How does Fibromyalgia affect Speech?

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Slurred speech can be a fibromyalgia symptom. FM patients often report a number of cognitive functioning problems including memory loss, difficulty concentrating, slurred speech, transposing letters and numbers, inability to think of the word you’re looking for, thinking one thing but saying or writing something different, etc.

Slurred speech is found among people with Fibromyalgia, especially for people who are female. One problem that many Fibromyalgia and M.E (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) sufferers encounter from time to time is problems with their speech. This is something that they find difficult to deal with to begin with but through time the problem is one that occurs and the sufferer and those around them learn to live with.

Causes of slurred speech

Anxiety and anxiety attacks can cause a host of issues that may lead to slurred speech – almost like it is hard to get your thoughts out of your brain. Slurred speech is when your words are jumbled together. It’s known as Dysarthria, and the problem isn’t really with the words themselves.

The problem is generally with the muscles that you use to talk. That’s what occurs when you drink too much alcohol, and your muscles simply don’t work as properly. It’s possible that what you have is anxiety, and anxiety can cause slurred speech, as well as issues that resemble slurred speech.

One of the key reasons that some people slur their words is because anxiety makes it so hard to focus their brain. Several fairly normal issues can also affect speech. For example, those that are very tired may be more prone to slurred speech because their brain is not functioning as well as normal.

Slurred speech is the side effect of many different anxiety medications. Most often it’s because these medications act as muscle relaxants and make it harder and harder to move the muscles in your mouth and face.

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How Fibromyalgia affect your speech?

If someone is talking to you and they seem to be struggling to speak, or if they are talking and the words are jumbled then they may be a Fibromyalgia or M.E (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) sufferer. These two conditions have similarities and are also difficult to recognize in an individual as they often show no physical symptoms.

Another common quality between Fibromyalgia and M.E (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) sufferers alike is their ability to carry on as normal where possible. It is important to remember that if you are in the company of someone with either of these conditions they may well be in a lot of pain. Many of the worst anxiety symptoms can make you feel like there is something wrong with your brain.

Our brains are arguably the most important part of our bodies, and deep down many people with anxiety have a fear that their brain may fail them. They worry that something is wrong with their brain, like a tumor or multiple sclerosis, and that worry causes them even more anxiety. Slurred speech is an example of an anxiety symptom that can be incredibly frightening.

But it’s common with those suffering from anxiety attacks, and in most cases it says nothing about the health of your brain. You may have a problem with speaking clearly. It seems as if your tongue is swollen and not behaving itself! You find yourself thinking that it sounds as if you have a lisp. The worst situation is for people need to talk for work. They have to communicate clearly. 

Wrong words come out, and people are not being able to think of even quite common words. Sometimes whole sentences mix themselves up somewhere between their brain and mouth. They seem to run out breath quite quickly and their words fade out. They also feel like they cannot take a deep breath. They tend to be more careful about thinking before speaking, and focusing better. They know what word they want but it won’t come out and wrong words come out.

Some people have a permanent dry mouth, and when they first get up in the morning their throat feels tight and it usually takes about two cups of tea before it feels like they are talking properly. A tight feeling in the throat is a very common symptom of Fibromyalgia.

The pain experienced is actually referred pain our your cervical bones which is a hotseat for Fibromyalgia sufferers. The sensation may feel like a sore throat, or like you have a tight band around your throat. Swallowing is very difficult at this time too. It eases with time, usually two cups of tea, but is so frustrating.

It’s the long term effects of taking high doses of drugs. You could ask for the balance of your meds to be changed, or maybe even change to something different if your consultant is open to trying things. It is not uncommon for a sufferer to forget what they were saying in mid-sentence and indeed it is not uncommon for them to jumble up words whilst they are speaking or to forget names and events that they could remember only a short time before.

Treatment and management

While it’s important to talk with your doctor about the cause of your slurred speech, slurred speech caused by anxiety is not dangerous. If you are a sufferer of Fibromyalgia or M.E (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) then it is important to relax and go at your own pace.

This not only applies to walking, sitting, standing or other everyday tasks but speaking as well. If you feel you are having difficulty speaking then slow down, take deep breaths and relax. Fibromyalgia and intellectual issues are now treated with stimulants, for example, Provigil or caffeine, yet these substances can create a push cycle.

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References:

  • Fibromyalgia and difficulty in speaking via deal with chronic pain
  • Problems with speech via Fibromyalgia Syndrome
  • Does anyone have problems with speaking or writing/typing? via Pro Health threads

For support and Discussion join the group “Living with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Illness”

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