Engage PT, OT, SLP Therapy and Wellness
What is Brain Fog?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord. It is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack the central nervous system, resulting in inflammation and lesions in the brain. Brain fog is typically not a result of a single lesion but rather multiple lesions that occur in the brain.
Brain fog is a general term that includes things such as forgetfulness, slower processing, trouble concentrating, or confusion. You may get easily distracted, lose your train of thought mid-sentence, or forget a friend’s name. Generalized body fatigue, which is common in MS, may also contribute to a lack of interest, decreased energy, and forgetfulness.
Over half of people living with MS may experience brain fog. For most people, the changes are mild or moderate so that they don’t prevent you from caring for yourself, but do cause increased frustration. Currently, the best treatment options available to help combat brain fog include modifications to diet, increasing exercise, and challenging the brain with thinking activities.
Adding healthy fats rich in omega-3s have been found to promote brain health. This includes food such as avocado, coconut oil, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, chia seeds or flax seeds, and fish such as salmon and cod.
Research has found multiple benefits of exercise for people with MS. This specifically includes aerobic exercise, or exercise where you increase your heart rate. People with MS who exercise regularly have been shown to have fewer lesions in the brain. Exercise helps to improve your mood, which helps you improve your ability to process information. It has also been shown to improve your speed of cognitive processing, or help you get to an answer quicker.
Completing activities that challenge your thinking such as crossword puzzles, word searches, number games, or puzzles, can help improve your brain’s processing speed. Try to choose something new or different to give your brain an extra challenge.
There are strategies to help set yourself up for success to help combat the symptoms of brain fog when they arise. Finding a good organization system can be helpful to deal with changes in short term memory. This includes using things such as a calendar or daily schedule, as well as lists and post it notes, to remind yourself of important activities that need to happen at certain times. It can be helpful to complete activities at the time of day when you feel like you have the most energy, as well as to complete activities in a quiet space free of distractions. These strategies, as well as long term strategies such as modifications to diet, exercise, and completing cognitively challenging activities, can help you combat the effects of brain fog.
There are many strategies out there to help with brain fog. Working with a physical, occupational, or speech therapist can help you to identify which strategies will work best for you in the long run so that you can complete the activities you need to throughout the day.
Do you have questions about how Engage can help you combat brain fog? Contact us at 315-810-2423 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your unique situation and see how we can help you live your best life!