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Chronic Migraine Taxing Brain Power

Chronic Migraine Taxing Brain Power

Chronic migraine takes a toll on those who are attempting to manage living with it. It drains an individual from a mental, physical, and emotional aspect. The mental drain is not always considered when discussing symptoms we face during a migraine. These symptoms are very real and can include things like brain fog, problems communicating, and fatigue that become frustrating for the individual experiencing them.

Brain fog

Brain fog is a term used to describe the mental confusion or mental fatigue that can be felt by an individual. The term brain fog is not an official medical term; it is a term used by individuals with conditions such as chronic migraine and fibromyalgia to explain periods of time when an individual’s mental capacity is not at normal operating levels. These periods can make it hard for someone to grasp a new concept, recall memories, and even make it hard for them to concentrate. A lot of people choose to not do things like cook or drive during these episodes, just to be extra safe. In complete honesty the first day I sat down to write this article I was having a foggy day and simply had to turn off my laptop and stick to doing household chores that did not require a higher level of thought or concentration. The experience can be similar to the memory lapses a pregnant woman may experience. But brain fog is more extended than having one or two individualized hiccups; it can be hours or days of being a mental haze.

Problems communicating

Another aspect of brain activity that can be affected by chronic migraine is the ability to communicate. Some individuals can find it difficult to speak and to properly form sentences. Personally, when I am not feeling well, I prefer to text message whoever needs to speak with me instead of having a phone call. While I am sensitive to lights, it is still easier than dealing with my sensitivity to noise and my slower than normal response time. I find that in a text message, people do not get as impatient as they do during a call. This has been another thing I like about doctor offices that use a patient portal system because you can send a message there instead of trying to call the office, wait in hold, and find the words to properly express yourself. When you are used to being an individual who enjoys debating and having intellectual conversations, this can be overwhelming frustrating.

Leads back to the terrible two

This mental haze can lead back to the Terrible Two I wrote about previously.

The overpowering mental fatigue can easily feed over into a physical fatigue that leaves the days feeling like they are never ending. For some individuals this level exhaustion can create a major hurdle to overcome in terms of being able to fall asleep and actually have revitalizing rest. This is one of the most vicious cycles those with chronic conditions are faced with because not having enough sleep can definitely increase our pain levels.

In all, sometimes the best thing that we can do for ourselves is to learn when to take a break and to know how much of a break to take. Are you at a place where you simply cannot complete a complicated task but can still perform mundane household chores? Or at you at that place where the best bet is to curl up on the couch and nap? It is very important for us to learn how to listen to our bodies and not continue to push them beyond what they are capable of handling. Our migraines are so much more than a bad headache and we have to remember that all elements of the condition need attention, not just the pain.

Are you affected by brain fog? Do you ever have problems being able to communicate during a migraine?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Ld5townsend
    2 weeks ago

    This was a well-written article, obviously by someone who gets migraines.

    I do get the brain fog, usually. Having to sleep, and really sleep, to get rid of the pain, often upsets my sleep cycle. I have almost been backwards at times.

    Learning to rest, rather than keep trying to work my to-do list, is a constant battle. That said, I can cook, because I follow a recipe, sometimes marking off what I have already done. Since it is step by step, that helps, although I often don’t have the energy to stand in the kitchen that long.

  • Peggy Artman moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Donna Marie,
    I live with brain fog too. It is hard to cope with and it can be frustrating. Here is a link to some information we have on brain fog. I hope you find something that can help with this annoying symptom.

    https://migraine.com/infographic/tips-for-managing-brain-fog/

    ~ Peggy

  • Donna Marie
    3 weeks ago

    Most of the time I live in the fog. It makes me feel stupid and it’s confusing to others. It totally fun’s my life.

  • Steam
    4 weeks ago

    I honestly feel the mental fog is one of my worst symptoms. How do you explain to family, coworkers or friends that while you’re not currently in pain to the point you have to be in bed, your brain just won’t work like its supposed to?
    I have to go to work if I’m physically able but then I know my quality of work is not the same and I am slow at everything because my brain must won’t catch up to what I’m trying to do!
    I also agree this leads to a physical exhaustion that may be the result of struggling so hard to just think and communicate.

