Ankylosing spondylitis, or AS, is a type of inflammatory arthritis that usually impacts the spine, causing back stiffness and pain, pain in the hips, and decreased range of motion. Brain fog can also be a symptom of AS and other chronic inflammatory conditions. Brain fog can affect memory, concentration, decision-making, learning, and problem-solving. Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic can educate on the causes of ankylosing spondylitis brain fog and how to reduce its effects.
Experts do not fully understand how conditions like AS cause brain fog and how it affects the brain and central nervous system. However, they believe brain fog is linked to chronic inflammation and pain associated with the condition, along with certain factors.
- Inflammation occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells.
- This triggers the release of inflammation-causing cytokines.
- Cytokines can interfere with normal brain function.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Chronic Pain
- Chronic pain can cause fatigue and unhealthy sleep quality.
- Fatigue and poor sleep can worsen chronic pain, leading to intense fatigue and extreme sleep issues, becoming a vicious cycle.
- Doctors typically treat ankylosing spondylitis with corticosteroids.
- Individuals with cardiovascular risk factors have an increased risk of brain fog from the medications.
- Individuals with AS can present symptoms of depression, which has been linked to cognitive impairment.
- Depression can contribute to the development of brain fog.
Other Medical Conditions
- Thyroid Imbalances
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
Other Possible Causes
- Sleep problems
- Little to no physical activity or exercise.
The effects of brain fog.
- Thoughts are blurry and difficult to recall.
- There are major lapses in concentration.
- Thinking is harder.
- There is constant confusion.
- More effort is required to maintain thoughts in short-term memory.
- Constantly forgetting what to do.
Doctors recommend a multidisciplinary approach to manage AS brain fog. This includes:
- An anti-inflammatory nutrition plan.
- Ergonomic adjustments
- Regular physical activity and exercise.
- Mental exercises
- Concurrent treatment with a rheumatologist in combination with chiropractic care.
- Chiropractic care focuses on improving joint mobility and the function of the musculoskeletal system.
- Manual and instrument-assisted adjustments are paired with the following:
- Soft-tissue therapies
- Non-surgical spinal decompression
- Health Coaching
- Fitness Coaching
- Nutritional recommendations
Chiropractic. (2019). nccih.nih.gov/health/chiropractic
Cornelson, Stacey M et al. “Chiropractic Care in the Management of Inactive Ankylosing Spondylitis: A Case Series.” Journal of chiropractic medicine vol. 16,4 (2017): 300-307. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2017.10.002
Creaky Joints. (September 17, 2018) “You can ease inflammatory arthritis brain fog with these 12 tips for a sharper mind.” creakyjoints.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-brain-fog/
Vitturi, Bruno Kusznir et al. “Cognitive Impairment in Patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis.” The Canadian journal of neurological sciences. Le journal canadien des sciences neurologiques vol. 47,2 (2020): 219-225. doi:10.1017/cjn.2020.14
Zhang, Jun-Ming, and Jianxiong An. “Cytokines, inflammation, and pain.” International anesthesiology clinics vol. 45,2 (2007): 27-37. doi:10.1097/AIA.0b013e318034194e
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