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Brain injury and fatigue

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The consequences of a brain injury can greatly differ from one person to another, with sometimes far-reaching symptoms affecting people. One particular symptom which is reported by many people who have sustained a brain injury is fatigue.

Fatigue is experienced by everyone to a certain extent and it is our body’s way of telling us to take a rest. However, people who have sustained a brain injury often experience ‘pathological’ fatigue, which is present a high percentage of the time. This can have a direct impact on someone’s ability to undertake day to day tasks or activities for a prolonged period of time.

The experience of fatigue differs from person to person, some people may feel overwhelming tiredness, others report a lack of energy or feeling weak, as well as a lack of motivation and a feeling of exhaustion. Severe fatigue can result in people being unable to continue with daily activities in which they used to partake.

Fatigue can often cause other feelings to develop in people with a brain injury, including feelings of isolation, uselessness, frustration, irritability and being unable to cope with day to day strains. These feelings can have an effect on mood and the development of depression.

Common causes of fatigue after a brain injury

There are some activities which can cause people to experience fatigue. These include:

  • Reading through lots of paperwork or information.
  • Being in loud, busy environments such as shopping malls, open plan offices or pubs.
  • Using a computer for a prolonged amount of time.

These are just a few of the triggers which may cause fatigue. It is important to identify what your individual triggers are in order to manage these and monitor how you are feeling. You will then be able to plan your activities better and prioritise what you want to get done.

Listen to our Podcast, Brain Injury Bites: Dealing with fatigue and the  importance of rest after a brain injury

Managing your brain injury and fatigue

Fatigue is often a long-term problem people experience that does not always get better over time. As such, it is often important to find ways to manage your fatigue. There are several ways you can do that and reduce the impact that fatigue has on your life.

It is important to try and not push yourself too hard. This will result in you experiencing a burnout and collapsing with tiredness. Equally, you shouldn’t try to avoid activities and stop doing them because you are worried about your fatigue. Once you start to identify what triggers your fatigue, you can begin to plan better to avoid these situations.

  • When planning activities be realistic about what you are expecting to achieve.
  • Try not to think about the things you have not done, instead, concentrate on the things you have been able to achieve. Reschedule to do any leftover tasks another time.
  • Make sure you leave time to do things you enjoy, as well as tasks that need doing.
  • Understand that you will not be able to do all of the things you were able to before you sustained your brain injury.

It is also important to pace activities throughout the day in order to be able to take breaks to have a rest. Ensure there is somewhere quiet and peaceful for you to be able to rest properly without interruptions and distractions. Also, prioritise what needs to be done to ensure the most important tasks are completed first.

You should also ensure you have a good sleep pattern and routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time and use relaxation techniques before you go to bed to help you to drift off and get a good night’s sleep.

All of these things can contribute to better management of fatigue after a brain injury and help you to continue doing the things you enjoy.

CFG Law are specialist serious brain injury solicitors with many years’ experience helping people after they have sustained a brain injury. Our expert solicitors do not just focus on claiming compensation for clients, but they will help to put in place early treatment and support to aid your recovery and help you get your life back on track. This can include arranging treatment to help you to overcome some of your symptoms of fatigue and learn new coping strategies.

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