Why Fatigue Is So Common After A Head Injury
Head injuries can lead to a variety of symptoms, but one of the most common symptoms that often goes overlooked is the feeling of fatigue. Recovering from a traumatic brain injury can be both physically and mentally draining, and that can leave you feeling more fatigued than normal. In todays blog, we take a closer look at why fatigue is a common complication after head injuries, and how to best treat the problem so you can get back to a normal life.
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Recovering From A Concussion
Symptoms from a concussion usually last 7-10 days. Common practices of recovery include reducing your exposure to bright lights, keeping your environment calm and quiet, drinking plenty of fluids, and resting.
Most recoveries take 2-4 weeks. If you suffer from post-concussion syndrome, you might experience symptoms for more than six weeks.
We may recommend additional recovery methods that include taking anti-seizure medications, diuretics, and in severe cases, possible surgery. You can trust us for an accurate diagnosis and help to get you back to your normal, daily routine.
If youve suffered a blow to the head or experienced whiplash, our office or schedule an appointment online today. Dr. Shayya can examine your condition, determine if you have a concussion, and develop a customized treatment plan for you.
What Is The Staging For A Concussion
Concussions may be graded according to the severity of symptoms, each stage building on the previous one.
- Grade 0: Headache and difficulty concentrating
- Grade 1: Adds a dazed feeling lasting less than a minute
- Grade 2: Cloudy senses lasts longer, and the patient may have dizziness, amnesia, confusion, ringing in the ears, and/or irritability
- Grade 3: Loss of consciousness for less than a minute
- Grade 4: Loss of consciousness for longer than a minute
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What Is A Concussion
During the impact of an accident, the brain bounces back and forth inside the skull. This can cause bruising, bleeding, and tearing . Immediately after the accident, the person may be confused, not remember what happened or have nausea, blurry vision, or dizziness. The person may appear fine at first but show symptoms hours or days later. One does not have to lose consciousness to suffer a concussion.
Concussions are graded by severity:
Grade I: no loss of consciousness amnesia is absent or present for less than 30 minutes.
Grade II: loss of consciousness for less than five minutes or amnesia for between 30 minutes and 24 hours.
Grade III: loss of consciousness for more than five minutes or amnesia for more than 24 hours.
Go to an emergency room if you or someone with you has suffered a head injury and has lost consciousness, is vomiting, having seizures, or having obvious difficulty with mental function or physical coordination.
If left undiagnosed, a concussion may place a person at risk of developing second-impact syndrome, a potentially fatal injury that occurs when an athlete sustains a second head injury before a previous head injury has healed.
What Are The Causes Of Concussions
Many concussions that require emergency treatment are because of falls, motor vehicle accidents, assaults, and sports injuries. Children, young adults, and older adults are at especially high risk for concussions and may take longer to recover after a concussion. People who have had concussions before are more likely to have them again.
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Fatigue After Brain Injury: Why It Occurs And How To Overcome It
Elizabeth Denslow, OTR/L Flint Rehab
Extreme fatigue after brain injury is a common but frustrating problem for many TBI survivors. Not only can it make everyday activities more challenging to perform, but it can also interfere with rehabilitation outcomes. Fortunately, there are effective ways to reduce fatigue after brain injury and improve your quality of life.
To help you understand fatigue after TBI, this article will discuss its:
Recovery From Concussion And Further Information
The general conclusion seems to be that the vast majority of people who experience a mild head injury make a full recovery, usually after 3-4 months. However there is a very small sub-group whose recovery is not so good.
See our booklet Mild head injury and concussion for more details, and our factsheetMild head injury discharge advice for important information after sustaining a head injury.
If you would like to discuss any issues relating to mild head injury and concussion, please contact our helpline on 0808 800 2244 or .
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Your Brain Will Seem To Have Less Energy Even After A Little Effort You May Feel Worn Out
Fatigue is a common symptom following an acquired brain injury. Your brain will seem to have less energy. Even after a little effort, you may feel worn out and unable to go on. Your brain is telling you that you need a rest listen to it. If you struggle on, you will make yourself even more tired and less able to cope.
How Long Does Post
In many cases these symptoms resolve themselves within a few days or weeks. However, in some cases problems can persist for months, but still resolve themselves eventually. This can be a frustrating time, as the effects may be subtle and you may not have been told about them.
This may also be the most prolonged period of feeling ill that you have experienced and you may wonder if you will ever feel better. Following the suggestions in our booklet Mild head injury and concussion should help to make you feel better as quickly as possible, but be patient with yourself and try not to rush things.
It is important to realise that these symptoms often happen even when there is no damage to the brain and that the fear of having brain injury, even if there is none, can be very distressing and can delay recovery. So it is sensible, if you have these symptoms for more than about two weeks after the injury, or if they are severe and not getting any better, that you see your GP.
