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Fatigue

Posted on May 17, 2015 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

I was fortunate to see a video article by Dr Anna Kuppaswarmy about her research into stroke recovery fatigue.

Everyone has told me that fatigue is a key element of stroke recovery although no-one explained why.

I thought it was probably to do with the mental effort of consciously undertaking previously automated actions.

However Dr Kuppaswamy had done some very significant research and has been able to prove that it was not the mental effort of actions that causes fatigue, but a result of lesions on the affected area of the brain. Also some people were less affected than others by this. Dr Kuppaswammy is seeking volunteers I am keen to help but a) I do not live close enough and b) my stroke was more than 6 months ago, which is the maximum time they want volunteers.

Perhaps it serves to remember that after any stroke, the brain is damaged either through a blockage restricitng oxygen to the brain or as in my case a haemorrhage which kills an area of the brain. Luckily for me, I don't appear to ahve suffered any cognitive loss, although one can't be sure. But one thing is for sure, the damage was not to my muscles, my physical capability. There is just a severance between the brain function and the muscle function. Through physiotherapy and exercise it is possible to stimulate the brain to send the signals again, and for the muscles to accept the signals. The key is persuading the brain to automate the movement function. As I say elsewhere when one learns a new physical skill the brain learns to operate new muscle groups and responses. In the case of recovery from stroke one has to relearn fairly basic motor functions.

Two years in my arm and hand movement is improving virtually everyday, even though I am not exercising those muscles as much as I would like to. My walk is taking longer to return to normal and is still a considerable way from normal. But then walking is a complex series of muscular motions and as those muscles are being asked to move by conscious brain activity, if you have forgotten what those muscle movements are it is difficult to restart.

It is particularly difficult when I can only just about manage to walk about 2 miles at most, so I am not really exercising intensely, because I am also fatigued, after my brain not only has to deal with the forward motion of walk but also, appreciating the surrounding environment managing traffic, and possibly sometimes talking to a walking companion.

If you arte reco vering and this blog is to be any use to you, I have found that if you can you should walk over uneven surfaces, but also spend as much time as you can on a treadmill, where the walk can become quickly sub conscious and the surroundings are limited to a mirror and your struggling face tgrying to keep steady,

If I learn anymore about Dr Kuppaswammy's work, I will report it on this blog.