering plans
- difficulty with language, including trouble holding conversations, understanding conversations and expressing thoughts
- difficulty finding the right word to use in conversation
- trouble remembering simple numbers
- transposing letters and numbers
- trouble concentrating and focusing
- trouble retaining new information
What Are Some of the Causes of Fibrofog?
Here are four major ones along with essential oils that can help:
Sleep deprivation or sleep disorders. If you aren’t getting adequate or quality sleep, it can affect the brain’s ability to produce enough of the neurochemical serotonin which aids in laying down memory. For sleep, I recommend lavender, Roman chamomile, neroli, marjoram, jasmine, Peace and Calming (blend of blue tansy, patchouli, tangerine, orange and ylang ylang) or RutaVaLA (blend of rue, valerian and lavender). Place one or two drops on the soles of your feet right before you turn out the light or place one or two drops (no more) of lavender on your pillow. Any of these oils can be used in a warm bath right before bed.
Decreased blood flow. Studies have shown that fibromyalgia can cause a decrease in blood flow to certain areas of the brain responsible for creating short term memories. This lack of blood flow may prevent the brain from adequately creating new memories. I recommend frankincense which is high in monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes which crosses the blood-brain barrier. You can also use rosemary, ginger, black pepper, peppermint, lemongrass or geranium. Cedarwood and sandalwood are also oils high in sesquiterpenes and can aid in increasing blood flow. Try placing the oils on the reflex points around the head including at the base of the brain.
Chronic pain. Chronic pain has been shown to inhibit the brain’s ability to create memories. Processing pain signals takes up a lot of the brain’s time and energy, especially in someone with fibromyalgia. Pain also produces large amounts of stress which can be one of the causes of short term memory loss. Here you want not only oils that have pain relieving qualities but also are relaxing. You can try lavender, marjoram, Idaho balsam fir, petitgrain, Roman and German chamomile, clary sage, lemongrass, helichrysum, peppermint, basil, ginger and black pepper. I like the blend of PanAway (it contains helichrysum, wintergreen, clove, and peppermint) or the blend of Relieve It (spruce, black pepper, peppermint and hyssop). A good massage oil will help to rub these pain relieving oils into the tight and sore muscles. I like Ortho Ease which contains fractionated coconut oil, wheatgerm, grape seed, almond and olive oils plus the essential oils of wintergreen, juniper, marjoram, red thyme, vetiver, peppermint Eucalyptus ericifolia (Rosalina) and lemongrass. Or you could just use jojoba oil and add your essential oils to it. The point is you need to massage the essential oils into the painful muscles and tight places.
Depression. A large percentage of people with fibromyalgia also report that they suffer from anxiety and depression. Depression and memory loss definitely seem to be linked. Depression lowers the levels of serotonin in the brain, preventing new memories from being laid down. Low levels of serotonin are also linked with learning difficulties. What oils are helpful? Uplifting oils and more uplifting oils. You can use frankincense, ylang ylang, neroli, rose, geranium, bergamot, jasmine, or the blends of Joy, Harmony, Valor and White Angelica-all rich and uplifting oil blends.