It may be appropriate to be referred to a head injury specialist, such as a neurologist or neuropsychologist, for assessment.
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When Does Mental Fatigue Occur
Annually, about 100-300/100 000 individuals sustain a TBI, and most of the injuries are mild in severity . A majority of patients recover within one to three months following mild TBI .
Fatigue is one of the most important long-lasting symptoms following TBI, and is most severe immediately after head injury. However it is difficult to arrive at any clear figure as to how common fatigue or, in particular, mental fatigue is. The reason for this is that different results have been obtained, and these are attributable to differences in definitions and differences in the methodology in the various studies. In follow-up studies, the frequency of prolonged fatigue varies from 16 up to 73 % . There is no correlation between persistent fatigue and severity of the primary injury, age of the person at injury or time since injury . For those suffering from fatigue 3 months after the accident the fatigue remained relatively stable during longer periods . In particular, for those subjects who were suffering from the syndrome one year after the accident improvement in the fatigue was limited .
In the above reports, fatigue is discussed in terms of a single construct, i.e. not differentiated between the physical or mental aspects. In this chapter, we consider mental fatigue as a separate construct and we discuss its relationship to cognitive and emotional symptoms.
Follow All Your Doctors Orders
Your doctor will likely give you some additional recovery tips. These might include waking yourself up regularly during the first night or taking some time off work.
If headaches are a component of your concussion, your doctor may prescribe medications to treat them.
They can also tell you about signs to watch for and guide you on when it might be a good idea to head to the ER.
Most concussions resolve on their own without any lasting effects. However, some concussions can accompany a more serious injury that requires treatment.
Seek emergency treatment if you notice any of the following after a concussion:
- sudden, intense headaches
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Concussion Definition & Symptoms
What is a concussion? A concussion is an injury to your brain caused by the brain impacting the inside of your skull. Also called a mild traumatic brain injury , concussions usually occur because of a direct hit to the head or because of whiplash.
What is post-concussion syndrome? Post-concussion syndrome is a condition in which concussion symptoms persist for more than 6 weeks.
Also called post-concussive syndrome, this condition is rare after a single concussion. With each concurrent concussion, however, developing post-concussion syndrome is more likely.
What should you do after a concussion? After a suspected concussion, go to the emergency room. A doctor must diagnose a concussion and prescribe the proper treatment for optimal concussion recovery. Mental and physical rest are the two most common recommendations.
- Loss of consciousness
Factors That May Slow Recovery Time
These are the factors that may slow your recovery time after a concussion:
- The severity of the initial injury
- Trying to do too much, too soon
- Pre-existing neurological issues
How do you treat a concussion at home? You treat a concussion at home with mental and physical rest, but only for a few days. After that initial rest period, slowly start to reintroduce normal activity. No one should be alone for the first 48 hours of concussion recovery.
Talk to a healthcare professional before treating your concussion at home.
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How To Treat A Concussion
What are the best ways to treat a concussion? And how long does it take to recover from a concussion?
While concussion recovery time can vary dramatically based on how severe the injury is, 80% of concussion victims will generally recover between one and two weeks after the injury. If you have concerns due to prolonged recovery time, speak with your primary doctor.
Treatment plans vary depending on the patient, symptoms, and severity of the concussion. In general, the doctor will give concussion victims a plan for recovery that will expedite healing.
How Long Does A Mild Concussion Last
|Type of Concussion|
|Grade 4||1 to 2 weeks|
Concussions are usually graded into 4 types. These are Grade 0, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, and Grade 4. Out of these, concussions of type Grade 0 and Grade 1are usually regarded as mild concussions.
The Grade 0 concussion lasts for about 1 to 2 days. It is the least impactful of all and the patient only suffers headaches and trouble in focussing on things for some time. It is regarded as mild as it can be over in just a couple of hours while producing a minimum of trouble.
The Grade 1 concussion lasts for comparatively more time than Grade 0. It can last for 1 to 3 days and results in effects like headaches, fatigue, and trouble concentrating. Grade 1 concussion is also regarded as mild as compared to Grade 3 and Grade 4, it still produces a lot less trouble.
Grade 2 is regarded as a moderate concussion and it lasts for 2 to 5 days. In this type of concussion, there are prolonged effects of feeling dazed, grumpiness, feeling sensitivity to light or noise, and amnesia.
The effects of Grade 3 and Grade 4 are categorized as severe and they last for over a week, sometimes lasting for nearly two weeks. In these types of concussions, the person experiences a loss of consciousness. The duration of consciousness increases with the severity of the concussion.
