Category Archives: head injury and fatigue

Fatigue After Brain Injury “There is always a way around a problem, any problem” “Do not let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you CAN do…best.” “Where there’s hope, there is light.” from Advertisements

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Fatigue After Brain Injury

BrainLine sat down with Dr. Nathan Zasler to talk about the issues of fatigue after a traumatic brain injury. “My chronic fatigue… has shaped most of my life” from and the paperback version at Also see reading

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Understanding Brain Injuries With understanding comes acceptance… then all (patients, family and carers/support) can move forward on the at times very difficult long journey of hope that is life” “Do not let what you (we) can’t do stop you from doing what … Continue reading

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Concussion Fatigue: It’s Different Also see an excellent resource at PPS “Don’t not let us what we can’t do stop us from doing what we can do…best.” -me “Together, one mind, one soul, one life, one small step at … Continue reading

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Some Cognitive Effects of Head Injury


by Craig Lock

“Compare it (your head) to a jelly in a bowl. The bowl is the skull – a strong, protective container – and the jelly (the brain) is nestled within. The skull is able to withstand many types of blows; but the brain is vulnerable to sudden swirling or rotating movements. Shake the bowl and see what happens to the jelly.”
– Dr Don Mackie, Emergency Specialist(in New Zealand)

This extract (in note form) is from a chapter from my manuscript titled MY STORY, MY DREAM Also LIVING WITH HEAD (BRAIN) INJURY (from ‘MY STORY’)

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Don’t Give Up After a Traumatic Injury!

A personal story of a head injury survivor “Failure is a part of success”.

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Fatigue After Brain Injury: BrainLine Talks With Dr. Nathan Zasler

BrainLine sat down with Dr. Nathan Zasler to talk about the issues of fatigue after a traumatic brain injury. Dr. Zasler is an internationally respected neuro-rehabilitation physician who specializes in brain injury.
BrainLine: Describe fatigue. What exactly is traumatic brain injury-related fatigue?
Dr. Zasler: Think about a car. It needs gas to run. If your tank is low, your car will start sputtering and then stop once you have reached the end of your reserve. It’s the same way with fatigue after TBI. Fatigue is caused by a decrease in physiological reserve, which includes a person’s physical and mental reserves. When your brain is “tapped out,” you feel tired. Basically, when a person’s brain is overtaxed, fatigue will set in.
Although one formal definition of fatigue that has been proposed states that it is the failure to initiate or sustain attention or physical activity that requires self-motivation, there continues to be debate about how best to define “fatigue.” In part, it’s difficult to define the term because fatigue is subjective — that is, it is solely based on patient report — and it is really more a symptom than a diagnosis. Just like it is difficult to tell if someone is in pain, it is also challenging to know if someone suffers from fatigue unless they tell you so. But generally, people with TBI have described fatigue as a sense of mental or physical tiredness, exhaustion, lack of energy, and/or low vitality. Unfortunately, we don’t have any definitive screening tools for fatigue, so there is no universal way to measure it.
Cognitive and physical fatigue can occur separately or together, but most people seem to have more problems with the mental side of fatigue after a brain injury. They say they are not as quick as they used to be, mental tasks that were once easy are much more difficult, and they tire far more easily even doing something that used to be simple like reading, studying, or working.
Although there are limited long-term studies, some research indicates that fatigue is usually short-lived after most mild TBIs. And in my experience as a physiatrist, fatigue in patients with mild TBI usually lasts no longer than three to six months. However, for some people with mild TBI, their fatigue is more persistent.
BrainLine: How common is fatigue after a brain injury?
Dr. Zasler: In the general population, fatigue is a common complaint with some studies citing an incidence of 10 percent. But for people with traumatic brain injury, it is one of the most common problems post-injury. Fatigue affects not only people with moderate to severe TBI, but also those with mild TBI. And we still need more research to better understand this issue.
BrainLine: What does fatigue look like after TBI?
Dr. Zasler: The spectrum of fatigue is as broad as the spectrum of traumatic brain injury, itself. Everyone’s brain injury is different and everyone’s symptoms will be different. There are also many variables when it comes to post-TBI fatigue — from levels of severity to pervasiveness. Some people may be very fatigued all the time and others may only be fatigued after mental or physical exertion.
Most people who have fatigue resulting from brain injury only experience the problem at certain times and not all the time. They have more energy in the morning and tend to be more tired later in the day. People’s levels of fatigue also depend on how much they are pushing themselves physically or cognitively, and whether they are making time to rest periodically during the day and pace themselves.
Depression, anxiety, or stress can also contribute to the degree of a person’s fatigue or, alternatively, may even be the cause of the fatigue. Not everyone with a TBI will experience fatigue due to their brain injury. So, each person’s levels of fatigue, if present, may change over time during their recovery, in terms of both cause and level of severity.
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The “Hidden Handicap – the Silent Epidemic”

Subnitter’s Note
The following piece is from information that I’ve researched and collected over the past twenty-five years. Some of the writings are words from my own experiences and much material from sources unknown (some of which has been re-written and re-phrased by me). I am sharing this information in the spirit of promoting greater awareness of head (or brain) injury, as well as helping and hopefully encouraging “victims of the hidden ‘handicap’” to realise their full potentials and be all that they are capable of achieving, being and becoming.
Craig Lock
October 2005

Some introductory comments re the title of this article

* because it can’t be seen and brain /head damaged people look perfectly “normal” (what’s that!).

NB: NO, I don’t necessarily see it, this label as a ‘handicap’, but rather as an opportunity for personal growth.

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed* of an equal or greater benefit.”
– Napoleon Hill (in his great book ‘Think and Grow Rich’)

* this should perhaps read “rather the POTENTIAL seed” in cases of head (brain) damage

“Just because a brain has been damaged, does NOT necessarily have to affect the human mind…and so the quality and height of our thoughts!”
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A case of Devine intervention for brave Steve

I was so tired I lay down and went to sleep right where I was.”
Soon after even the hallway proved beyond his reach. He pulled the car into the garage, and just slumbered there at the wheel. “It was just fatigue and headache-type symptoms. I remember another time I opened the car door on my head. I just wasn’t in sync with what I was doing. I knew something was wrong.”
“For the first eight months it was a matter of lying in a room and sleeping,” he says. “Our second child had only just been born, my wife was running a business and looking after two kids and myself. I was truly a waste of time.
“My concentration was shot to pieces. Holding a conversation was incredibly difficult – just to talk like we are now, I’d need a sleep afterwards. If there was background noise I couldn’t cope. Often I couldn’t concentrate enough to even hold conversations.”
And so it went on. His vision became badly affected by bright light, he became almost intolerant to loud noise

keep reaching for the light. It’s there Continue reading

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