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
- 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:
- Loss of concentration
- Mental “fuzziness”
- Eyesight blurring
- 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.