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You fall on the job and hit your head. You lose consciousness. When you wake up in the hospital, they explain that you suffered a brain injury and it could take a long time to heal.

As life moves forward, many symptoms do seem to heal on their own. What you cannot shake is an overwhelming sense of fatigue. It’s so bad that it feels like a disability, making it impossible for you to work. Is that also from your brain injury?

It is. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms people experience.

The problem may be that your body is working so hard to heal. Your brain may be trying to create new pathways, heal the damage, relearn skills and much more. That’s exhausting, and you feel tired even if your body itself feels fine.

“Fatigue is caused by a decrease in physiological reserve, which includes a person’s physical and mental reserves,” one neurorehabilitation physician said. “When your brain is ‘tapped out,’ you feel tired. Basically, when a person’s brain is overtaxed, fatigue will set in.”

Why do you feel physically fine if you still have all of these mental issues to work through? That is also common. “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,” the doctor added.

The key here is to remember that fatigue is a very real medical issue. It’s not in your head. It’s not something you’re exaggerating. It can be disabling, and you must know what legal options you have.