  • Laura
    4 weeks ago

    I feel like I can’t break out of it. I have taken a leave from work. I rarely venture out and mostly do household chores when I can. It is AWFUL.

  • ChronicallyEverything
    4 weeks ago

    Not only do I suffer from these during migraines, but I suffer from them all the time due to other health conditions. Migraines just make it worse.

    The biggest issue I’ve found with these problems is that, according to my drs, there are either no treatments for them or the treatments aren’t something they’re comfortable prescribing i.e. ADHD meds at low doses. My QOL is so bad at this point I dont even try anymore.

  • Ponder62
    1 month ago

    I have both 0f these issues with the brain fog being exacerbated by my fibromyalgia. I find that even recipes that I have made for years are next to impossible. Many times I can’t follow the news, a conversation or even written instructions. I cannot even play the games my 7 and 9 year old grandchildren play. Even Monopoly!! I find myself alone with my thoughts because I know I will trip over my words. At family functions – the ones I am able to attend – I get spoken right over because I cannot be understood or I take too long trying to get my words out. I often come to a dead stop in the middle of a sentence because I lose my train of thought. I am the one the family asks to order pizza but even that can be difficult. I am now trying to do it online. I have changed from the outgoing person I was to the babbling idiot I feel like now. I have become somewhat of a hermit. I can’t even drive anymore because the doctor took my license due to my confusion etc., etc,, etc,,

  • Migraineteach
    2 months ago

    I have both of the problems of brain fog and being able to communicate. I have a chronic migraine and when it goes above a 10 I have to have help communicating. I have to work and I am a face to face instructor. This makes it very frustrating for me. My students are very supportive and will help me by inserting the correct words for me when I am talking if I am not making sense. I talk to them at the beginning of the course about my disability.
    I didn’t realize that the migraine itself was what was causing me to be so fatigued that I can’t function like I used to. I miss the “old normal”.

  • Holly Baddour moderator
    2 months ago

    @migraineteach -How smart of you to proactively discuss the disease and its implications with your students. Doing so is actually also a great awareness-raising service to help people understand that migraine is far more than just a headache.

    It sounds like you are dealing with Aphasia in addition to the common depletion that occurs between attacks. Indeed, very frustrating. Migraine truly has comprehensive implications.

    https://migraine.com/blog/recognizing-my-own-aphasia/

    https://migraine.com/living-migraine/chronic-bodys-slow-leak/

    You are not alone in experiencing this, or in having to establish and make peace with finding a “new normal.” We often must redefine ourselves when migraine enters the picture.

    So glad you are a part of our community. Thinking of you. Please stay in touch.

  • AmyinPA
    2 months ago

    I have had migraines for 46 years. Approximately 20 years ago my headaches became chronic averaging 20 days a month. I also have significant neck pain. I never thought about the daily fog coming from my headaches. It’s definitely affecting my relationship with my daughter who gets frustrated when I don’t remember things. She doesn’t understand I’m just trying to get through each day.

  • Jackie
    2 months ago

    Brain fog is a very real thing for me. My husband will tell me things and it was difficult to make sense.

  • yperry62
    2 months ago

    Yes especially just after it hits usually while I’m at work! I take a Naratriptan and hope it works quickly or I have to go home

  • Mrs.H
    2 months ago

    I also experience brain fog. I feel almost “retarded” and have trouble performing complex tasks- especially at work. This has proven to be detrimental to my career and my ability to support myself. I’ve noticed that as time passes, I seem to lose more & more brain cells, which is distressing.

  • GGourgues
    7 months ago

    This is a very helpful article in explaining the brain fog. It’s much more than I thought. The connection to sleep and rest is new to me and helps explain one of the reasons why I never feel rested and have a good night sleep. How do actually get out of this cycle? What can doctors do to help, if possible? Thanks!