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What Treatments Are Available
No person should return to sports or vigorous activity while signs or symptoms of a concussion are present. Treatment for a mild brain injury is usually rest and medication. The best treatment is time to allow the brain to heal.
Get plenty of sleep. Avoid physical exertion as well as activities that require mental concentration, such as playing video games, watching TV, texting or using a computer. School workloads should also be temporarily reduced.
For headaches, use acetaminophen . Avoid other pain relievers such as ibuprofen and aspirin, as there is a possibility these medications may increase the risk of bleeding.
Common questions & answers:
Thrombosis And Microclots In The Lungs
As well as causing severe respiratory problems, COVID-19 also seems to trigger abnormalities in blood clotting. Studies show that as many as 30% of critically ill patients develop blood clots in veins and arteries, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. If a blood vessel carrying blood to or from the lungs is blocked by a clot, it can cause sudden and intense breathing problems.
Typically, these clots are bigger than 1mm in size and can be detected by a CT scan. However, healthcare providers are becoming increasingly aware that smaller clots named microclots can be just as dangerous and virtually impossible to see. If these microclots start to develop in the capillaries in the lung, they may block gas exchange, ultimately leading to shortness of breath.
Doctors are concerned that standard blood-thinning medication to prevent these clots doesnt seem to work in COVID-19 patients. Some hospitals are giving patients much higher doses than normal, and clinical trials testing different doses of blood thinners are currently underway.
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Can Concussions Be Prevented
You can take a number of steps to help reduce your risk for a concussion or prevent it in your children:
- Wear a seat belt every time you’re in a motor vehicle.
- Make sure your children use the proper safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt.
- Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Wear a helmet for activities such as riding a bike or motorcycle, playing contact sports, skiing, horseback riding, and snowboarding.
- Reduce your risk for falls by eliminating clutter in your home, removing slippery area rugs, and installing grab bars in the bathroom if needed, especially for older adults.
- Never work on a ladder if you feel dizzy or lightheaded. Alcohol can make you dizzy. Some medicines also can make you dizzy or affect your balance.
- Have your vision checked at least once a year. Poor vision can increase your risk for falls and other types of accidents.
Natural Gentle And Lasting Relief For Post
If youre several weeks, months, or even years post-concussion and youre still dealing with stubborn symptoms, then its necessary to address the root cause of the problem in order to start getting back to normal again. This is the focus of upper cervical chiropractic care when it comes to working with patients after a head or neck injury. Even the mildest of concussions required a force significant enough to shift your brain around inside of your head. When this happens, it is also very likely to have caused a shift in the uppermost vertebra of your neck that holds your head in its neutral, normal position. The atlas vertebra is designed to move, and when there is a concussive blow to the head or body, it can easily misalign. This can be a major factor in the persistence of the physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms listed above since the atlas protects the part of your central nervous system that is responsible for many of your bodys life-sustaining functions.
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Concussion Dos And Donts
Treating a concussion quickly and effectively is critically important. Misdiagnosing the problem or allowing someone with a concussion to put themselves in harms way too soon can lead to further injury and long-term complications. Proper post-concussion care can help you heal more quickly.
If youve experienced a concussion:
- See a doctor immediately to have your injury and symptoms evaluated. Even if they dont seem serious, symptoms following any type of head injury should be treated as an emergency.
- Rest during the day and try to get a good nights sleep. Its the key to helping the brain heal.
- Stay inside in an area without a lot of bright light.
- Apply ice packs for headaches.
- Keep family or friends around you 24 hours a day for the first two days at least.
- Take only the medications your doctor has approved. Acetaminophen for headache pain may be OK, but aspirin and ibuprofen may cause bleeding problems in the brain.
- Focus on doing one thing at a time. Multitasking, like watching television while doing homework or cooking, can make you feel more distracted and lightheaded.
- Eat a light but healthy diet, especially if you are feeling nauseous.
- See your doctor for all follow-up appointments. If you are experiencing new symptoms during your recovery, see a doctor immediately.
Likewise, there are several things you should avoid doing in the days and weeks immediately after a concussion:
Types Of Fatigue That Can Occur After Brain Injury
Everyone experiences the effects of TBI differently. Fatigue may be more severe for some than for others however, fatigue is not correlated to the severity of TBI. In other words, fatigue is just as common in individuals with mild TBIs as in those with severe TBIs.
Its important to understand what type of fatigue youre experiencing to target your specific symptoms and effectively treat them.
There are 3 primary types of fatigue that an individual may experience after brain injury:
The type of fatigue you experience after a brain injury will primarily depend on which areas of the brain are affected as well as the types of secondary complications you experience. While it is possible to experience all three types of fatigue after brain injury, most individuals experience cognitive fatigue.
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