Assistant Occupational Therapist, Carol Lock, discusses fatigue.
‘I don’t understand why I get so tired’
“After an acquired brain injury the symptom we find to be most common to all is fatigue. Feeling tired is quite normal for a person after hard work or a long day but in people with a head injury it happens more quickly and frequently than it does in the general population. Physical fatigue usually comes from muscle weakness but cognitive fatigue occurs as the brain needs more effort to think and process information, particularly after injury.
“Cognitive fatigue can be managed in a number of ways. We would recommend implementing a routine and structure to your days as a very useful exercise, ensuring that the balance between ‘doing’ and ‘resting’ is used as a basic outline to the day. This helps to ensure that you don’t continually find yourselves doing too much on one day then feeling exhausted for the next day or two after. The temptation to overdo things when you have recovered from a bout of fatigue will inevitably lead to another day or two of feeling exhausted which is an unhelpful pattern to adopt.
“A simple structure of undertaking no more than four activities in one day, interspersed with 30-45 minute rest breaks is recommended. Following these guidelines will ensure that you avoid the ‘peaks’ and ‘troughs’ and your energy levels are more evenly distributed throughout the day.”
– Carol Lock