  • Tom Picerno moderator
    4 months ago

    @GGourgues thanks for your questions! In my experience one way that I’ve found effective at getting quality rest/sleep is to try really hard to stick to a sleep routine. Stay on a schedule you set up that fits your life. I start ‘shutting’ down at 9pm with chamomile tea and light snack then I will take a warm shower to further help me relax. I make sure the bedroom is cool and dark too. I use essential oils like a lavender blend also. My doctor has prescribed me tizanidine to relax me so I can get to sleep more easily, but I don’t take it unless I’m dealing with insomnia. I will also use melatonin about an hour before I lie down. I hope this helps! Tom ( migraine.com team)

  • sherose
    8 months ago

    I have loss of memory. Dizziness, fatigue most days. Even if I don’t have a migraine

  • Dawn
    1 year ago

    I can’t do anything during a an attack but reach for a nasal spray out of my bag or of the side hold one nostril and press the plunger into be other then I have to collapse were I am put on my eye mask and the ride starts I first feel my hands and tonge go and my left side is paralysed from face to toe and can’t talk if I do it comes out wrong like being drunk so I stay as still as I can and wait through the horrible sick feeling through your head thumps and feeling that you have left your body than when I do come back to my body can not function for days and my mind fog kicks in and I fear the next ride that’s how I roll

  • nevaeh49
    4 months ago

    Dawn, Just a thought, it sounds like you have hemiplegic migraine which mimics a stroke. Talk to your nuerologist. I believe treatment is different from chronic migraine.

  • Dawn
    1 year ago

    I cannot lift the mask coz the I either can’t see no vision but bits of furniture and it knocks me sick virtigo fall or I either see zigzag lines flashing in my eyes scares me so much I keep it on till I regain my sight.

  • InbarYa
    1 year ago

    It is such a relief to read other people experience that legitimizes mine.
    I am suffering from a chronic migraine for the last 6 years and a student for 4 of those.
    the guilt of Not-studying hunting me during the pain periods, and a hundred time more during the days after. sometimes my brain is foggy just until the next pain episode and so on… I am struggling with my conscience and reading all this making me feel less of a lazy woman… so Thanks.

  • brandtizzle
    1 year ago

    What I hate most is that my family (mom and brother) doesn’t understand any of this. I never feel like I measure up. I just can’t do all the things my adult brother can and my mom and my brother see me as the drama queen who just can’t deal with life. I didn’t learn all these things about migraine for many years, so I was never able to explain to them. Now, it’s a sore topic and I don’t really have an opportunity to explain. My mom thinks if I got rid of my horses, dogs, and husband and moved back to the city, I would be cured. It took me decades to learn that there is no cure, and it’s not my fault for getting a migraine.

  • nevaeh49
    4 months ago

    As a migraine sufferer, we need to be kind to ourselves and understand that we have a brain disorder. Unless you deal with this horrible disease, it is almost impossible to explain the pain we have during an attack. Know that you are not alone. There are so many blogs and other tools on the web that may help you feel better about yourself. I think you may like migrainediva.com. Check it out. I hope you find some peace.

  • musical-whovian
    1 year ago

    I’m a pretty articulate person but having chronic migraine means there are sometimes when I try to say simple words and just can’t get them to come out right. When that happens I usually pause, say “words are hard” (to make light of the situation) and take a deep breath before trying the word again, slowly. That usually helps. By the time the other person is done chuckling at the “words are hard” line, they don’t really notice that I had to sound out a simple word like a child. Anyways, that’s what works for me, maybe it could help others.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    1 year ago

    I’m sorry you have to struggle with words as well but it is great that you found a way to make light of the situation to cope in that moment. I know how embarrassing it can be at times. Definitely keep your head up and keep your strength.
    Amanda Workman

  • shell
    1 year ago

    The brain fog is aweful. I have a new job and make mistakes cause when I take my medicine I can’t think, can’t remember things and make mistakes. Can’t recall impiortant information. This happens so much, I was honest with
    my employer and told her I had to go to a diffetent department where mistakes are nit as detrimental.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    1 year ago

    I’m so sorry that the migraines are affecting your job learning abilities. But those symptoms definitely sound familiar to me and probably rings a bell with many others as well. I really do hope your employer was understanding and was able to put you in a different position. Sending you lots of strength and love
    Amanda Workman

