How to Manage Fatigue After a Brain Injury

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Fatigue is a common problem for people with an acquired brain injury and can have a serious impact on their lives if not managed correctly. If you or a loved one are experiencing issues with fatigue following a brain injury, understanding the causes, knowing what to look out for and what you can do to help manage your fatigue can make a significant difference to the recovery process and overall quality of life.

What causes fatigue after a brain injury?

The reason why so many people experience fatigue following a brain injury is not well understood. It is thought that it may be due to direct damage to the brain or the increased effort required to compensate for this damage when performing basic tasks, such as thinking and moving.

What is well documented, in contrast, is some of the common activities that tend to trigger fatigue in people with an acquired brain injury. Understanding these potential triggers can help to reduce the likelihood of fatigue being an issue, or at least allow you to be more aware so that if you do start to feel fatigued, you can identify the likely cause.

Common triggers for fatigue include:

  • Using a computer or other backlit screen
  • Being in a busy environment
  • Concentrating on a single conversation in a noisy place
  • Driving
  • Physical exertion e.g. during physiotherapy

Working out what triggers your fatigue can take time, but monitoring how you feel after different activities can help you to identify if there are any patterns so you can better plan your life to decrease the likelihood of extreme fatigue being an issue.

Recognising the signs of fatigue

People with an acquired brain injury often have trouble recognising the signs of fatigue, meaning it can catch them unawares. It is therefore a good idea both for those with a brain injury and their loved ones to know what to look out for.

Common warning signs for fatigue include:

  • Yawning
  • Loss of concentration
  • Mental “fuzziness”
  • Eyesight blurring
  • Irritability
  • Limbs feeling heavy
  • Upset stomach

Practical tips to help manage fatigue

There are various practical things you can do to help reduce the likeliness of fatigue. These include:

  • Setting realistic goals, so you don’t push yourself too hard
  • Pacing yourself e.g. having regular breaks
  • Having a healthy, regular sleep routine
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Managing your diet
  • Staying hydrated
  • Modifying your environment e.g. minimising clutter

Get the help you need following a brain injury

Dealing with the impact of an acquired brain injury can be challenging and will often require a range of treatment, care and support to aid recovery. This can include medication, various types of professional therapy, special equipment and more, all of which come at a cost.

Funding these costs is one of the main reasons many people pursue brain injury compensation. This can often result in a significant settlement, giving you the financial security you need so you can focus on your recovery and live independently.

Becky

Wife, mother, grandma, blogger, all wrapped into one person, although it does not define her these are roles that are important to her. Entering into their 'empty nest' stage in life, Becky, and her husband Roger are learning to live with their youngest away at school more than not. Becky enjoys way too many TV programs but her favorites are normally criminal based or something to make her laugh. Keep an eye out because 2018 is going to be her year!

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Jodi
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My daughter sustained a concussion while playing at one of her high school lacrosse games. She was super tired and very sensitive to noise. She couldn’t even be in the band room during her band class, and looking at a sheet of music made her dizzy. Great advise!

Christina Gould
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Christina Gould

Wow, this is an interesting article. I never knew this was an issue for brain injury victims. Thanks for posting!