Overwhelming Fatigue

63 yr old male. I had an ischemic stroke end of Dec 2022. So it’s not been quite 3 months. I woke up and wham - didn’t feel right. Laid back down and all of a sudden I couldn’t control my arms and legs. Lasted 5 minutes or so then stopped. I felt better - walked around. It started again then stopped. Called the ambulence. Went to the ER and was stuck in the ER for 3 days because the hospital had no beds. MRI, CT etc. Confirmed the stroke. They put me on plavix, asprin, and a statin and sent me home. No instruction what to expect or do - just see a neurologist which I did. The neurologist ordered some tests which I scheduled. Then about six weeks ago I got covid. Sick for three weeks but felt like I was over it. Felt ok last couple of weeks. Last Friday I had a nuclear stress test. (I have a stent from a heart attack 13 years ago). They wanted to check my heart. I had the stress test Friday - woke up Saturday and fatigue started. Since then overwhelming fatigue. Can barely lift my arms. I had fatigue right after the stroke but not like this. it’s debilitating. Hits me worse in the morning and at night. Results of the stress test were fine. I was doing ok before the stress test. Then the next day the overwhelming fatigue hit me like a brick. A doctor friend said it could be chronic fatigue and PEM. My understanding is that means the stress test triggered it. Now it’s not going away. Appreciate any advice and comments. I’ve never felt like this - even after the initial stroke. My strength is fine but zero energy to the point of feeling like I have the flu - but I don’t. I feel so helpless.

Thanks Laraine. I’m in the US. Nice to meet you. Thank you for your message. This fatigue is overwhelming when it’s at it’s worse. I’m really having a hard time finding the right doctors to help me. There’s no easy answer so doctors seem to avoid it because there’s not much they can do.

@mikewayne welcome to the forum. Sorry you’ve had a stroke.

Fatigue is often a major issue in the 1st 6 months after a stroke. I found i was laid up completely every other day in the first few months. This did get better in time. Stress does make my fatigue worse so imagine that your stress test has had same effect. For first 6 months plenty of rest is required to help the brain heal. Even doing small things can be exhausting.

Wishing you all the best in your recovery.


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Hi Loraine. Wondering why only you and one other person responded to my fatigue post. Any suggestions on how I get more feedback on this message board would be greatly appreciated!


Hey chap.

Do give time for folk to see your post and chip-in. Posts won’t be met with any expectations or guarantees, but I’ve found this forum to be very friendly and useful for sure.

I’m aware that each individual has their own story to tell and circumstances - but fatigue is a common variable. Not wishing to take anything away, but I’d say I had a relatively mild TIA at New Year, yet doing ‘things’ would tire me out. And my phased return to work would see me needing daytime sleeps each day. So post-stroke fatigue is not a surprise and no doubt exacerbated given the stress test work, although that’s not something I can comment on. I just know that post-stroke fatigue is better being worked-with and not against.




Thanks for you message Jonty! I appreciate it!

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Hi @mikewayne and welcome to the Stroke Survivors club (SS) though I’m sorry you’ve had to join us. No doubt you will get more responses over the next days or two.

You’ve certainly had a triple whammy to start the new year off with, it’s no wonder you are feeling as you do. So this is your brain telling you to shut it all down and rest…so it can do what needs to be done to heal itself.

Your brain is frantically work away to repair whilst at the same time maintain the healthy. In order to do that it’s needs to go off-line (just as a computer uploads all it’s system updates), that is when the brain does it’s most work, when you’re asleep. Your like a new born baby, you need to take frequent naps. Life is going to be taken at a much slower pace now for quite some time, learn to walk first. Slow and steady wins the race, so calm yourself down now and take it one step at a time

I’m afraid there is no measurement for the rate of recovery for stroke survivors.
Just as there is no real idea as to what or how much will be recovered. Only time will tell. 2 years on and I still think of myself as a work in progress, I still get bouts of fatigue, brain squeeze (sort of pressure in my head) when I’ve overdone it.

I have aphasia as result of my TIA, so it takes a bit of doing to respond to posts and now it’s 2am here in the UK so I’m going to say night night :wink:


Hi @mikewayne and welcome. As many others have said, fatigue is extremely common after a stroke (or indeed any brain injury I think). Even though all our strokes are different, causing different physical and mental conditions for us to deal with, I would say that fatigue appears to be the one common denominator we all need to learn how to manage. The point being managing it!

I am almost two years post stroke and still improving in every department, but I’m finding fatigue management the hardest part because if you don’t get that bit under control then it makes any physical recovery so much harder (if you are so fatigued that you can’t do you physio or other rehab). The part that I struggle with is when applying the logical (& helpful) advice from survivors and professionals, saying to take regular breaks and pace yourself, into the real world (especially the work world). My job is not physical but does require a lot of brain power and concentration and that can wipe you out just as much as running a marathon ( without the lovely endorphins!).

In the early days after stroke I was fascinated at the small things that I completely took for granted such as the sense of touch. This amazing organic computer in our skulls takes all these inputs from our body and uses them to automate so many things that you just don’t realise. This is why early progress can be so tiring as the computer is reprogramming it’s self. The mental concentration required is tremendous and a large part of the reason for the fatigue. As you progress, many of these automatic programs will work almost as before but probably not all.

The point about work is whilst I understand about regular breaks, the business doesn’t stop for me to manage my fatigue so in the real world you don’t always take them and then your performance drops of a cliff.

So managing fatigue is going to be a part of you ,version 2.0, but even with the best intentions won’t always go to plan.

Sorry for the long post (but you wanted more engagement :joy:).

All the best (& try to keep a positive outlook).


I empathize with you about the fatigue. I can actually burst into tears over this and cannot move a muscle at times. Please do let us know if you make any progress as I am desperate for some relief.

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Thank you for your message. I had my stroke three months ago but the worse fatigue didn’t until a week ago after my cardiac stress test. I felt so weak to the point I couldn’t lift my arms. It was debilitating. It may be remnants of Covid hanging on as well. I feel for you. It’s almost indescribable

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One think we all have a tendency to forget to consider when discussing fatigue on the forum is fuel. Our bodies can burn tremendous amount of fuel when recovering from strokes. So are you taking in enough of the Premium fuel so needed to heal your body and mind. You may just need a vitamin supplement as one or more of them be depleted. Lots of healthy foods in your diet that high in vitamins and minerals might be what’s needed, few to no empty calories :wink:

For me it was Folic Acid; once I had a blood test done and this was determined, I was put on a high dose for 2wks and continued with a daily dose of a shop bought brand from then on.



I only experience fatigue when I’ve pushed my way too much now, normally I’ve no fatigue.

Edit: Something we should all consider and keep in the back of our minds:

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