  • jeaninew
    1 year ago

    I had only had a vague insurance with the brain fog phenomenon after taking my imitrex up until my last migraine earlier this week. I woke up with the migraine. I took my imitrex and went back to sleep. I woke up an hour later feeling better so I went to work. As the day continues I could feel the migraine lurking . It became difficult to think, complete sentences. Difficulty with word recall. The migraine worsened so I took another dose of imitrex when I got home. Went to bed early got up to work the next morning. The fuzzy brain feeling continue for 2 days. It maddening. It had never been this bad before or lasted for so long.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    1 year ago

    It is definitely frustrating for those of us dealing with it. It is also something that somebody who does not get migraines, has no clue about. Many people assume once your migraine is gone, you are all better and good to go. But like your experience, the fuzzy brain feeling lasted for two days after your migraine. That can definitely drain your body, physically and mentally. I am so sorry you had that experience. Sending you lots of love and strength.
    Amanda Workman

  • Ellifane
    2 years ago

    When I was younger, I thought I was having TIA’s or something because I’d forget words or even names of people I knew. There’s also the problem of being clumsy. Thankfully, MRI’s ruled that out and I was diagnosed with migraines. As my migraines have increased, so has that issue. 🙁 I don’t think the Trokendi helps either.

  • trigeminalgal
    1 year ago

    Ellifane, as Amanda said Trokendi is a form of Topamax, which can be a great tool for dealing with migraines. It does have side effects many of which fade with time. I have been on it for ten years now and the bothersome side effects have long since gone away. One that you should be aware of is it can make you for lack of a better word dumb. In some people this may show up as slightly worse brain fog, in others they act like drunk teenagers. (I have a friend who it affected in this manner, my neurologist said that’s why it’s called dopamax) My understanding is while not permanent this effect can last as long as you are on the medication. So if you have noticed a change talk to your doctor.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    Unfortunately I don’t think I’ve heard of a medicine that would reverse the word loss side effect that comes on with a migraine. The Trokendi XR is a new form of an older medicine called Topamax, many of us tried years back. Topamax had a handful of side effects. I’m actually on the Trokendi XR right now just as a last chance / hope kind of go at it. But while I’m not having side effects I’m also not having benefits from it. But everyone is different. I just wouldn’t expect it to fix the word forgetfulness or clumsiness that come with the migraine attack unfortunately.
    Amanda Workman

  • litoria76
    2 years ago

    I had times when I was working customer service when I couldn’t form coherent sentences, forget words, or get words transposed. Usually I’d have to quit work early because the pain would get unbearable.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    That definitely sounds accurate for a lot of people. It’s a frustrating aspect. For me, it can even hang around after a really bad migraine has gone. There’s nothing more frustrating than knowing what you want to say but being unable to get it out !!! Stay strong
    Amanda Workman

  • wappaw
    2 years ago

    Before I retired, some days I would have to wait for the brain fog and pain to lessen before I could drive home.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    I’ve also been there myself. The risks are so high sometimes to drive when your suffering. Plus you run the risk of cops pulling you over thinking you are drunk or something along those lines. The risk is definitely not worth it. You definitely did the right thing when you were working
    Amanda Workman

  • ParadigmFlux
    2 years ago

    I am both thrilled and saddened to see so many similar stories. It is somehow empowering to know that the symptoms I have are not isolated. That I am not alone and adrift in this sea of pain, pills, and irritation.
    I just joined this site after having suffered migraines since early childhood, and honestly have never felt so relieved. While I know that migraines are not rare, I know few people in my day to day life that have them frequently and this caused me to restrict discussions about them.
    I’m probably going to make a “introduction” post rather than plaster parts of my story on several comment threads, but could not stop myself from saying how empowered I feel knowing that there are people who simply “understand”.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    That is definitely why we do part of what we do; it’s important for people who are dealing with chronic migraine to know that they are not alone. In my experience with doctors, not one ever told me that there were online support groups or that this was pretty common. We Are always here for you so you are not alone. Sending you lots of love, strength and positivity.
    Amanda Workman

