Fatigue after brain injury - Mindfulness and more
Fatigue is a common, poorly understood and often debilitating consequence of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or stroke - yet effective treatments are lacking. Biofeedback has previously been judged as efficacious but has not been widely used in the UK. As evidence supporting biofeedback and mindfulness has been growing perhaps its time to explore this.
EEG biofeedback has long shown benefits for aspects of cognition such as memory and attention. A study that used the low energy neurofeedback system (LENS) method with one hundred TBI patients (ages six to 80) showed significant improvements across 15 major problem areas (including anxiety, mood disturbance, attentional problems, fatigue, pain, sleep problems, etc.) (Larsen, Harrington, & Hicks, 2006)
Mindfulness-based interventions are now frequently applied within the context of modern health care systems, and a growing body of literature indicates its potential as a beneficial intervention. But what about following TBI?
Ulrichsen et al recently conducted a literature and meta-analysis of the efficacy of mindfulness training in the treatment of fatigue following stroke, TBI and MS. They found a positive and moderate effect size and suggested directions for future research.
What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is a way of training yourself to focus on the present moment and this has many proven health benefits for stress, fatigue and related health challenges.
The Pip biofeedback device is a simple tool to facilitate mindfulness practice without spending a year in a monastery.
An Android or IOS app that comes with the Pip contains video tutorials that can teach you to refocus using the Breath Awareness Exercise. The Pip then allows you to practise this exercise, and the Pip’s biosensing technology shows you how effective you are.
The 4 Steps to Mindfulness App is a training program developed in conjunction with world leading neuroscience expert, Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz. It can be used by anyone who wants to use mindfulness to change bad habits, end unhealthy thinking and improve their life.
When it comes to dealing with fatigue following stroke or TBI we believe that biofeedback is worth a try. Professional guidance is ideal and a competent practitioner would be able to ensure you get the most out of biofeedback and a device such as the pip that can make mindfulness training very accessible.
Larsen, S., Harrington, K., & Hicks, S. (2006).
The LENS (low energy neurofeedback system): A clinical outcomes study on one hundred patients at Stone Mountain Center, New York. Journal of Neurotherapy, 10(2-3), 69-78.
Kristine M. Ulrichsen, Tobias Kaufmann, Erlend S. Dørum, Knut K. Kolskår, Geneviève Richard, Dag Alnæs, Tone J. Arneberg, Lars T. Westlye and Jan E. Nordvik (2016)
Clinical Utility of Mindfulness Training in the Treatment of Fatigue After Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury and Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-analysis.
Front. Psychol. 7:912. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00912