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Cerebral palsy, fatigue and tiredness

If you live with cerebral palsy (CP), you may experience feelings of fatigue.

Fatigue

Fatigue is:

  • becoming easily tired
  • having no energy
  • being exhausted
  • losing stamina during physical activity

Walking or pushing your wheelchair could make you feel fatigued more quickly. But physical activity, at whatever level you can manage, is important to maintain your mobility and independence.

Signs of fatigue

Signs of fatigue include:

  • muscle aches or cramps
  • irritability or anger
  • feeling sleepy
  • not being able to concentrate

Managing fatigue

If you are fatigued, try changing your daily routine by:

  • moving big tasks to when you have most energy
  • pacing yourself and giving yourself time to rest
  • using mobility aids and equipment more
  • maintaining work/life balance
  • know your limits and what you can and cannot do
  • ask for help in doing something if you need it
  • say no if you feel something will make you too fatigued

CP and energy levels (Chloe Tear)

Spoon theory

Spoon theory allocates your energy (or spoons) to your daily tasks. It's an easy way to get your friends and family to understand your chronic fatigue and how it affects you. Work out how many spoons of energy you have each day. If it's too much, reduce your number and try again.

Spoon theory (BBC Ouch)

Diet

A healthy diet is important, so think about:

  • losing excess weight to make mobility easier
  • eating little and often to maintain blood sugar levels
  • drinking water regularly

Eating healthily (NHS)

Activity

You could try activities, such as:

Other causes of fatigue

CP might not be the only cause of your fatigue. There may be other medical reasons like:

If you are feeling fatigued, talk to your doctor or other medical professional, such as a physiotherapist or occupational therapist.

Talk about CP in our online community

Last reviewed by Scope on: 19/07/2021

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