  • Savta45
    2 years ago

    Wow. Talk about hitting it straight on! The article content, & people’s responses to it! It’s hard to know where to begin!
    I guess I’ll start by saying to hdakes, that i understand & am 64, had to retire early due to the migraines, have the tinnitus also, & also can barely do anything, plan anything because of the headaches. It’s beyond frustrating, it’s also tremendously depressing. Sometimes, it really gets to me, even though I try very hard to look on the bright side, (it could be worse, etc) & pray a lot, etc. I’m lucky, in that I have a very understanding husband, & a dog I love. Have you thought of seeing a psychologist or would your regular md help you? It’s no shame to be depressed about what we are going through. None at ALL! Sometimes, we just want to cry or yell in anger, & frustration & pain, & say STOP IT! I want to be NORMAL! I want to be ME! This isn’t FAIR! And, you know what? It’s NOT! And that stinks! And it’s hard to accept. I know it is for me, when I think of who I used to be, what I used to be able to do! I miss that me! I’m only 64! My mother is 96, & she is more active than I am!! What the HECK?!? Not that I want anything bad for my precious Mom, but, I think you get my drift.
    So, it’s a day to day thing. And, hoping & praying for the best. Trying not to think about it unless I don’t have a choice. What else can I do?
    Anyway, enough for this post. You are certainly NOT alone, hdakes. But, I think you’ve come to the right place for support. And, keep looking for help. Lots & lots of people can improve their condition, with the right medication &/or treatment. I sincerely hope that you are one of them.

  • sherose
    2 years ago

    I can’t remember words and find it very hard to hold a conversation

  • hdakes
    2 years ago

    this is very real to me.. my entire head feels sluggish. this has been going on for weeks. in addition to this i have tinninitis a loud hissing in my ears that never stops.i see an ear nose and throat specalist today. my brain scan came back normal. i am 66 amd my headaches have stopped me from doing anything except dr appts and buying groceries. most days i do not get dressed or get up i am so tired. if any one can relate please reply thanks

  • Recremac
    2 years ago

    I can completely relate. I am 44, and I’ve had migraines since I was thirteen. In the past few years, they have become more chronic, and the past two months have been the most challenging of my life. I’ve tried all manner of medications, relaxation techniques (I have TMJD, also–I REALLY think they are related), but I had not tried dietary changes until recently–I started an elimination diet. The first week was brutal, but I recognized that the character of my headaches changed (which many attribute to withdrawal from ingredients like gluten), and then, RELIEF. AMAZING relief–I felt like a version of myself I had not seen in years! It didn’t last long–foods aren’t my only triggers and this week has been exceedingly stressful–but I am hopeful that this approach will help bring them under control.

    I know exactly how you feel, and I hope you can find/have found some relief (I see the date of your post–I just joined today).

  • brandtizzle
    1 year ago

    Recremac, I have tmj also and I agree with you: it is a factor. It doesn’t bother me much now, and here’s what I did. I went to the dentist and got a hard (not soft) mouth guard. I don’t use it anymore, but it helped a lot. I also learned not to chew gum or eat chewy stuff like beef jerky. And I don’t open my mouth very wide. All of that irritates it. I tired acupunture, and while it didn’t help my migraines, it helped my tmj. I told them I had tmj and they have a treatment specifically for that. Finally, I understood and got treatment for anxiety. That relaxed my jaw. If I’m getting a migraine, I’ll sometimes feel it there first. I even had the chiropractor adjust my jaw, but the effects were not long lasting. Good luck!

  • rachel20
    2 years ago

    First of all, thank you for writing the article and making me think about what happens during my migraines. I guess i didnt realize that thebrain fog happens so early in the migraine onset. I am fighting it know to a mild extent but when it gets fully going headache i cant drive, think clearlyor make sense in my speach. Ive had to go and lay down at work for a bit and come back and finish paper work on my work days. I will have to watch for the milder brain fog.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    The brain fog can definitely be sneaky some days and at other times it can be very in your face. You just have to be careful when you are affected by it. Especially when it comes to things like driving. Stay strong
    Amanda Workman

