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What to Know About Migraines and Brain Fog

Have you ever turned to a family member or co-worker to remark, “you are in a real brain fog today.” It means they are not concentrating on what they are doing, they’re losing focus, or not paying attention to what needs to be done. Now, what if that person is you? You may not realize what is happening, but others are. Let’s dive into what you should know about migraines and brain fog.

Man sitting at table suffering from brain fog.

Before, During, and After

Brain fog is a full-service symptom. It can occur before, during, and after a migraine attack. Brain fog can be accompanied by memory loss too, making you feel like you are really losing it. Why did I come into this room? What was I getting? Why can’t I find the right word? All these symptoms occur with migraines, and they can cause embarrassment at work and depression at home.

These cognitive issues can occur between migraine attacks at any time. 

Forgetting how to get to your friend’s house, losing track of what you are doing, or what you are saying are scary and affect everyone around the person with a migraine.

It affects decision-making, reasoning, problem-solving, memory, and verbal skills.

Four Phases of a Migraine Attack

The four phases include the following:

  • Prodrome
  • Aura
  • Headache
  • Postdrome (sometimes known as migraine hangover)

Brain fog can happen 48 hours before you begin a migraine headache and last 24 hours afterward. This is, for many, the first sign that a migraine is coming.

Many neurologists suggest that you tell those around you what is happening, as this can alert them to an upcoming migraine maybe even before you do, and it may give you the opportunity to treat it early.

Some practical things you can do when you realize a headache is coming on is try to reduce the stress you are experiencing at that moment—sip water, have a snack, take deep breaths and take your medication. Taking notes, asking for help, and focusing on one task at a time can help you during this early period.

Temporary Impairment

Brain fog and memory issues are only temporary and do not accumulate or cause mental decline. You are not likely to develop dementia later in life.

Researchers have concluded that brain fog is real, but it is not part of the pain itself. It is believed to be a separate symptom.

Contact Puget Sound Neurology at (253) 284-4488 if you need brain fog remedies or believe you are developing migraine headaches.

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