Brain Fog: Is it Migraine or Head Cold?

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Feeling groggy, disoriented, and just plain slow? Brain fog is a common symptom of migraine disorder and many other forms of chronic pain. Or, you could be feeling the early symptoms of a common head cold, say researchers.

Brain Fog: Is it Migraine or Head Cold? Migravent

What is brain fog?

Brain fog is more than just simple tiredness; it’s normal to be tired if you haven’t slept enough, or if you’ve been running around all day nonstop. Chronic fatigue, however, makes you feel wiped out even when you’ve had a good eight hours of sleep.

Brain drain is one complaint that people with migraines and chronic fatigue have- that feeling of walking around in a daze, not being quick-on-the-uptake, thinking in slow motion.

For many, chronic pain and fatigue go hand-in-hand. One of the most common symptoms of illnesses such as migraine disorder, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, and pernicious anemia is- you guessed it- constant brain fog, or “fibro haze.”

Sometimes, brain fog occurs because of reduced oxygen resulting from low red blood cells. Such is the case when vitamin B12 deficiency occurs with migraine.

(Read How do Migraines Create Vitamin B12 Deficiency?)

Coming down with brain fog?

According to a scientific study on the common cold and mood, overpowering fatigue may be the earliest sign of a head cold.

Days before you start noticing cold symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, or headache, you may already start feeling lethargic, depressed, cranky, or disoriented.

Studies show that a common cold affects your memory, reasoning skills, lucidity, mental focus, mood, and alertness.

So, fatigue symptoms that you’ve come to expect as a side effect of migraine, may actually mean that you need to slow down, take some vitamin C, and drink a cup of tea.

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Like this? Read more:

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How a head cold will affect your brain

Effects of the common cold on mood, psychomotor performance, the encoding of new information, speed of working memory and semantic processing

Image(s) courtesy of Michal Marcol/