  • SandraLee
    2 years ago

    Everyone once in a while I have a normal day in which I’m not getting a migraine, having the migraine or recovering from one. Since I get migraines 2 – 3 x/week I live for these occasional days which are so blessed and sweet. Also, my evening hours are somewhat normal and I thank God for that time of day. Still, at 69 I’m amazed at my ability to recover at all. Please deliver to us that CGRP antagonist med soon.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    I’m definitely there with you hoping that we see a huge improvement in the medical treatment of chronic migraine with the new CGRP medications. It is definitely a reason to keep hope alive that things will get better / improve. Stay positive and hopefully you will continue to have more good days than bad days ❤️
    Amanda Workman

  • staubscr
    2 years ago

    Good article, Amanda. I became disabled by chronic migraine after 22 years of practicing family medicine and the brain fog issue was a major contributior. Many headache specialists aren’t even familiar with this being a prominent feature of migraine. (If you don’t look for something you don’t find it.) Some imaging studies indicate the problem is “frontal connectivity”, which means the impaired function of the “white matter” which carries communication to and from the areas of the frontal lobe involved in decision making, expressive speech, and motor function. This results in the slowed thinking, confusion, difficulty mentally forming speech, clumsiness, and balance problems.

    I recently had Neuropsychological testing which confirmed my symptoms of “not being able to think”. It showed impaired working memory and slow processing speed dramatically out of sync with my general intelligence level.

    Anyone who is having difficulty with brain fog and is not being believed by physicians, employers, or disability insurance companies needs to demand Neuropsychological testing (NPT). Actually, even if you’re not having problems with those people you should have NPT done to know what’s going on and what treatment is possibly indicated. There is usually an extensive intake history by the neuropsychologist one day, followed by 2 days of testing. It costs around $4,000. Make sure you have a migraine when tested even if you have to trigger one, and give the test your full effort so it is considered valid. Don’t worry if you think your brain fog isn’t being detected…it will be.
    Peace everyone.

  • Lee614
    1 year ago

    Thank you so much for this information. I’ve been wondering how to get tested for my thinking issues. I also appreciate your disclosure about headache specialists not always understanding about the brain fog. I will not take the preventative meds because it makes that part worse. It was also making me cry uncontrollably. And I don’t want to experiment on myself to try different drugs anymore. I retired early and qualified for disability for migraine and other health issues. The best treatment for me know is to keep my daily life calm eat well and exercise properly.

  • Holly H.
    2 years ago

    This is a pretty much a normal state-of-being for me as well.
    For instance, I was at a building association meeting last month. As it went on and on, I knew that I should not have tried to attend. Then two words out of my mouth, aphasia hit. My mouth was moving but nothing was coming out. At first everyone laughed, then they realized that this was a real thing. I just had motion to my mouth, shrug, and walk out of the meeting. Although the people know that I have a severe migraine disorder, talk about making a group of people uncomfortable! (OK, just a bit of a pun there.)

    After all these years, there are two ways that I describe the chronic migraineur’s brain fog and brain fog with vertigo-like sensory processing issues to folks that seem to be more universally understood:
    “I couldn’t think my way out of a paper bag today.”
    “I am very swimmy-headed today.”

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    I absolutely hate when stuff like that happens especially in the presence of people who are clueless about everything that can be linked to the migraine condition as a whole. I’m very sorry you had to experience that, at work nonetheless. I’m glad you have a bit of humor looking back on it now though. Keeping pushing forward!
    Amanda Workman

  • Elizabeth Key
    2 years ago

    This is so me!!! People, especially bosses just do not understand that I CANNOT think some days.

  • Lee614
    1 year ago

    My former boss could not understand why I couldn’t “just take a pill” to get over it.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    I definitely understand that completely. Employers are definitely harder on us than some of the others in our lives. But it is definitely not your fault that you are foggy some days. Stay strong. Sending you lots of love
    Amanda Workman

  • Newdancerco
    2 years ago

    THIS! This, this, this!
    I live this so much, especially this last year. I started crying to the nurse at my migraine specialists office yesterday when she called about getting more lab tests (kidney function this time) due to the new meds they put me on, because I can’t think to work even when I’m not in agony anymore, I can’t afford the lab tests, and they won’t treat the chronic pain like they would any chronic pain from an injury they could see only like episodic migraine (9 doses of this pill at 8 hrs/dose, 12 doses of that pill at 4 hours/dose, and the rest is just imaginary or something) and… yeah, I lost it.
    I can’t figure out how to cope if I can’t think, and when I can’t remember to turn off the stove (yeah, last week I left it on all night), I clearly can’t think.
    They need to care about more than pain.

