Fibromyalgia and brain ‘zaps’

“There’s someone in my head, but it’s not me”, Pink Floyd

Just as I thought that I had nothing new to write about I have discovered that the weird ‘brain’ sensations I have, which only lasts for moments, are common among those of us with this frustrating condition of fibromyalgia! I have had these peculiar short lived experiences that are followed by dizziness for several years now. The episodes are almost like a small temporary memory loss, almost feeling faint-like. I don’t have the language to describe them. It is as though my skull almost empties for a few seconds. It is somewhat creepy to imagine a skull without a brain.

Many have written that coming off a medication brings about these zaps/pings/shocks/memory loss/dizziness occurrences. But, I have not come off of any medications. Still, I have read that being on Gabapentin can cause them. I do take 300 to 400 mgs per day. Is this what is causing them? The attacks aren’t too frequent but certainly do cause slight dizziness and loss of balance. I have often had electrical shocks throughout my body- this isn’t the same thing. I have written about ‘brain fog’ several times – again, this isn’t exactly the same thing. I have had vertigo- it is different from that as well. I wish I had the language to describe the episodes. It’s as though my brain loses a second or two into the air, is not in my own body!

Others have written that changes in temperature can affect brain zaps. This may be so as changes in the environment affect all of us with fibromyalgia. But, this isn’t the complete answer. The causes seem to be unknown although definitely connected to the nervous system. Like fibromyalgia itself the problem is that we are seeing so many of us with common symptoms and questions about our nervous systems gone awry, but with very few answers available. There is little doubt in my mind that these zaps are part of my anxiety episodes. It is the cause I keep coming back to. My hyper-aroused central nervous system, based on past trauma, that is in a constant state of hyper-vigilance, is in its usual mode of overload. At least this is the only tentative answer I have for now. It fits with the rest of my modus operandi.

Well, along with other weird sensations those of us with fibromyalgia live with, let us at least know for now that this week-end there are many who will dress up to look and behave even more creepy than our nervous systems! Be safe.

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6 comments

  1. Nancy says:

    Dang Barbara, we must be leading parallel lives right now! LOL I’ve been having “head” problems too. In fact, I stopped seeing that therapist. He was depressing me and I’ve been in that spiral before, I don’t want to get sucked down any further. It’s taken me a couple weeks but I am feeling better ON MY OWN!! But when I explained to him about the fuzzy feeling I get in my head, that “empty” feeling as you say. It’s almost a drunk feeling without the drinking. I get it every so often. Anyway, he told me I had “dissociation”. Now, I’ve read and reread the definition of that and I’m not so sure of his “diagnosis”. However, you mentioning a hyper-aroused CNS from past trauma being in constant overload makes sense to me. In a roundabout way though, that could also mean dissociation, right? I don’t seem to have control over these brain episodes, do you? That therapist told me mindful meditation would help but so far it hasn’t. These are bad days for me because my balance is worse than normal. And when I try to walk, instead of going straight ahead, I tend to veer to the right. I have to really think hard to force myself to go straight. Have you ever heard of anything like this? Do you have this too? I’m sorry for all the questions today. I also wanted to let you know my breast skin biopsy came back. They believe it’s pre-cancerous. They’re going to remove the entire spot and a portion around it. They’ll take another biopsy during surgery to make sure it isn’t malignant melanoma. Anyway, I love your pumpkins! Did you carve them yourself? I hope you are doing well with your hip and all!
    ~ Nancy

  2. Barbara Keddy
    Barbara Keddy says:

    Nancy when I read your comments I literally screamed out loud. Yes about the brain zaps but more about the balance issues. I had just come in from a 15 minute walk and once more I found myself veering to the right or sometimes left!! I can’t seem to walk in a straight line either! At first I thought it was because of my hip replacement but now I am not so sure. It is slight weaving back and forth? Now, what is that about, I wonder?
    I still have residual pain in the hip but my lumbar spine is badly degenerated as well. I know everone’s discs begin to degenerate at an early age but with aging they become more pronounced. But mine are very bad and a surgeon will not operate.
    I believe the ortho surgeon is peeved at me because I still have hip pain and he said he would not operate on the other hip because of fibro. I knew too that further surgery would be hellish. So, I have to stop whining and live with it. Contemplating medical marihuana, cannabis oil. Hate to keep increasing Gabapentin so maybe an herb like cannabis would be more healthy ( without THC). We’ll see…
    Thanks soooo much for your comments.
    Barbara

  3. Kortney says:

    I just wanted to chime in and say I am having these exact brain zap type feelings. Mine don’t really consist of memory loss but it’s more of a split second out of it feelings! Sometimes it feels like brief dizziness, other time it feels like pressure, and really I don’t even know how to describe it. The first time I ever felt anything remotely similar was when I stopped taking Lexapro about a year ago. So weird. Sometimes they are really scary, too! Always something new to adjust to and to help fight your anxiety over, huh? I was diagnosed with Fibro about a year ago.

  4. Barbara Keddy
    Barbara Keddy says:

    Hello Kortney:
    Aren’t they aggravating?!They do come and go and luckily I haven’t had one in awhile. You are right there is always something to increase anxiety as we ponder these strange sensations.
    Good to hear from you,
    Regards,
    Barbara

  5. Cynthia Guingrich says:

    I am having so many zaps all over my body.I hate it. Then I have very sharp pain go through my toe. I have even fainted 3 times with this. Why do we get these zapping pings?

  6. Barbara Keddy
    Barbara Keddy says:

    Dear Cynthia:
    These ‘zaps’ can occur anywhere and I have them frequently. It is all we can do not to make a sound aloud as it is so shocking. In fact, they are like electric shocks. Our brains have such an exceptional ability to know things that are often very subtle. Sometimes changes that are often not visible, like small weather changes, makes us particularly vulnerable and the central nervous system goes into hyper-alert. At least this is how I interpret these zaps that can occur anywhere, for example in your toe!The trick is to remind ourselves we are not in danger, then breathe deeply for a few minutes, and focus on the sensation rather than fighting it.
    We have many challenges and we are the only ones who can help ourselves, no one can ‘cure’ us.We are the expert of our own lives.
    Best wishes and know you are not alone,
    Barbara

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