  • Lee614
    1 year ago

    I’m so sorry that you are going through that! I have done similar things. I’ve left the oven on and I was sure that I turned it off. All the tests are so exasperating!

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    You’re not alone there. My husband had to replace our stove because I turned on the wrong burner and since it had stuff on that burner it caught fire It was bad.
    Unfortunately with or without lab work, they won’t give more than 9-12 doses of migraine abortive medications. I know here you cannot even get a doctor to do toradol or something like that for extremely bad ones.

    Don’t give up though. They are still working on new medications. So there is hope that we will have better treatments soon. Sending you lots of love and strength
    Amanda Workman

  • Proud2BHis
    2 years ago

    Thank you so much for writing this. I have never heard that this is connected with migraines and now it makes so much sense! I definitely have this and thought something was wrong with me when I couldn’t remember words or lost my train of thought. I just came off of a 5 day straight migraine, 1 day off and I woke up with it back today. I feel like I’m in a daze. The lights are killing me, the sound is amplified as usual, nausea and all I can do is lay on the couch. I have no energy. It completely drains me. Thanks for giving me some useful information!

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    I’m so glad the article helped you connect some dots. I hate that doctors never help patients understand all possible effects that may go with migraine! But yes this is definitely one that does and you are not the only one stuck dealing with it by far. I know that doesn’t make it easier to deal with but you’re definitely not alone! Sending you lots of love and strength
    Amanda Workman

  • Karen
    2 years ago

    When I had brain fog I just assumed it was a “silent” migraine. Now I know better! I have my own CPA firm so my clients expect at least 100% of me everyday. I have had to cancel appointments or attempt to “fake” my way through them when this hits. And there are days when I pick up a task and have to put it down because I know I would spend hours spinning my wheels while making little or no progress. And that just causes more frustration.

    I’ve been dealing with this for over 6 years now, and had to continue working if I want to eat. So many times I have had to force myself to work, even if I’m a little foggy. I may have mentioned this before in another post, but I give myself a little test periodically throughout the day, especially if a task is seeming to take longer than I expect. There is a Sodoku site that has a timer. If I can finish the game in under 5 minutes, I’m doing okay, 5-10 is iffy and I have to make myself double-and triple check things, but if it takes longer than 10 minutes I pack it in for the day.

    I really need one of those shirts mentioned in a previous post – “My brain is giving me the silent treatment today”. Maybe one for each day of the week? LOL

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    I would love that shirt!! Lol

    I guess having your own company helps in some ways but can even be more difficult in other departments.
    Your test is actually a good way to judge how well your brain is or isn’t working. I know I have had days where I could not figure out something so I flagged it and moved on, than returned to it the next day and it was like oh wow why was I struggling with this?!? So I’ve learned sometimes I just need to move on and try another day when my brain is working better.
    Sending you lots of strength
    Amanda Workman

  • Macbeck
    2 years ago

    Yes and yes. Once in the ER the doc refused to give me enough time to get full sentences out (she had already made it clear to me she got “stuck” with me!) and assumed I was there for the narcotics. If she had let me get a full sentence out she would have known otherwise, and thus missed the one med that tied the other two together.

    I also commonly have brain fog & poor communication, which my friends/neighbors are thankfully patient with, as are my children. Incredibly frustrating to know what I want to say but being unable to say it, even in my brain. Other days my brain and tongue don’t communicate. Those are the days I wear my shirt that says “My brain is giving me the silent treatment today.”

  • rlc25e
    2 years ago

    My children jokingly call me Jarvis because in iron man three there is a part where he is recharging and he says he is doing good until he gets to the end of a sentence and uses the wrong cranberry. Sometimes those words just slip away. Laughing about it is easier than crying. My kids help me remember that often.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    Finding a way to laugh about it instead of cry definitely helps with these kinds of things, especially with kids. I guess I missed the third one, that sounds like a cute scene though!
    Sending you lots of love
    Amanda Workman

  • aks868
    2 years ago

    I have had a really rotten few months and have not been able to work as efficiently (or at all) as I would like to. Hearing that others suffer from brain fog makes me feel less “inept.” I think that sometimes when I get into this kind of “migraine cycle from hell” getting out of it and re-acclimating myself to living fully is a challenge, because there is always the fear of when the next one will strike–and the resulting mind-numbing process of trying to ration the amount of medication to take in order to be a part of the things that mean a lot to me–such as going to meet with my daughter’s teachers or being around for family dinners, or just getting one piece of work done for myself! Thank you for your article!

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    You are most definitely not inept! Unfortunately so many of us suffer from brain fog and other forms of confusion. I really do wish doctors would address this more with people so they didn’t feel so stressed out by it.
    Managing medications is definitely a challenge in its own because we can only have so many a month for several reasons. I’m sorry you’re dealing with all of this but know you’re not alone.
    Amanda Workman

  • PDUB
    2 years ago

    This was another helpful article! I love it when something I’ve thought to myself comes out in print! Not one of the many physicians I’ve seen has ever mentioned brain fog being related to migraines or anything like that. One sent me to a psychiatrist when I mentioned my problems with completion of tasks and being in a fog. Unfortunately, my work is such that I have to work through as best I can-even when it takes me 5 minutes to write a complete sentence. It helps to know that it may be part of my migraine, as I have an average of 4 days of migraine out of 7. I’m still searching for the right doctor but it’s helped so much to have access to articles such as this one.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    Your comment is the very reason I wanted to write articles and do advacy work around chronic migraine. There are so many doctors who do not take the whole patient into perspective and there are so many individuals who do not know what may be common symptoms of a migraine. I can very honestly say there have been days where I could not figure out something and I flag it, return to it the next day and it was like starring me in the face the whole time. So you are definitely not alone. I hope you definitely don’t feel that way any longer. Please know we are always here for you. Sending you lots of love and strength.
    Amanda Workman

  • Polly Moyer
    2 years ago

    Very good piece, thank you. When I was diagnosed with Mal de Debarquement Syndrome, which is a lot like vestibular migraine, I had terrible cog-fog. The consultant’s assistant (who was helping me recover from his ‘bedside manner’ – *sigh*) explained it as being like ‘baby brain’ which helped a lot. Later a patient told me about common cognitive/vestibular interactions and it was a light-bulb moment for me.

    My primary care doctor now recommends that all family members of people with balance conditions of any kind research these interactions so they understand why we can’t find words etc. She also understands about the sensory overload I experience when having to talk on the phone, be in busy places or in places where the lighting sucks my brain out and puts it back in a wonky shape. It’s so great to have a doctor who understands why half the time I don’t, if you see what I mean 🙂

  • choklityum
    1 year ago

    I love the term “cog-fog”! I’m going to start using that. That and physical exhaustion are my main issues. Although some people would love it if I couldn’t put a sentence together.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    Having an understanding doctor is a huge step in the process! Unfortunately not all doctors understand all aspects of our symptoms. It’s a very good thing that you found one. When doctors have a bad bedside manner it can sometimes hinder the treatment process if you are not getting all the information you need from them. I’m glad it seems like you have been able to find some reliable information and a good primary physician.
    Amanda Workman

  • RobinfromCA
    2 years ago

    It’s so nice to find other people who have these symptoms and to know I’m not crazy. The fog and fatigue are two things non-migraine sufferers don’t understand once the pain is gone. I’ve always called it headache hangover.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    I also refer to the period after a migraine as a migraine hangover! The fog and fatigue can definitely be extremely hard for people to understand because words seem to escape you, even though they are almost on the tip of your tongue! You’re definitely not alone in this at all. Sending you much love.
    Amanda Workman (moderator & author)

  • choklityum
    1 year ago

    That’s what I call it too. There just isn’t a good way to explain it to others. “Hangover” is a term most people understand and so how I feel after a migraine kinda clicks for them.

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